Dwayne Johnson has learned a thing or two about raising girls.
PEOPLE's newly crowned No. 1 Reason to Love America is father to Tia, 3, and Jasmine, 5, with his wife, singer/songwriter Lauren Hashian, 36, and daughter Simone, 20, with ex-wife and business partner Dany Garcia, 52.
Johnson, 49, insists the most important thing he's discovered is "just be there," he tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story. "You can be wired, as a lot of fathers are, to fix things. Just having an expanded capacity to listen and be more tender and gentle really gave me that ability to solve whatever the issue is, but with them compared to for them."
Over the last year during the pandemic, Johnson became even more appreciative of his "blessed" life.
"It was a shakeup for us," the actor admits. "I did this weird thing every day where I still got up and got dressed like I was getting ready to go someplace. I mean, shoes and all. That helped me psychologically. On a relationship and marriage standpoint, you realize you have to really be attentive to your reactions and responses, because your patience capacity starts to compress."
At home, daughters Jasmine and Tia "are tornadoes and very passionate about how they feel," the actor says, laughing. "Lauren and I like raising them in an environment and a culture where there are no limits to life. You can do anything you want, and you can achieve anything you want. However, I need you to be flexible with how we get there."
Johnson's own unconventional journey to Hollywood has led him to become one of the highest-paid actors in the world. His growing business empire includes his Seven Bucks production company, Teremana Tequila, Zoa energy drink and a partnership with Under Armour. Now his new movie, Jungle Cruise will debut in theaters and on Disney+ Premier on July 30.
The actor hopes fans of the film, inspired by the iconic Disney ride and costarring Emily Blunt, will leave theaters feeling "one of life's greatest anchors, which is gratitude itself."
And he insists he will never take his own blessings for granted. "The most important things are right in front of me," Johnson adds. "I am in constant thank-you mode."
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