Offering What We Have

On a recent fly fishing trip my buddy was telling me about how his young daughter was feeling down one night and his wife asked if he could try to talk to her and cheer her up.  As my friend recounted, he wasn’t sure what to do but he thought about what he could offer his daughter at this moment.  “So”, he told me, “I started talking to her while belching.  And it worked!”  My friend’s daughter was soon smiling and laughing along with her eructing father.

I roared with laughter!  Never before have I heard a parent say, “I didn’t know what to do, so I started belching.”

I really love my friend’s approach to this situation.  First I love how, even though he wasn’t sure what to do, he answered the call to assist his daughter, who was having a rough moment.  It would have been easy for him to say something like, “that’s really not my area of expertise” or “she’ll be able to work through it herself”, but instead he decided to engage.  He decided to be a dad.

Second, he thought about what he had to offer.  Despite not knowing what to do at the moment, he quickly thought of what he could offer his daughter to lighten the mood.  It didn’t have to be a perfect, parentally-correct method; it just had to be something he could offer.

Lastly, he offered what he had.  He didn’t hold back, he didn’t say, “belching will never work”.  He simply offered what he had, and cheered up his daughter.  (He likely created a silly memory she will never forget.  I would have loved to hear my dad offer me belches of encouragement when I was a young boy!)

Whether it’s encouraging words, thoughtful actions, listening ears, or myriad other things, we all have something to offer those around us.  All we have to do is offer what we have.

Lessons From My Father In Law

My wife’s father, Ron, passed away last week and I got to deliver a few words at his funeral.  Below is the text of that speech.

Ron taught me a lot about the important role fathers play in the lives of their daughters.  Unfortunately, most of his teaching came in the form of what not to do.  In the end, he was a man, by his own admission, if given a second chance, would have done things different.

I hope that these words can cause something to happen for a father that will result in an enhanced relationship with his daughter(s).

Whenever I think of Ron, the first word that comes to mind… is teacher.

Have you ever known someone that, just by their actions and how they lived their life, always seemed to be teaching?  Ron was like that to me. 

You see, Ron taught me more about women than any other person I know.

What Ron repeatedly taught me about women, and little girls, is that fathers have a significant impact in the lives of their daughters, and that daughters need their father’s love and affection. 

Ron was blessed with 3 wonderful daughters, and I got to observe him interact with them for almost 25 years.  During that time I came to understand just how true his teaching was.  And not just an understanding of, “Yes, fathers are important to daughters, and daughters need their fathers love.” 

No!  Ron demonstrated to me that fathers ARE important to daughters; and that daughters don’t just WANT their father’s love and affection… they NEED it.

Every interaction I witnessed between Ron and his daughters seemed underscore the importance of these points.  It was as if he were saying to me, “Are you getting this, Scott?  Are you paying attention?  Do you UNDERSTAND the importance of what I’m teaching you?” 

He also taught me that it doesn’t matter whether she’s 6 or 60; a daughter still needs her father’s love and affection. 

Dad’s with daughters, listen to Ron’s teaching.  If it’s been a while since you’ve shown your daughter love, affection, and acceptance; do so today.  If she’s sitting next to you, consider yourself blessed.  Grab her hand, or put your arm around her.  Kiss her on the head, press your shoulder against hers; put your lips up to her ear and whisper, “I love you.  I’m proud of you.” 

If she’s not with you now, then find her when you get home and do likewise. 

If she’s not geographically present, then call her, send her an email; put a nice card in the mail with words of love and adoration. 

These efforts are so small, yet the positive impact they have in the life of your daughter is massive by comparison.

And if you’re a dad here who’s thinking, “I’ve never done the things Ron taught you.  I haven’t’ shown my daughter love, affection, or acceptance.  In fact, I’ve done a horrible job in this area… and I’m afraid it’s too late.” 

For you, Dad, I’ve got great news!  Here is the most important lesson Ron taught me on this topic…

You can begin today!  Start showing her your love and affection. It’s not too late.  YOU CAN BEGIN TODAY!

Because it’s never too late to start.  Unless you wait… until it’s too late to start.