What a Fantastic Kid!

It was a near-death experience. While doing a small group session with new students, a dad just could not sit still.

He was pushing his kid way too hard, I could see her confidence shaken, leading to a lot of confusion and uncertainty. I just had to stop the group and ask him to “sit down on his bucket and not say another word”.

This was one big, strong guy, and the minute the words slipped out, I hoped my medical insurance was paid. Surprisingly he walked to the side and stood watching us do some progressions, quietly with arms folded. Okay, I had come this far, so why not roll the dice again? I walked up behind him, put my arm on his shoulder. I think he expected things to escalate. Instead, from the heart, I said, “Look at your daughter. I have known her for less than an hour, but she has made a lasting impression. She is bright, polite, considerate and, in her eyes, I see that she wants to please you so badly. You should be so proud of her. You have obviously done a great job, so don’t let softball get in the way of that relationship.”

He said nothing, and I went on to assure him that I totally understood his feelings. If she is not reaching her dreams, we feel inadequate, like we are failing in some way, and it hurts so badly. Most of us have felt that to some extent.

The next time we were together, he started to interject, and just gave him the “shh” sign, and he returned to the bucket. I escaped injury again. A couple of months later, they returned. This time he came straight to me, close enough to be intimidating, put his arm around my shoulder, and squeezed. He did not have to say anything.

If we see each other now, there may be a handshake, but more likely a hug. Oh, yeah, I love the way this dad and daughter look at each other now. Yes, she received her scholarship. But, in the scheme of things, I think something far important happened. A dad stopped and learned to appreciate one of the most fantastic kids I have ever met.

When I look at the two of them together these days, I hope that I was just half as good at being a dad as this guy Today, more than ever, I am thankful that I had a wife and two daughters who helped provide the needed balance. Eventually they got my attention, teaching me how to support dreams, but also teaching me how to stay within my own lane.

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