It’s hard to believe that not so long ago, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was perceived by the world as a meathead wrestler. Today, he’s the world’s most bankable movie star, an action-hero with 20-inch biceps and a heart of gold. But he’s also the new dad-hero.
This, after all, is the family-man with three daughters who Instagrams himself feeding his wife pasta as she breastfeeds their baby (caption: “So much respect to her and all mamas out there holding it down and running things.”). The following quotes show why Johnson has become the reigning dad-hero of our times. Consider them your school of Rock.
“You don’t sign up for a divorce when you get married. It’s very painful. But it’s taught me a great deal about myself.”
A marriage break-up is one of life’s toughest body-blows. When Johnson split with wife Dany Garcia in 2007, he initially struggled to cope. But what he succeeded in doing was to maintain a strong relationship with his ex. How good exactly? Well, Garcia became Johnson’s manager in 2008 and she helped to drive him to the top – this year he became the highest paid actor in the history of Forbes’ Celebrity 100 index. We’d call that a winning argument for playing nice if the unthinkable actually happens.
Rock-solid tip: Don’t burn your bridges in a divorce.
“Very few people emphasise how important being kind is when making it big. But it’s crucial.”
And that’s not just because it’s a good karmic chess-move. My mate Ben has twice interviewed The Rock and remains awe-struck by the sheer decency of the man. “Dwayne’s just a good dude and always makes an effort to connect on a personal level no matter how many journos have just grilled him back-to-back,” he says. Proof that success needn’t turn you into a raging egomaniac.
Rock-solid tip: It’s cool to be kind.
“We all go through the sludge – and depression never discriminates. Took me a long time to realise it but the key is to not be afraid to open up. Especially us dudes have a tendency to keep it in. You’re not alone.”
Standing at 198cm and weighing 114kg, The Rock is a man-mountain of physical strength. But he admits to having been blindsided by depression and he’s hardly alone – Movember reports that one in eight men will be similarly affected. What Johnson learned is that opening up is crucial. By talking to someone you’re more likely to find a constructive way to manage your depression and receive the support you need to get better.
Rock-solid tip: Get over your fear of opening up.
“There are a number of things that you can do to encourage your kids’ dreams. But I do believe in talking about when you’ve stumbled in the past. We’ve all stumbled, and we certainly all deserve to get up and walk again.”
Every dad wants to set a good example to our kids. So we invariably gloss over the bad stuff: our drunken acts of self-sabotage, tanked relationships and terrible decisions. But resilience – the ability to bounce back from adversity – is a key attribute for your kids to develop. Sharing your own setbacks will show them that life has peaks and troughs and that while failure can hurt (sometimes a lot) it rarely proves terminal in the long run.
Rock-solid tip: Show and share the bumps on life’s journey with your kids.
“I want to be a man who is truthful and who won’t let pride get in the way of my ripping myself open to my partner and saying, ‘Here I am. This is me.’ I feel there’s something powerful when a man reaches a point in his life when he can be completely vulnerable.”
Johnson’s real point here is that vulnerability and masculinity are not mutually exclusive. As a former wrestling superstar and the owner of a cartoonishly huge physique, he definitely knows something about the latter.
Rock-solid tip: Enjoy the rush and the release of being vulnerable with your partner.
“I realised being a father is the greatest job I have ever had and the greatest job I will ever have.”
OK, so he’s preaching to the converted here, but at TFH we’re inclined to agree. Starring in The Fast & Furious 9 isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. That’s why we ensure we’re home for bath-time instead.
Rock-solid tip: Take the opportunity that fatherhood offers with both hands.