One of the most powerful relationships on the planet is a dad and his daughter, despite the cultural attempt to diminish a father's influence. Children are unfiltered sponges ... soaking in every word from their parents, coaches, teachers, and culture: positive or negative. The words and corresponding emotions sink into our subconscious and lay the framework for how we interact with the world. How we see ourselves determines the way we navigate relationships, carve out our core values, and handle life's challenges.
My dad steadied me in an unsteady world. He wasn't afraid to cry, put us in a headlock, or chortle with pure glee. Our bond was cultivated at the kitchen table and grew roots across a rotation of restaurant booths. My dad loved an audience, and his kids were his biggest fans ...to the chagrin of my mom ... who he loved to pester. He could take as good as he could give, and that continues to this day. My dad showed up ... emotionally. Life was not always laughter and roses. My dad was a hard-working "shoe man" during the day and a basketball ref at night. Paying the bills created an invisible tension. Yet, my dad appeared on the sidelines at my flag football games, smiled through the eardrum-piercing concert of a first-year cellist, and sweated through my sweltering softball tournaments. My dad's presence built my trust in him and bolstered my self-confidence.
In the movie, Jingle All The Way, Jamie scours the crowd wide-eyed; his soul shrinks when he realizes his dad isn't there. Howard Langston, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, breaks another promise when he misses his son's purple belt karate ceremony. Broken promises chip away at trust and shakes the foundation under a kid's feet, but something cool happens when you scan the crowd and see the person who is there to see you. My dad showed up ... physically. However, none of this would have happened had my dad not showed up on July 15, 1969. My father made a terrible mistake early in my parent's marriage that nearly destroyed our family. He returned home after months of separation. On a warm summer afternoon, screams filled the house and my dad left ... headed to the bar. He rolled up to a stop sign, turned the opposite direction, and parked in front of a church. He entered and was directed to the pastor's home. He knocked and was welcomed in by the pastor's wife. She listened to the story of a broken man and led him to the Lord. My father returned home, and my mom saw the change in his countenance. My parents attended a Billy Graham Crusade that night, and the course of our life was changed forever. My dad showed up ... spiritually. "Dadship" done right has soul-altering power. Take the time to Show Up. Happy Father's Day!