Cole Parker is a self-proclaimed “manly feminist” who has a passion for women’s wellness and safety. Fueled by that passion, he and his brother Christopher founded Divas in Defense, which provides interactive and hands-on training services to women and girls.
Parker spoke with rolling out about what he has learned about toxic masculinity from his fatherhood experiences.
What legacy are you leaving for your children and the children of your community?
I have been blessed to find my purpose in life. As a business owner of a women’s self-defense company, the legacy I leave is twofold. One is a successful family-owned business, which is perpetual, and the other is saving lives.
From a father’s perspective, what two books would you recommend every child read?
The Four Agreements [by Don Miguel Ruiz] and Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus [by John Gray].
As a father and a life coach, describe your playbook.
Being raised by a single mother, I had to make a lot of mistakes to develop a playbook for my sons to follow. The plan is simple:
First, listen with an open heart and mind.
Secondly, be slow to speak without thought.
Thirdly, be fearless and unwavering in your honesty. Your word is your greatest asset.
Fourth, strive to be successful because failure is not an option.
My girls, on the other hand, I just let them run me until they become teens. Then I am there to guide and give excellent advice they won’t follow.
Which fatherhood experiences have taught you the most about yourself?
I do not come from a very “touchy” family. I love you is more implied then mentioned. My first true test of my toxic masculinity was with my middle son. He is very compassionate and a hugger. He would come up to me and say, “I love you, Dad.” I would look at him and say, “Love you, too.” In the beginning, it would irritate me. Hug after hug, I would want to yell… “Why?” Then the epiphany: it is OK to hug and kiss your son. It was life-changing for me. It even helped my relationship with my wife.
Finish this sentence: Never give up on yourself because …
Success can only be achieved by overcoming your failures.