Rolling out’s Fatherhood Coach Club is dedicated to recognizing men who encourage and inspire their young charges by cultivating a climate of profound understanding to grow them into confident and productive citizens of the world.
Success strategist and award-winning author Jonathan Edison joins the club of elite fathers as a leading authority on living a life of integrity and promise and building a legacy of love for his own children.
Growing up in the city of Detroit and faced with homelessness at the age of 14, the father of two is a CEO of … and author of five best-selling books. Edison’s experiences and life journey make him particularly qualified to offer expertise and advice on fatherhood and quality living.
What legacy are you leaving for your children and the children of your community?
The legacy that I’m leaving for my children and the children of my community is that no matter where you come from or the obstacles that you face in life, through hard work, faith and working for “The Boss” aka God, you still have an opportunity to make a mark out in the world that cannot be erased.
How would you describe your Fatherhood culture?
My Fatherhood culture is one of love, exploration, open communication, immersion, engagement, respect, active effort, firmness, repetitiveness, and exhaustion. I’m an “over the top dad” and I walk a fine line of being in my kids’ world and allowing them into my world.
From a father’s perspective, what two books would you recommend every child read?
The two books that I would recommend are: Why Should White Guys Have All of the Fun? by Reginald Lewis and Fatherhood by Denzel Washington.
Why is it important to expose children to education and valuable skills?
Exposure is one of the most important things that you can do for your children as a father. Exposure can spark imagination, ignite a hunger that you didn’t know existed and literally pull you into the future. My dad was an entrepreneur and he exposed me to business and communicating with people from all walks of life and that is the cornerstone of my business today.
As a father and a life coach, describe your playbook.
My playbook is very simple: Show God off, be kind, work hard, try your best, push yourself, do what makes you happy, help others which is what I teach my kids. For myself: Do your best, be patient, ask for help, trust yourself, be strong, get rest, listen, be firm, be present, show up, tell the truth.
Which fatherhood experiences have taught you the most about yourself?
Recently, I chaperoned my ten-year-old to the annual Father-Daughter Dance at our neighborhood school and I looked over at her and realized that the little girl that I brought home from the hospital is talented, smart, athletic, kind, beautiful, loved, funny and articulate. That moment let me know that I was a great freaking dad because I doubted myself in the beginning.
The other instance was when I coached my sons Flag Football Team of eight-year-olds, and we had four consecutive undefeated seasons. We competed in a tournament and lost in the semi-final. We were devastated – I was crying – and my son Jonathan Jr. looked at me and said, “Dad, we did our best and that’s all we could do. We will have a chance next year to be better.” I think I raised a champion!
What insightful advice would you suggest about building a network?
I would say intentions’ are very powerful when it comes to life. My suggestion would be for someone to set their intentions on building a network and then follow through with those intentions by being open to attracting people into your space.
Why should you read every day?
So many reasons as to why you should read every day … but for me, the main reason is consistently increasing my capacity for information, growth, and challenges.
Name one life lesson that no one taught you, but should have.
The life lesson that someone should have taught me that no one did … is that credit is king. I struggled with poor credit for years and now my credit score is over 800 and that makes a world of a difference in the world that we live in.
How important is keeping your word?
Your word is all you have and it’s what you’re judged by. When you break it, you break a bond with yourself and with those that were counting on you. Keep it at all costs because it’s all that you have!
When it comes to protecting yourself at all times, physically and mentally, what would you tell your children?
I teach my kids to take care of themselves physically and mentally. I take them to Yoga with me and teach them how to meditate. They are also very active in sports and volunteer work. Aside from that, I would tell children to make sure that they eat right, sleep well, limit social media time and enjoy being a kid.
What advice would you give on being responsible for your own dreams?
Everyone that shows up [on the] planet shows up with an assignment that is void of any involvement of other people. Yes, people come and go in your life [who] can give you assistance along the way. But at the end of the day, if you have a dream it’s yours and yours only to manifest. A dream has to be snatched out of the ether and brought down to earth by its owner. That is the sole responsibility of whom “The Boss” assigned that dream to.
Finish the sentence: Never give up on yourself because …
It’s never too late to become what you might have been. Circumstances, challenges, disappointment, fear, uncertainty, obstacles and doubt are all ingredients for an awesome gumbo called “come back power.”
How does following your spiritual values help you in life?
I 1000 percent believe that I work for The Boss, aka God Almighty. My grandmother taught me that as a young boy and I am more conscious of it than ever. Because of my spiritual conviction, it has allowed me to transform the level three Jonathan Edison and it has pushed me up to the level five version of Jonathan Edison which is living and breathing to inspire others.
Share one of your fondest memories you’ve experienced with your father, grandfather or father figure.
The fondest moment may sound a little morbid, but it was from my father’s death. My dad had quadruple bypass surgery and beat it. He was recovering and back to his old self. But when he was 20 years old, he suffered a gunshot wound that came back to haunt him 50 years later and the doctors told him that he would have to wear a colostomy bag if he wanted to live. He told the doctors and the surgeon, “No, let’s get on with it, I’m not wearing a bag and I can sense the death angel in the room and I’m ready to go and be with my Father.”
My dad refused treatment even though they told him he would die within 15 minutes of removing his oxygen. I was 20 minutes away and when I reached the hospital my Dad had expired. Wow!
What did I learn; one, my dad lived by a code of excellence and he was a proud man that didn’t want anyone taking care of him, and two, the death angel is coming for everyone, so don’t put off what you can do today and wait because when he comes to collect, you want him to find you conquering a new mountain.
Why is writing down your fatherhood goals for life so important? Share your most valued and treasured fatherhood goal?
Fatherhood goals can help us keep the main thing. In the world we live in distractions have become the focus of most of our lives. Goals keep us moving toward the mark.
My most valuable goal has definitely been saving for my kids future. Since my kids have been born I have consistently put money away for them so that I am ready when the time comes.