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.