Archives For Alan Smyth

More Real Talk

Alan Smyth —  March 1, 2015 — Leave a comment

In our book Prized Possession, we have inserted some real comments from real girls between chapters which help to shape the importance of this conversation. In a sobering reflection, take a look at what this real life girl said about her Dad.
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“My dad is lazy and absent from my life. Although he is home, he sits around watching TV or doing other things rather than spend time with our family. He only communicates with me when he is mad at me for something I have done. When he knows he has done something that upsets my brother or me, he tries to buy our love back by getting us presents.
He gave me a gift a few months ago that is still sitting in my closet. It’s still wrapped, because
I don’t even care enough to open it. I can’t even look at it because it makes me so angry.”

 

Here is what I hear from this heartbroken young lady:

• Dad is absent, not physically, but emotionally.
• Dad is not engaged with his family.
• Dad does not communicate positively.
• Dad thinks he can buy his kids off to compensate for his own shortcomings.
• Your daughter wants YOU in her life

Learn a lesson from a knucklehead Dad. It’s actually not that hard. Just do the exact opposite of what this Dad is doing and do it consistently!

Be Better!

Alan

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My wife and I just saw “Saving Mr. Banks.” In case you haven’t heard about it, this movie was made about the back story of how the iconic Disney movie, “Marry Poppins” was made. The strong cast led by Tom Hanks portrayed the behind the scenes look at the writer of Marry Poppins and how it came to be.

Banks

As you probably remember, Mr. Banks from the movie was a dis engaged Dad to two little kids. Marry Poppins arrived to create order in the home and look after the kids. True to real life, the kids were hurting because their Dad was more concerned with his career than their lives. Dick Van Dyke and July Andrews created one of the classic films of all time.

Poppins

Here is the sneaky part. As the movie unfolded it was filled with flashbacks from the life of the author of Marry Poppins. It became pretty obvious, pretty quickly that she was writing from her own life experiences. She grew up wounded and deeply disappointed by her father. She carried this wound deep into her adult life. In the film, she was portrayed as a bitter, angry person. This is a “Father/Daughter” movie!

Walt Disney (aka Tom Hanks) convinced the author to trust him with her “Marry Poppins.” He wanted to redeem her father in the movie and rewrite her memories. As the cast from the original Marry Poppins sang “Let’s go fly a kite” Mr. Banks had a change of heart and the movie ends with a joyful tone as father has reunited with his kids.

In Saving Mr. Banks, the character who wrote “Marry Poppins” sobbed as she watched the end of the movie “Marry Poppins.” She clearly longed for a right relationship with her own Dad. She longed for peace, wholeness and a healthy presence in her life. She clearly spent her whole life wounded by her Dad.

Another stark reminder of just how important you are to your daughter. I have said this before and it is worth repeating.

Because of your actions…. Your daughter will either flourish or spend the rest of her life trying to heal from the wound you leave her.

Please engage, be present, be positive, be strong, be accepting, be pursuing, be affirming and be affectionate.

It matters

Press On
Alan

 

 

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I recently ran across a very powerful quote regarding “Perfectionism.” Someone else who also appreciated the quote recreated it in the middle of a traffic intersection. Below is a picture of this quote.

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Our girls are growing up in a brutal culture where they are expected to be perfect. Society projects an objectifying, unattainable standard of what beauty is. Every major celebrity has a team of “photo shop” artists and no picture is released for public consumption without alterations.

Super model Cindy Crawford once said, “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.”

When our girls inevitably fall short of society’s standard, they feel a sense of pressure and failure. They are constantly reminded that they are not good enough and don’t measure up.

The third chapter of our book “Prized Possession” is entitled “The Assault on our Girls” and goes into much more detail on the pressures our girls are facing.

It’s ugly out there….

Let’s make sure our homes are a refuge for our girls. Let’s make sure they leave the pressure to be perfect at the door when they come home. Let’s allow mistakes and laugh at ourselves in the process. Let’s tell each other that we are “sorry.” Let’s let our girls escape from the suffocating outdoors and retreat to the relaxing indoors of our homes.

Our girls need a break. It’s exhausting out there trying to live up to everyone else’s expectations and the pressure is unavoidable.

Notice I have not used the word “Daughter” in this post. Women of any age deal with these realities. Your wives are also subject to these pressures and could probably use a reassuring word from you now and then about how beautiful she is and how happy you are to be with her.

Press On
Alan

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Super Bowl Pride

Alan Smyth —  February 2, 2015 — Leave a comment

We recently had the National Holiday known as Super Bowl Sunday. Every football fan around the world was shocked and surprised at how the game ended. Not to go too deep into the X’s & O’s of football, but the Seattle Seahawks found themselves on the goal line at the end of the game. They had arguably the best running back in the league in the backfield. What has been described as the “worst play call in history” by many came next.

Instead of letting their “Beastmode” running back stroll into the end zone for the win, they dropped back and threw an interception and thus lost the game.

Interception

The internet almost broke with nearly a unanimous outcry of how bad the play call was. Patriot fans giggled with dis belief while Seahawk fans screamed in horror. Football fans that didn’t really care who won were in disbelief.

Pete

And then there was Pete Carrol, head coach of the Seahawks. He immediately and relentlessly defended his call. He was probably covering for someone else, but ultimately it was HIS call. EVERYONE is saying it was a terrible call. He stands alone and says it was the right call.

Pride has a way of deceiving us and defeating us. Pride has a way of blinding us and hurting us. Previous successes have a way of creating a false sense of invincibility. “Pride comes before the fall.” How is it that we can put ourselves on an Island and start believing our own press clippings to our own demise?

Lay down your sword and shield. Understand there is always more to learn and another way to see things. Toxic levels of pride never work anywhere. It doesn’t work as a leader, a husband, a friend or a parent.

Learn a lesson from the Super Bowl. Call a time out, consult some friends and make a great decision.

Be Strong!

Alan

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You have probably heard the phrase before, “Happy wife, happy life.” The first time I heard this phrase, it was in a comedy sketch where the comedian proceeded to rattle off 20 minutes of hilarious marriage material. His point was to help us guys understand that if we keep our wife happy, our life will be much better. If she is happy, we are happy!

In the context of this Father/Daughter blog which you can subscribe to at www.myfatherdaughter.com this phrase means even more! We get a “two-fer!” There is an opportunity to get more “bang for the buck.” Who among us doesn’t love a great deal whenever we can get one!

special offer In case you missed my blog entry regarding New Year’s Resolutions, I spoke about the three things that young women have spoken about that impacted them greatly. One of those key principles was when they saw their dad loving and respecting their mom in a great way.

Let’s break down the “two-fer”

twofer hotdogs

If you love, honor and respect your wife, she will generally respond in a likewise manner to you! As we share our emotion, affection, heart, mind and soul with our spouse, she will be freed up to respond in kind, and love us the way we need to be loved in return.

Here is the bang for the buck and the value added. You obviously care about your daughter, your relationship with her and her general well-being. Your daughter arrives in this life with a blank slate. She is learning how everything works. She does this by watching, interacting and exploring life. Her most important classroom for this learning is her home and her biggest teachers are her parents. You as dad, might have the strongest, most powerful voice in your daughter’s life.

Everything your daughter learns about men, dating, how she should be treated, what is acceptable and how worthy she is of respect will first come from you and what she observes at home. So, loving, honoring, and respecting your wife in a great way has a “two-fer” effect.

  1. You get to have a great marriage.
  2. Your daughter learns what to look for and expect in future boyfriends and husband.

My 26 year old daughter Brittany, has contributed a chapter in the book, “Prized Possession.” In her chapter she wrote this:

“After 24 years of watching my dad interact with my mom, I know for sure that he has every quality that I want to find in my future husband. It is because of the amazing example that he has set that I know what I deserve, and I will not settle for anything less. For that, I am extremely grateful.”

I share what she said with great humility. In my mind, I could have done a much better job at being a husband all these years. BUT, what Brittany wrote, unprompted, highlights this concept for me. Your daughter will look for a man using YOU as the lens she looks through. She will know from YOU what is acceptable and attainable. The way YOU love and honor your wife will partly determine the kind of husband (or boyfriend) your daughter looks for. What lessons on love and marriage is your daughter learning YOU?

Today’s Take Away: Take an inventory of how your marriage is doing. Recognize that your daughter, no matter what her age, is watching and absorbing. Ask your wife how you can be a better husband to her.

God bless you in this pursuit friends

Alan Smyth

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If a tree falls in your driveway and no one is around, does it make a sound?

Last Sunday I had the most interesting and enlightening thing happen. My wife and I were leaving the house and heading to church. As I approached the driveway, the unexpected sight of my 30 foot tree laid across my driveway and onto my car. The ordinarily steady symbol of strength had fallen.

Tree 3

It took a few seconds for this odd site to register in my brain.  While I have heard of such things happening from time to time, I had never actually seen it up close. MY tree fell on MY car. But why? There was no particular storm the night before. There was no rain (I live in Southern California) There was no obvious reason why that tree should fall.

Tree 2

After closer examination, I think I found the reason. Upon further review…. The inside of the tree appeared to be infested with termites. The root system had been damaged.

Tree 1

The tree was strong looking on the outside, yet weak on the inside.  This tree gave the perception of strength while lived in the reality of weakness. Thriving in the visible, suffering in the invisible. And great was it’s fall.

How many times have we seen public figures, while appearing strong on the outside, experience a great fall? And upon further review, the interior is always in a weakened state. The roots system is always vulnerable.

Let my fallen tree be a reminder or perhaps a wake-up call to us all! We often spend so much time working on outward appearances that we neglect our inward strength, depth and integrity. Sooner or later a storm always comes. And in the case of my tree, it was so weak on the inside; it didn’t even require much of a storm to cause its fall.

Let’s be strong for our families! Let’s focus on our interior rather than our exterior. Let’s sink deep roots in things that matter. Our daughters need a strong role model and a pillar of strength to look up too. No one is above a fall. Guard your interior. Strengthen your roots and remain strong. Let there be no great fall in your life!

Be Strong!

Alan

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