With Father’s Day just around the corner, we sat down with two of our favorite dads, former NBA star Baron Davis, and tech chair Steve Luczo, to discuss some of their favorite fatherhood rituals.
Cultivated with more intention than a habit, rituals offer the opportunity to connect more deeply with your children, whether it’s getting up early for breakfast together or writing letters to them that they can open up when they’re older. Being a parent isn’t just about being around. Learn some effective ways to “build bridges” with your children, cultivate a sense of bonding, and celebrate fatherhood in all its many forms.
Below is a transcript of the episode, modified for your reading pleasure. For more information on the people and ideas in the episode, see the links at the bottom of this post.
Full Episode Transcript
Agatha Luczo: Hi everyone. Thank you so much for joining Dr. Greene and I on Mom Driven, Doctor Aligned. We are having an amazing conversation today with Baron Davis and my husband, Steve Luczo, on fatherhood because Father's Day is coming up and we're talking about rituals, challenges, and any advice they have for all the fathers out there.
[00:00:27] Agatha Luczo: Baron, let's start off the conversation with you. Do you have any favorite rituals that you like doing with your children?
[00:00:32] Baron Davis: I say we do everything from wrestle together. Our night ritual is really sit down, we all pray together. Every Sunday we have a boss's dinner or a boss's lunch where, you know, one of us gets to be the boss, pick our restaurant, we sit there and we have like a real professional conversation or we get to talk about the things that they want to talk about. Our routine is really like conversation, music in the morning before school, after school just a lot of activities, like challenging thought, challenging their creativity, and then just try to be present.
[00:01:12] I think they're so young right now, the most important thing is to be present. So, allow them to explore everything they want and don't allow them to quit, you know, just teach them that whatever they do, that you have to finish it.
[00:01:25] Steve Luczo: Wow! You're better than I am Baron. Your rituals are really rituals. I realized that my rituals are more like work chores that I'm calling rituals. Like they get to clean up the edging when I'm done mowing the lawn.
[00:01:38] Dr. Greene: Oh, I did that with my dad. Yeah.
[00:01:40] Baron Davis: That's real dad work!
[00:01:42] Agatha Luczo: Those are all great rituals. Going on the dog walk.
[00:01:45] Steve Luczo: Oh, yeah. I was going to ask Alan, like, what's even the definition of a ritual, but I realized that I'd be faulted to chores when I was thinking about it.
[00:01:53] Dr. Greene: Yeah, I was doing the same thing and the rhythm over time and there's something about that rhythm and structure. And like Baron was saying, it's about being present. It's about connecting. And with my dad, a lot of the rituals were doing chores together and it was working in the yard, raking the leaves, cleaning up the edging after he was done. I like what you said, Baron, about starting in the morning. It can be really powerful. And as my kids got older and into all the middle school and high school afterschool activities, after school and dinner and evenings were a hard time to really connect. So we had a breakfast ritual, it was the meal we shared together the most often because nobody was busy yet. We got up a little bit early and started with a conversation.
[00:02:31] Baron Davis: I mean for me, it, you know, like. I grew up with TV dads. Where like television was my father and kind of learning from when I got to crossroads and middle school, what that family structure and dynamic was. So I was just like trying to take a little piece from each family that I was able to like, you know, stay with or spend the night and learn from.
[00:02:54] And so for me, it was like, mornings are the most opportune cause you want to get them focused with positive energy. And then like a goal of mine, always as a dad is to be able to consistently sit down every night at five o'clock and have ...
[00:03:13] Steve Luczo: reviewing what went well, what didn't go well?
[00:03:16] Baron Davis: Yeah, well, you know, one is hard with schedule when you working as an entrepreneur and then the boys have two homes and two single parents. So it was just like really trying to like carve out that time when it's my time to be present and make sure, you know, we have our dinner together just trying to build that routine. So then also like on the weekends we share and spend family time as a whole. So that, that is also something that's challenging at times, but at the same time, you know, those are the sacrifices that I've always wanted to make.
[00:03:51] So as they get older, I think we'll get closer and closer to that by PM time.
[00:03:57] Steve Luczo: But, BD, you raised some interesting, I was thinking about, which is about parenting and rituals. Obviously, the quiet time, all directed towards trying to guide them and teach them and, you know, make them members of the community and then reflecting on what you learned from your parents. You know, you talked about TV dads and I was thinking about one of the things that it really makes you do is it makes you remember for sure, but it also can get you to a point of a little bit more forgiveness. You know, not that I had terrible parents, my parents were great, but you know, as you start parenting, you realize like a lot of the things they were doing, but you rebelled against were actually really good.
[00:04:35] And there's that strange balance between taking what you'll learn great from your parents and also what didn't work and deciding how you filter that into your teachings for kids. [Inaudible] is a really trippy thing about being a parent regardless of your age. Right?
[00:04:50] Baron Davis: Totally. I think that forgiveness allows you to see yourself in them. So it's like you appreciate your parents so much more and it's like, I need more information. So I can share that with my kids, because it's almost like you become almost a pass through, right?
[00:05:10] Steve Luczo: Right. Right.
[00:05:11] Baron Davis: The pass through of knowledge, the pass through of resources. And so for me, even like when I lost my dad, like I had gotten to a point where I had forgiven him and I realized that like, I need to know more about you.
[00:05:23] Right. So when I have sons, I can tell them more about who they are, because we want to give them, you know, we want to give our kids like the full spectrum of their legacy, and their soul and their essence. And so I agree a lot with what you're saying, Steve, is like forgiveness is the ultimate kind of like healing mechanism for us as parents, because our kids are kinda like teaching us to heal as we're teaching them to be whole or complete.
[00:05:54] Steve Luczo: Yeah, you gotta shed that burden. But you know, the other thing that I guess I do as a ritual, and I didn't think of it till you just said this, is that whole trippy thing about, you know, when your parents are gone, right. Both my parents are gone as well. And, uh, yeah, you have this whole list of questions that you'd then say, wow, I wish I had asked that question.
[00:06:12] Baron Davis: Yes.
[00:06:12] Steve Luczo: So I took that and said, well, our kids will probably be the same way. So, I write them letters, when I go on trips, I write them usually individual letters about where they are in life, where's mom and dad in life, what's going on. Right? So, and I think about what were the questions I'd asked my dad and I kind of asked myself those questions and write this letter. I put the letter in a time capsule that they get to start opening up one a year when they're 18.
[00:06:38] Baron Davis: That's awesome.
[00:06:39] Dr. Greene: Oh, I love that.
[00:06:41] Steve Luczo: And then, so, you know, for, hopefully for the next 40 years, they get a letter every year or multiple letters every year that they're opening up that shifts back to when they were kids. And this is dad talking about life, right?
[00:06:53] Agatha Luczo: So that’s great because we put everything that’s happened important that year on the time capsule board.
[00:06:53] Baron Davis: That’s amazing.
[00:06:57] Dr. Greene: That is so cool. And it reminds me of what you were saying Baron about that we're sort of a pass through. And in some ways, an amplifier. There was a ritual that we had on Christmas morning as kids that we would, we had a certain time we were allowed to get up, go wake up my parents, and we would wake them up by singing a song. And we sang the same song every year. It was Joy to the World and it was this really special time. Then I had kids and brought the kids along and they sang as well. And then when we started having Christmas at our house, they snuck in and surprised us by singing a song, but it wasn't Joy to the World, they wrote their own song.
[00:07:33] And then they wrote another song the next year. And it's like, my favorite part of the holidays now is they come in and surprise us with a song. So they took that multigenerational tradition and changed it. I can't wait to see what your kids do, Steve and Agatha, with the time capsule.
[00:07:47] I bet they do something like that for their kids.
[00:07:49] Baron Davis: Absolutely.
[00:07:50] Agatha Luczo: I hope so. It's a fun ritual.
[00:07:52] Baron Davis: Now that's something I'm gonna start doing myself. I'm gonna start doing that for myself. You know, I keep journals and I write to them and things like that, but it's like, I usually do it in my phone, but there's something about that manuscript, that personalization, right.
[00:08:08] So I'm definitely gonna adopt that. I mean, that's what we're here for. Right?
[00:08:15] Steve Luczo: It's funny. I only have a handful of my father's hand written notes that he did across a variety of topics. They're not like letters to me. And they're so special, right. But even though back then everything was handwritten. Right. But just having that image of something that, you know, one of your parents physically did is pretty cool.
[00:08:35] Baron Davis: Absolutely.
[00:08:36] Dr. Greene: Yeah. I find that when I come across writing samples from my parents, that's one of the most powerful ways that I connect with them. And in fact, my dad died a few years ago in 2016 and ended up taking his signature and putting that on his headstone. And that's the way that I connect if I visit the grave the most. It's just seeing his handwriting.
[00:08:54] Steve Luczo: That's interesting. What about challenges with the kids? We were talking about challenges and Baron, I have a question for you that we talk about a lot in this family with a couple of highly sports-minded people. How do you feel about sports and the role it plays both as a positive influence. Right? You know, the idea of basketball is life right and life is basketball and using it either as an incentive or as a punishment, if kids are really not behaving well in areas where they've reached an age where they should be behaving well.
[00:09:27] Baron Davis: I remember my grandmother used to tell me, boy, go ahead and put that ball in the closet and lock the closet and whatever I did wrong, I would have to stay in the house and my ball would be in the closet. And my friends are outside, they're running around. So I think like one, it made me a better basketball player obviously, but just the fact that it was her way of figuring out a way to discipline me through something that I love, through something that I was dedicated about, but the discipline was also like the discipline that I needed in the sport. Right.
[00:10:05] So I truly believe that sports plays a role in your life as far as building the fundamental tools and the development of your child. And so when you think about sharing in every sport, sharing is magnified in every sport, team sport, teamwork is magnified, hard work is magnified, dedication, right?
[00:10:30] Doing something for the betterment of your team. And so those fundamental tools are the things that as parents, you want your kids playing sports because it's an activity, but it's also like a great teaching pallet. When you take that away? Right? The kid only understands the fun part. And so as you start to strip them and discipline them through what they love, you're also helping them build a respect for what they love to do.
[00:11:00] Steve Luczo: I believe that too. And I think a lot of parents don't, you know, they feel it's mean or something. Alan, I'd love to hear your perspective on this. And let me just throw one more twist into it. It also kind of brings into this idea of, are you their friend? You know, and I tell our kids, like, I'm not your friend, I'm your dad.
[00:11:18] Baron Davis: Right.
[00:11:19] Steve Luczo: But I mean, Alan, how do you think about this stuff?
[00:11:22] Dr. Greene: Yeah, I actually, I don't mind the being a friend, as long as it's really clear that you're also the dad. My dad growing up used to, we were in a YMCA thing together and the phrase was "Pals Forever". That was one of the last things we ever said to each other was "pals forever" all through my life. We've been friends, but he was very clearly the dad. He was a military guy. And I think that kids want their dads to be leaders. And that's a really important part of our role is to demonstrate that.
[00:11:48] Steve Luczo: Yeah, I always tell them not that I'm not your friend, but that a dad is bigger than a friend.
[00:11:52] Dr. Greene: Yeah.
[00:11:52] Steve Luczo: Dads will do things that are hard for the dad. But we know it's the right thing for the kid long term. Right? We're a lot of times friends won't do that. Friends are going to do it's easy for the kid and what's easy for them because generally friends are peers and they haven't learned the balance of, Baron, like you were just saying, [inaudible], sacrifice.
[00:12:12] Dr. Greene: And we don't want to always make our kids happy. That that doesn't serve them well.
[00:12:15] Baron Davis: No, not at all. You know, I tell my kids, you know, we're best friends and we can relate, but like I am daddy, you know what I mean? There is no other way to look around it. You know what I mean? It's like when I put my hand up and I started counting down. You know what I mean?
[00:12:33] I'm not your friend anymore, so it's okay. Kids are emotional. I'll be your best friend one day. I don't care. I'm always going to be your dad. You know what I mean? And so as they get older we want to start to massage that relationship to allow us to really become their friends as they become adults and men. Right. Cause you know, I don't want to get to a point where my son should never feel like he has to challenge me to do anything. You know what I mean? I want to be the friend that they can confide in and you can trust me to be your friend, but if you do something wrong, I'm your dad. And I going to just support you what is better than it comes through the source.
[00:13:20] Agatha Luczo: And what is your favorite thing about being fathers.
[00:13:23] Baron Davis: Waking up, waking up, knowing that you're a daddy, going to sleep, knowing that you have this responsibility like...
[00:13:31] Dr. Greene: There you go! Perfectly timed!
[00:13:33] Baron's child: Dad! Waddy-o!
[00:13:36] Baron Davis: See, this is the best part I get to be waddy-o. I get to be anyone with all the characters that they want me to be.
[00:13:43] Agatha Luczo: Well, that's the fun part. And what about you, Steve?
[00:13:46] Steve Luczo: One of the things I try and do is I try and really put myself in their place, you know, like I really mentally trying you know, Rosalie is doing something that I'm not getting. I really try and sit in her seat and look at me from her eyes and from her perspective and to open up my mind and my heart to that perspective. And I just love, I love that. I love that whole cause without it's hard to do without kids, you know, it's hard, it's hard to do unless you have that exact situation to put yourself into, unless you're a really strong contemplator and I love it. It's and that's just life, you know? And the other thing is, I think just it's all that matters, raising your kids right and being around people you love, your friends and your family, like that's all that matters and taking care of the planet, you know? So it just emphasizes that for me.
[00:14:36] Dr. Greene: Yeah. It's why I'm a pediatrician. The kids are it, right? But one of the things that I love about being a parent and the love about kids is them growing. Every age, it's like so magical. And I think I just want them to freeze right there and be like that forever, because they're just so adorable at that age.
[00:14:53] But that would be horrible if they did. I mean, part of the magic is you never see the same child twice. Next time you see them, they're a little bit older, they're a little bit different and it makes every moment precious. And it helps us grow too.
[00:15:07] Steve Luczo: You know, when we had Rosalia, you know, it was our first child and you're my brother, you know, and you're so amazed when they're newborns. Right. And you can't imagine it getting any better. Right. You just can't and I remembered him saying, "It just keeps getting better". And that seemed completely impossible. And by the way, through 10 years, it seems like now seems like it's and I finally accepted, like, yeah, it just keeps getting better.
[00:15:29] Dr. Greene: And my parents have sworn to me that it keeps getting better when your kids have kids.
[00:15:34] Steve Luczo: Yeah, well that I have heard.
[00:15:35] Baron Davis: That’s when they get [inaudible] ! That's that what you can do no wrong, but it does each day gets better, each year, they get a little bit more mature and like, you're just connecting with them. I remember being like, man, I just want you to stay a baby forever. Then you want him to talk then you want them to run. And so, before you know, it they'll be, you know, picking me up.
[00:15:59] Steve Luczo: Then you I have want them to mow the lawn.
[00:16:02] Agatha Luczo: They'll always be your babies.
[00:16:03]Baron Davis: I have a feeling they will be body slamming me in the next 15 years. So I gotta do a good job in staying in shape.
[00:16:13] Dr. Greene: You know, that's an interesting point. Like you said, they'll always be your babies, but I actually think that's more of a mom perspective.
[00:16:19] Agatha Luczo: They'll always be my babies.
[00:16:21] Dr. Greene: I mean, they'll obviously they'll always be our kids, but I think that is kind of a difference. You know, we were talking about, you know, difference between boys and girls in the natural instinct, Baron, you talk, you know, like with boys, there's just this natural thing for dads to teach.
[00:16:34] Baron Davis: Yeah.
[00:16:34] Dr. Greene: Whereas for girls it's protecting them. I mean, it's teaching them, but your first instinct always is, you kind of want to wrap your arms around them and with the boys, you kind of want to give him a little shove. Yeah,
[00:16:48] Baron Davis: I think, you know, we kinda know, turn it off, please.
[00:16:52] Steve Luczo: You're going to count down from five or three, by the way,
[00:16:55] Baron Davis: Five. Four. Three. All the way to two. Or go to the other room.
[00:17:03] Steve Luczo: And, by the way, our youngest Anika, so we have a three counter between the first three, no one, you know, you don't get to zero, right?
[00:17:10] Baron Davis: No.
[00:17:10] Steve Luczo: Anika is like, whatever number you put up there, tell me when you get there because I ain't stopping what I'm doing.
[00:17:19] Baron Davis: No they respond. They like to press it. Come here, come here.
[00:17:23] Agatha Luczo: So for all of us, what advice do you guys have for fathers out there? From what you've learned?
[00:17:29] Baron Davis: What advice do you have?
[00:17:33] Baron's child: Coronavirus?
[00:17:34] Baron Davis: What?
[00:17:35] Baron's child: Coronavirus.
[00:17:38] Baron Davis: Coronavirus
[00:17:38] Dr. Greene: No, it's funny. Right? The kids, first of all, thank God for the most part, they're not freaking out about this thing. Also, they view it kind of, as you know, they're spending more time with mom and dad, so it's like, it's not a bad thing.
[00:17:51] Baron Davis: Not at all.
[00:17:52] Steve Luczo: Ours was like, "How long do you think the COVID things going on?" And I said, “Why? Well you know, I kind of liked being at home.
[00:17:57] Baron Davis: They do! They do!
[00:18:00] Agatha Luczo: But our kids are at the perfect age between 10 and five, where they want to be with mom and dad.
[00:18:06] Dr. Greene: And for teenagers, they really need to be becoming independent. It's really hard on teenagers, but yeah, for young kids, it's fabulous.
[00:18:12] Steve Luczo: Anyway, my answer about what I love about being a dad is that your kids make you a better dad everyday. I told Rosalie, as I was putting her to sleep last night, I said, thanks. You know she said, "You're the best dad." And I said, "Well, I said, honey, whatever, but you make me a better dad every day".
[00:18:27] Baron Davis: That is so sweet. I say the same thing. I learn so much from my kids. Right. It's just making me a more complete adult. And so, you know, I would say the best thing about it is just the opportunity to learn more about myself and to learn through them what they see and what they, and how they view the world has been the most tremendous thing so far.
[00:18:51] Agatha Luczo: Well I can say watching Steve being a father, I learn every day. I mean, he's just, to me is the most incredible father. I mean, and I learned every day from him. The other day, he goes to me, we were having a conversation with something happening, he's like, "You know, you just have to remember never to take advantage of this time that we have with our kids."
[00:19:10] When you think about how many summers we have with our children, like with Rosalia before she's off to college, eight more summers.
[00:19:17] Dr. Greene: And it goes so fast. Yeah.
[00:19:18] Agatha Luczo: It moves so fast so you really have to enjoy every single moment with the kids.
[00:19:24] Dr. Greene: So, a piece of advice I would probably give is one of the things I've loved doing is to build a bridge with each kid. And by that, what I mean is find something that they're passionate about, that they light up when they talk about. And then I go and learn everything I can about it and stay up-to-date about it, whether it's Pokemon, or the San Francisco Giants or whatever it might be. And as it changes, it'll change as they grow older, but I've always got something I can talk about that makes them sparkle.
[00:19:50] And there's always a bridge there, especially, it was great during the teen years when there were, it was important to find things like that. And one tiny tip is at dinner when you're reviewing the day with kids and if you ask, how was your day. Often the answer is fine, but if you ask what was the best part of the day, you'll get really interesting answers or what was the worst part of the day? It opens them up instead of just a yes, no question.
[00:20:13] Steve Luczo: Or, I don't know.
[00:20:17] Agatha Luczo: Well, thank you guys so much for joining us on Mom Driven, Doctor Aligned.
[00:20:23] Steve Luczo: Great to be here.
[00:20:24] Baron Davis: Thank you. Thanks for having me here.
[00:20:25] Dr. Greene: Happy Father's Day, everyone.
[00:20:26] Steve Luczo: Happy Father's Day
[00:20:27] Baron Davis: Happy Father's Day!
[00:20:29] Agatha Luczo: Thank you all for joining us today. Be sure to leave your questions and comments below. And please rate, review and share Mom Driven, Doctor Aligned.
[00:20:37] Dr. Greene: And until next time, stay well.