Archives For Alan Smyth

You must have seen a recent blog post written in the Huffington Post that absolutely blew up. I believe some TWO MILLION views or something absurd like that. Turns out that the guy who wrote it is connected through a good friend. We got connected and I asked Justin Ricklefs to write up a guest post for the MFD audience. In case you missed his burst onto to the world scene, CLICK HERE to catch yourself up. Below is his offering to us. Enjoy! – Alan

Written by Justin Ricklefs.  Reclaiming the things that matter most in business, wellness and home. Blogger at Writer for HuffPost Parents and  Husband to Brooke. Daddy to four girls & one boy. Sales executive.

Something magical happened in the mountains of Tennessee this spring. Something I didn’t expect and something that no amount of money could buy. I was given a gift that I will cherish until the day I die.

We had been planning it for over a year. Reports, research, pros and cons, Google image searches. All led by our 10 year old daughter, Kamden. About 18 months before her 10th birthday, I read a book that has shaped my life in a major way. “Love Does” by Bob Goff. I learned a ton of lessons from that book, but one in particular was Bob’s concept of a 10 year old trip with your child. Anywhere they want to go. They get to plan it.

For financial reasons, we limited her search to the continental US. Really that was her only restriction. She immediately came up with a Top 10 list that included big cities like DC and New York. It also included nature areas like Yellowstone and the Niagara Falls. But the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee remained on the list through each iteration. She saw a picture of a log cabin, a kid on horseback, and another on a zipline. The rolling hills of Tennessee it was.

Walking pic

Once she knew the final destination, we had six months to plan the trip. She turned 10 in January, but it wasn’t until May when we launched our adventure. We moved from Florida back home to Kansas City in late April, so because of our recent move, Brooke stayed home with the other four. So at 4am on Friday morning, I woke sweet Kamden up in the pitch dark and told her we had a flight to catch. We flew direct from KC to Nashville. Rented a car and then drove the 3.5 hours to the middle of these mysterious mountains.

Horses were ridden, lines were zipped, good food was consumed, hot tubs were soaked in. Sure all of it cost us money. Less than a thousand bucks in all. But the memories we made and the bond we cemented was truly priceless. I watched Kamden’s sails fill up during that trip. She became a young lady in those four days in the mountains.

Swing pic

I’m not sure why it took me 10 years to realize it, but I was confronted by a new reality. If I could spend money on memories instead of things, that investment would pay an amazing return over time. It doesn’t have to be exactly at ten years old or exactly the way we did it, but here are four reasons why you need to take your daughter on a trip:

*1. It Allows Her to be Her* – In our home, we have five kids.  As the oldest, Kamden is often on point to help us out with the chaos in our home.  She is maternal by nature, so it’s common to see her with our youngest on her hip or helping get lunches packed for the next school day. But in the carefree, long weekend we had, I saw traits in her that get swallowed up in busyness.  That time allowed her to be fully alive and fully her.

*2. It Gives Her Responsibility* – We told Kamden that this trip would only happen if she did the heavy lifting of planning and researching our time. Of course we would have gone regardless, but this permission gave her the green light to mature, take ownership and lead.  It taught her how to prioritize, how to make decisions, how to ask for help.

*3. She Sees Beautiful Stories Unfold* – We saw a black bear and her two cubs.  We saw amazing sunsets.  We met remarkable people.  We encountered challenges on hikes.  Stories that she has told to family and friends since the day we returned home.  There is real beauty in the world.  And real adventure.  And it’s longing to be explored.

*4. Love Does.  We tell our kids all the time that love will win.  In a world full of cynics and critics, we’re trying to pour loads of love out. Love isn’t simply a feeling or a sentiment.  It does stuff.  It takes action for the benefit of others.  It moves.  It chooses.  It does.  Bob taught me that in his book, and we lived it in those mountains.

Dads, we won’t get these years back.  Get a trip planned with your little (or not so little) girl.  Better yet, let her plan in it. Would love to hear how it goes.  If it’s anything like our trip, it will change your life.

Justin – @justinricklefs on Twitter.

 Christmas is upon us. Take a look at our store for some fun and meaningful gifts for Dad.

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Recently we had a magical day at the Magic Kingdom. You may remember a previous blog post where I shared about “Rosa” and her girls and the privilege he have had to walk with her for the last 5 years. To catch yourself up, READ HERE. Despite her circumstances, she has done a great job in raising her sweet girls. The odds are clearly against her and she is battling. I am proud of her.

Recently it was her girl’s birthday. They are one year apart, yet nearly share the same day of birth. They are now 4 and 5 years old and secretly we have been waiting for them to get old enough to take them to Disneyland. A day at Disneyland is clearly far out of their reach and we couldn’t wait to make this happen. Incidentally, Rosa (mom) has never been there either, so we were excited to take them all.

After we parked our car, we boarded the tram taking us to the main gate. Rosa said, “I am so excited I want to scream!” We barely got out of the parking structure and the excitement was nearly boiling over!  We started off with the iconic and obligatory picture in front of the park with the ever watchful Mickey made of flowers.

Front of park

Next up was the standard picture in front of the castle and the magic was on!

Alan with girls

Before we waited in long lines for short age appropriate rides, we made the rounds seeing the available Princesses. The girls knew them all and they loved seeing the “real ones” in person.


We took pictures and got autographs. The Princesses were sweet and engaging. The girls LOVED it.

Here are a few brief thoughts that I hope these girls will one day know. Likewise, I hope your daughter knows this and I hope that you will help in this process of understanding.

The truth is that these two young girls are the real Princesses. Not the kind that wear poofy dresses or have theme music. And not the kind that customers stand in line to see. They are not the kind of Princess that will appear as an action figure, on lunch boxes & underwear or star in a movie.

They are the real kind of Princesses. In the system of royalty, a Princess is the daughter of the King. The King is in charge and commands respect. Everyone bows to the King because of his position. In the system of the Universe, God is King and one day every knee will bend and every tongue will confess this true. He commands respect because of His position.

In the bible, there are numerous references where God & Jesus refers to us people as “Child” and “Daughter.” A daughter of the King is a Princess!

These sweet girls I took to Disneyland are Princesses in the Universe. And your daughter is as well. My hope and prayer is that our girls will understand their rightful place in the universe and live into it. They should be respected and honored as a daughter of the King. And they should not pay any attention to anyone who does not treat them with the same respect. Maybe you could remind your girl of this fact.

Be the protector and defender of Royalty!

Long live the King!


The Holiday’s are upon us. Get some fun and meaningful gifts for the Dad’s you know.

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In just two short days you can participate in a ground breaking event!

We have a HUGE announcement for the My Father Daughter audience. You may or may not know that Kristy and I have developed a live seminar for Dad’s. It is loosely based on the table of contents of our book PRIZED POSSESSION. Our seminar has been very well received each time we have done it. We recently gave this seminar in Thousand Oaks, Ca, and below is some of the feedback we heard from the Dads in the audience.

“Thank you for the encouragement. You opened my eyes to things that I need to know”

“I feel equipped to engage”

“Good best practices”

“Very informative, great job”

“It really opened my eyes at the importance of being a more prominent part of my daughter’s life”

“This was great motivation to finish well. Thank you for the blessing”

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Inevitably each time we have done this, people say “Hey, when are you doing this again!? I have three friends who need to hear this.”

The HUGE announcement is that we are conducting our first Webinar on November 12. If you have been to our seminar, it will be very similar in content, only delivered in a Webinar format. We are excited about this and hopeful we can reach more Dads through this format.

Space is very limited so if you would like to participate, just hit the link below. And of course you can forward this to anyone you think would benefit from this conversation. The target is Dads who have daughters, but really anyone is welcome to jump in.


If you know you want to get in on this but you are unavailable on November 12, it will be recorded and able to be viewed later.

Thanks for leaning in and stepping up as a great Dad!

If you want to pick up our book, you can hit the link below!

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New York City

Alan Smyth —  October 27, 2014 — 2 Comments

If you have been following this blog, you have heard me talk about something I like to call the “Father/Daughter Get Away.” My niche in this three headed blog is to speak from the perspective of a Dad who has raised a grown daughter and the things I have learned. Additionally I will bring you great ideas from other Dad’s I know.

Today, I would like to share with you a great trip done by one of my buddy’s. Stu made a tradition where he took each of his three daughters on two different special trips. The first trip they took was when his daughters turned 13.  The second trip they took was during their senior year of High School. I will write about that trip another time. Listen to Stu tell part of his story.

From Stu: The first trip I took each of my girls on was when they were 13 years old. We would go to where ever they wanted to go in the USA. Of my three daughters, we had one who wanted to go to Los Angeles, one to New York City and one to Victoria Island. On these trips, we set out to do whatever the girls wanted to do, see shows, stay in a castle, etc. I wanted to show them how they should be treated by a man on a date, so nice dinners, “high tea”, etc. Then I also bought them a memorable piece of jewelry. Now I NEVER do that so it was really special. For example we were walking the streets of NY city and we came to Tiffanies jewelry store, Hannah’s eyes lit up knowing what this place is. It has four stories and you are greeted by the doorman in a tux. I whisper to the first sales person, “My daughter has turned 13 and I need the cheapest thing in your store!” She says out loud what a special day! We have lovely Tiffany’s heart necklaces on the 4th floor, back left counter! ($99) Hannah loved it, what a memory. The packaging, the blue bag, the walking the streets of NY, the eating on street corners, the shopping at knock off underground NY stores, the staying in a friend’s 300 square foot flat in Soho, was all part of this special time.

Stu continues with:  It’s easy for dads to say “oh I couldn’t to that” “I don’t get that much vacation,” or “that’s too much money”, or “my daughter can’t miss school,” to all those things I say “Bull!” You are men, you do whatever you want most of the time. Take out a loan; take a leave from your job. I’d take a 2nd mortgage on the house for what the experience has given to us as dad and daughter. (Mom is actually a bit jealous because of the special memories you get with your daughter).

Today’s take away: Plan an age appropriate trip with your daughter. Start the tradition, take the time, make the memory. It’s about the best thing you can do!

I’d love to hear about it!

Alan Smyth

Stu’s story, as well as many other Dads perspectives are contained in the book “Prized Possession” which is avaiable now.

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When Brittany turned 5, we had our inaugural Father/Daughter Getaway. As I was a young dad and still forming my philosophies and parenting strategies, I stumbled onto something magical. I remember it like it was yesterday when I walked into Brittany’s bedroom and announced the first ever Father/Daughter getaway. I told her that starting NOW, we were going to go on a trip together every year. I asked her where she wanted to go. I told her to think of the most fun place we could go together.

Being only 5 and living in Northern California at the time, we quickly settled on the Magic Kingdom. What better place to start this amazing tradition than Disneyland!? We recorded our Disney soundtrack to get us pumped for the 5 hour car ride. We hit the road, and sang Disney tunes the whole way to L.A.

Of course we took the obligatory picture in front of the giant Mickey made of flowers in the front of the park.This trip started a tradition that we upheld all through High School. Each year, we planned something fun together and went somewhere for a couple days. After Disneyland, we did things like hit every mall in Northern Cal completing all of our Christmas shopping (In August), horseback riding, camping and snowboarding. The granddaddy of all Father/Daughter getaways however, was Brittany and I going to Hawaii for her Spring break during her senior year.

Here is what Brittany has to say about these getaways:

“Those of you who know my dad can probably guess that horseback riding or shopping all day at the mall is not exactly on the top of his priority list, but I was, and being the amazing dad that he is, he took me on one adventure after the other and made life long memories with me.  While we had some really cool experiences together, I now understand that it was not so much what we did that had value, but it was the fact that we did them together.  In hindsight, all this time that he invested in me was building me up to become a confident, independent woman.”

Guys, take your daughters on trips. During the research for this Father/Daughter project, I heard over and over that spending this extended and concentrated time with your daughter is nothing short of “Magical,” even if you don’t go to Disneyland!

Today’s Take Away: Plan a trip with your daughter. Make sure it is at least ONE night, but more is better. Nothing can compare to the life long memories and bonding you will get from this.

After you take your trip, post a picture on our facebook page – “” Make sure you subscribe to this blog at

I’d love to hear about the trip you take, drop me a note & have fun!


PS: Not long ago, I took her to Vegas to see a show. The venue of the “get a way” may change, but the principles reman constant!


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High Standards!

Alan Smyth —  October 6, 2014 — Leave a comment

I immediately loved this little “e-card” the first time I saw it. I don’t know who made it or with what intentions, but I am very sure it is spot on and deeply profound.


I wonder how many of us are keenly aware that we have a lot to say about who our daughter chooses for boyfriends and an eventual husband. Your daughter’s first, best and greatest example of how a man should treat a woman is her Daddy! She is watching, absorbing, gleaning and learning all the time. She hears what you say and what you don’t say. She sees you act and she notices your body language.

Your daughter is in your personal classroom and the main subject that is being taught is how a man should treat a woman. You are giving her the standards by which she will operate. You are giving her knowledge of what to expect or what NOT to expect.

Question: Do you want your daughter to be treated right by a boy? Then show her what it looks like to treat a woman right.

Question: Do you want her to make a great choice in a future husband? Then be a great husband and show her what one looks like.

Question: Is it possible for your daughter to have too high of standards for her future boyfriend or husband?

Make it hard for a future guy to jump over the bar because you have set the bar so incredibly high by your actions.

We’re talking about your daughter and your grand kids here!

Let’s go!


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