Atop “The Hill” — 40 Lessons at 40.

I’ll never forget that final push of energy when Cadre Cleve said, “Hell yeah… TAKE THAT HILL!” as we finished off the San Diego Memorial Day GORUCK Tough 2022.

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching regarding this dad blog… a lot of soul searching.

When I first started Daddy In The Raw, the idea was to give a glimpse into a specific type of lifestyle surrounding a dad, working at home in a startup / entrepreneurial phase.

The fact is, quite a bit of time has passed since then… and, this site… by both the content frequency and otherwise… seems to be much as other good things must come to… perhaps, its time to end (for now). Much as my professional blog morphed into a merge of one of the companies I founded, I feel that Daddy In The Raw will be transforming into my next “dad project” of sorts… but, for now… I’d like to put an appropriately symbolic punctuation on this blog with 40 lessons I’ve learned as I turn 40 this year.

40 Lessons At 40 — From Father to Son

These lessons are not all original to me, nor should they be. These are lessons, ingots of wisdom, gems of motivation, and the like that I thought back on… reflected upon… and, felt that these would be good to leave here — for my son — for you to read — for anyone seeking some insight to pursue for themselves… taking what is good and helpful to them, while simply appreciating the existence of the rest.

  1. Over “the Hill” starts when you decide to stop climbing. Don’t stop.
  2. Take every opportunity to improve your health.
  3. The sooner you get over yourself, the sooner you begin living the life you’ve always wanted.
  4. Learn to fix things, as many things as possible. To do this, you must be unafraid to break things, to fail… and, by doing so, you learn to ask for help.
  5. Learn to build a fire, cook on that fire, and make coffee from that fire.
  6. Learn to run, learn to ruck, and climb mountains.
  7. To love others, you must first learn to love yourself.
  8. Gain wisdom. Much happiness will be earned, and much unnecessary anguish will be removed from your life.1
  9. Follow the greatest commandment. Dive into its understanding and application, deeply — study all the contents surrounding it… from there, you will learn freedom.2
  10. Follow the second greatest commandment, in the same way.2
  11. Help others, when it is your turn — do no hesitate when that time comes.
  12. Do not wish life was easier, “wish you were better”3 at confronting the struggles before you. Then, train.
  13. “Be the teammate they deserve.”4 It’s not about you. Learn to serve others above and beyond how you would regard yourself.5
  14. Give 100%, all the time. This is especially important in marriage. If you give 100% and your spouse gives 100%; as we are all imperfect people, you each may only give out 90% — but, that means the relationship… the marriage unit… is operating at 180%.
  15. Learn to fight. Whether it is Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, Boxing, Kali, Sambo, Judo, Shuai Jiao… you don’t need to be a master. You just need to learn, become good when good is enough. What you will learn is respect for your fellow human… and, what you will gain is humility. What you will become, is dangerous — this is good. Only a dangerous sheepdog can protect the flock from predators.
  16. Learn to make peace.6
  17. Learn how to shoot — sling shot, bow, javelin, pistol, shotgun, rifle… whatever it is, you will learn to appreciate discipline in skill, and safety above all.
  18. Learn how to fish.
  19. Learn how to grow a crop.
  20. Be kind.
  21. Develop gentleness.
  22. Practice discipline, and self-control. You will learn patience.
  23. Respect everyone, especially when you don’t agree with them.
  24. Never tell lies, and never tell half-truths… withholding the truth, many times, becomes worse than a lie.
  25. Pray for your enemies; never wish harm upon others.
  26. Don’t get mad, get even.
  27. The loudest person in the room, is the weakest person in the room.7
  28. Lashing out means you have nothing — only your anger, and your loneliness.
  29. Drink and consume, carefully… and, at your own risk.
  30. Lift heavy things, pet dogs, and drink lots of water.
  31. Learn to take a punch, both figuratively and literally. You will develop thick skin.
  32. Learn to check a kick; learn also hand destructions — sometimes, removing the weapon of the enemy is more effective.
  33. Simple is not easy.
  34. Strengthen your character, before you strengthen your mind. Strengthen your mind, before you strengthen your body.8
  35. Learn to build with wood.
  36. Discover empathy. Use it to learn compassion. However, show evil no mercy.
  37. Protect those who are weaker.
  38. Never be afraid to ask for directions, or to ask for water.
  39. Buy a hot meal for someone in need. Thank them for their time.
  40. Tell the women in your life that you love them. Start with your wife, your mother, your sister… and, so on. Show it through service, and a listening ear.

The lessons above come in no particular order, nor importance. There will be time when one lesson will become more important than another; there will be times when perhaps none shall apply; there will also be times when all apply, all matters, and the stakes are serious.

These are mere 40 lessons that came top of mind as I was writing them down on a piece of paper in the last day of me being 39. Maybe they will be of help to my son. Maybe they will be of help to you. Maybe they will be of help to someone you choose to share them with.

Be well. Be strong. Be true.

References and Quotes:

  1. The book of Proverbs
  2. Matthew 22:36-40
  3. Cadre JC – 2022 Nov, GORUCK Marine Recon Raider Heavy
  4. Cadre Cleve – 2022 Nov, GORUCK Marine Recon Raider HEAVY
  5. Philippians 2:3
  6. Matthew 5:9 
  7. Frank Lucas, American Gangster
  8. Romans 12:2 

Elite Sports / Born Tough Product Review: Grey Camo Training Cargo Shorts

Our product review today is the Born Tough Men Cargo Shorts Grey Camo!

I used these shorts to train for the GORUCK Marine Recon Raider HEAVY event on November 4th-5th, 2022. It was fun to be able to match dark camo with dark camo.


These shorts are VERY WELL MADE. The material is thick, sturdy, and I’d be surprised if even I could wreck them in training some how.

Pocket depth and quality never left me wanting, nor did they make me feel like I’d run out of space or lose items. The draw string is solid and the locking mechanism was a welcome sight. The zipper pockets were also a great addition at one side pocket and the cargos.

As with all apparel, one considers size and shrinkage — I’m 5’7″ and depending on what I’m training for… will walk around between 175-190 pounds. When the shorts first arrived, they sat just below my knees; after wash, just above — and, just the way I like it.

Overall, it’s a fantastic product and I found myself wearing it… a LOT, admittedly, even when I probably should’ve washed it 😉


The only “bad” I can even point to is the drawstring locking mechanism. It wasn’t as tight as I was hoping. Now, some of this is because I’m a bit bigger boned — so, during squats, the lock would slide out a bit, leaving me with more slack around the waist than originally intended. Ultimately, it’s not a deal breaker by any means; you can always remove it and tie it up.


This is truly me being picky. First, I would’ve loved to switch the placement of the open pocket vs. the zipper pocket at the hips. This is because of my preference of carrying EDC items in my right pocket; which would make it easier for access and deployment. The second picky thing would be the button down flaps of the cargo shorts. I found they were in excess; the zippers did a great job and I prefer a more minimal profile so things don’t catch on random edges around the training environment.


This is a great product for anyone that like to wear belt-less training cargo shorts with durable materials and a fashion lean towards military, tactical, combat athlete sports. It’s great for any type of cross training, running, rucking, and lifting. It’s also great for lounging around the house — very comfortable.


It’s hard enough to find good cargo training shorts, much less not for 60-80 dollars. These shorts are currently on sale $35 USD. They size up well post-wash and I can’t imagine myself wearing them through any time soon.

Thanks again to Mike at Elite Sports for making this happen! Again, be sure to check them out at: Elite Sports and Born Tough for fight wear and gym wear apparel. Also, visit their sister brand Viking Bags for motorcycle bags and apparel.

2020: Return of the Dad Blog

Historically, this blog has pretty much been an open journal to any who wishes to read it.

It started when I started on this work-at-home lifestyle.

I have a LOT of posts that I’ve pretty much hidden away… unsure of how public I wanted these parenting thoughts to be… well, enough of that. They are going public and very soon!

All that said, I want to thank a singular vocal supporter and his response to my announcement that I’m bringing Daddy In The Raw back:

Soooooo! We begin. Many of these thoughts will come unfiltered. Some may be shocking. Others might even be *gasp* “controversial” — whatever they are… they are real, honest, true, and sincere. They are certainly imperfect. They may even change over time. But, that’s what this blog is all about — chronicling this chosen path of mine in hope that it may be uplifting to those who read it.

That’s all for now. See you at the next one!

Confirming Moments For A Work At Home Dad

Plus, a bunch of other happenings and updates’ish.

Moment #1: A man makes his way out of the dining hall to say…

It was December 22nd, 2018. We had all gathered together, several branches of our nuclear paternal family, to meet together for an early Christmas dinner and visit with my grandparents.

Sadly, at this stage, they haven’t been doing that well and have been needing a lot of help — physically, emotionally, mentally. I guess, it’s normal. And, it’s normal for me to just feel a bit down and sad about the situation. Watching loved ones age and age out of their own self… it’s rough.

Well, during our dinner — somewhere towards the end of the meal; at where my grandparents are living we eat a large dining hall. There was a resident who stood up in the middle of this dining hall and made his way out and over to talk to me.

I mean… I’m in my mid-30s… I shouldn’t have any feelings of precariousness or worry when folks approach me. Right?

Well… that’s not even close to true. I totally thought he was going to confront me about something I did wrong that I wasn’t even aware of.

LOL! Oi… FORTUNATELY…. he came up to me (and, mind you… he’s significantly taller than me and is my senior — which automatically positions him with respect in my mind)… and, he says to me:

“You’re a good father.”

Then, this man looked at Nathan, pointed to him as he locked eyes with my boy and he said:

“You have have a really good dad.”

He had been quietly observing my interactions with Nathan throughout this entire dinner. And, during this time, Nathan and I were playing, snuggling, joking, laughing, and generally enjoying each other in the best ways we know how.

So, Yes… it’s good to remember how and why I came down this insane startup entrepreneur, traveling speaker, social media connecting, work at home path.

Moment #2: My son wants to grow up to be a daddy.

I like to have conversations about the future with my son. I do this regularly when we drive together, just me and him; and, when we play together — typically some imaginary Star Wars, Avengers, Legos, or dinosaur oriented game.

I asked Nathan one day:

Nathan… what do you want to be when you grow up?

In the past, he’s said paleontologist, kid chef (as in Master Chef Junior), a firefighter, a police officer, an airplane pilot… What was his answer? AND… has been his answer for the last several months?

I want to grow up and be a daddy.

—said Nathan

Nathan wants to be me. I didn’t think about this much until I talked about this with my wife. Christina’s insight was incredible. She said something to the effect that:

Kids typically want to grow up and become what their parents profession is or was at the time.

Your son wants to become a dad. That is who you are to him and that is the profession you embody. Not a doctor, not a business owner, not a marketer — a Daddy.

—Christina Fung, Super Mom & Hero Wife

Moment #3: Daddy, Show Some Grit!

I had this really telling conversation with a bunch of great colleagues… extended family, really, of the Physical Therapy profession (#PTfam) — this conversation happened in Chicago during the American Physical Therapy Association’s NEXT conference of 2019 — which I just had returned from… (which will be expanded on in Moment #4)

So, here’s the backdrop: One day years ago, I came across some stunning wrist pain — humbling to say the least. After all, what Physical Therapist can’t “cure their own pain?”


LOL! Yeah… it was humbling and actually got in the way of me doing push ups, doing certain movements in Jiu Jitsu, didn’t really hinder my Muay Thai — but did change the way I got in and out of bed, and, on and off the floor. It was an annoyance I learned to otherwise live with and had tried to self-treat many times… to no avail.

WELL…. I was sharing this story with my #PTfam and we’re all clinical geeks, of course. And, I was telling them that if there’s one thing I could impart upon my son as a life skill… I want it to be GRIT. (more on this in a TED talk, linked and embedded below)

We all knew what I meant by “grit.” And, the situation unfolded where I wanted to try push ups again this Spring of 2019. I had just spent several days teaching and reciting with Nathan…

What is Grit?

Never give up. Finish the job.

Well.. this time, Nathan was watching me try some push ups and I stopped and flicked my wrist in pain. I said, “Ah… ouch.”

Nathan looked at me with focused and determined eyes… he said to me:

Daaaaaad… Show Some GRIT!

I had no choice. I had to do it. So, after a few more fairly painful reps… the pain in my left wrist went away. Annnnnd… it has not yet come back. In fact, I’m back to doing sets of push ups and even did a few sets in my hotel room in Chicago at the conference. There’s a bunch of science on how and why this happened… but, we won’t get into that today 🙂

In any case, if you want to learn more about grit and how it’s the SINGULAR PREDICTOR of a student’s (and, perhaps… a person’s) future success… Check out this clip — it’s queued up 😉

Moment #4: Debating on a national platform.

So… on to #4. Many of you reading this know that I was one of the Oxford Debate captains on topic of social media at the 2019 APTA NEXT conference in Chicago.

It was a HUGE honor.

Every year, this conference hosts a debate that’s a blend of a stage show as much as it is a statement within the profession with aims of bringing up points from both sides of the resolution / argument — to provoke critical thought, that those who may have started out in support or in opposition might even switch sides by the end of the experience.

Well… it wasn’t so much the entire conference experience that was my Moment #4 as much as it was leading up to the conference. I hadn’t gone on business travels for quite some time since the last one, and so, my son didn’t need to deal with the emotional facts of me leaving in recent months’ memory.

As the day for my initial flight approached, poor Nathan got more and more attached to me and kept telling him how much he’d miss me. Of course, I told him why I had to travel for work and how important the platform is — that being asked in an immense honor and privilege.

In any case, I went on to ask him what he wanted me to bring back to him from the trip.

His response was too sweet:

I just want you daddy… and, a toy!

Because, I always bring him back some type of souvenir from the airports I visit. LOL! Apparently, his receptive love language right now is Gifts.

It’s not so much what he said, but how he said it — he wasn’t impressed by my position nor station, he yearned for my return and to receive the expression of love he feels is most tangible at his age and for this circumstance.

It may seem small, but having your kid want you around is a huge deal to me — it tells me I’m doing something right, that he is covetous of his time with me — which means, that I’m spending the right type of time with him…. and, I hope to only do more of this in the days to come 🙂

And, now… a bunch of stuff from Instagram.

PS. Don’t miss the really sweet moments of the “Secret Swing” video at the bottom 😉


I suppose this is just one big tell all post for me to journal for me, for me to chronicle for Nathan… and, for those of you looking to embark on a journey like ours… that it’s possible, it’s enjoyable, it’s not always certain… but, it IS certainly worth it 🙂