Archives For Alan Smyth

Last Monday, I wrote about an encounter I had with a young man who was showing interest in my daughter. As promised, today I will share with you the second half of the story and what happened after my Dark Parking Lot conversation. In case you missed last week click HERE to get caught up.

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After I dropped the young man off at his house, he promptly got on the phone to Brittany and retold our conversation. Only, he told her that I said he could not spend time with her anymore. WRONG! That is not what I said. I simply gave him the conditions upon which he could do so. He then said his version of my expectations on their potential physical relationship. He told Brittany, “Your dad said that if I touched you, he’d kill me!”

Brittany responded, “Well, I’m sure he didn’t mean that…”

But the boy interrupted her. “No, he did! And he could, too.”

When Brittany relayed his words to me, I said, “Perfect! Then it looks like we have an understanding. Mission accomplished!”

I have never seen Brittany as mad as she was at that moment, and in the days to come.  She was furious that I would step in and put an end to this relationship.

After a few days, when she had cooled off a bit, Brittany came into my bedroom one night as Sharon and I watched TV. During our conversation, I reiterated that this guy was bad news, and that spending time with him was a mistake. She asked me why I couldn’t just let her make her own mistakes.

Niagara Falls

“Think about what you are asking me to do,” I said. “You are asking me to sit on the bank of a river, and wave at you as you float by on a raft, when all the while I know that just around the river bend is Niagara Falls! You are asking me to smile at you and watch you go over the falls for the sake of letting you make your own mistakes.” I told her that was something I was simply not willing to do, and that it was my job as her dad to defend and protect her whenever possible. In the end, I said, I was willing to have her mad at me now and then if it meant keeping her safe.

My primary goal was not to have her happy with me. My primary goal was her safety. I also reminded her that I did not tell this guy he couldn’t see her again. I simply said that he needed to begin treating her like a princess. “Doesn’t that sound pretty good?” I asked. “Don’t you think you deserve to be treated like a princess?” If my suspicions were correct, we might never see him again, and we would know for sure what his real intentions were.

I’ll let you guess what happened.

 

Press On

Alan Smyth

 

PS: This story is told in greater detail in our book “Prized Possession”

 

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There was once a certain young man who started showing interest in my Brittany. This guy was good-looking, athletic, and charming. He was smooth and outgoing. He was extremely confident and sure of himself and was a couple of years older than Brittany. He was extremely attractive to Brittany, but he was extremely dangerous to me. I saw right through his game. He was a first-class “ladies’ man.” The last thing in the world I wanted for my daughter was for a guy like him to see my daughter as another conquest.

Ladies man

I had two choices. I could either abdicate my role as defender and protector of my daughter and let things play out, or I could engage. I’m guessing you know which one I chose. I did a little research, asking around to people who knew him. I heard things like, “always has a girlfriend,” “seems like a player,” and “seems like bad news.” Translation to me…GAME ON.

I have been a Young Life leader to guys for some 30 years. I know well what they talk about and what they think about. I knew this was going to end badly if I didn’t step in.

So, I had a little conversation with the young man. He was over at our house one night, watching TV. I knew that Brittany would have to drive him home late because, of course, he didn’t have a car. I was sitting downstairs with them and I said, “Hey, how about I drive you home tonight?”

Brittany glared at me. She said, “I can take him home later.”

I said, “No, that’s okay! I’d be happy to take him home now. Don’t worry about it.” They looked awkwardly at each other, and with a slight eye roll, he got up and followed me out to my car. We made a little small talk as we drove, until I asked, “What are your intentions with my daughter?” He talked about how much he liked her and said he wanted to pursue a relationship with her. I could see this was going to take a while, so we pulled over into a dark parking lot and continued our conversation.

dark parking lot

I told him that Brittany was more valuable than anything that I had.  Then, I shifted the conversation to the potential physical side of their relationship. I let him know that we had raised Brittany with a certain set of values and expectations, and that I expected him to honor those values and expectations. I told him that, while in a parked car, in a dark parking lot, late at night, if he was to somehow cross that line–I gazed into the dark with a long, pregnant pause–that I “wasn’t sure what I’d do.” Then, I shook his hand, said I hoped we were clear on my expectations and his path to spending more time with my daughter, drove him home and thanked him for the conversation.

In next week’s blog, I will share with you his response, Brittany’s response and what happened next. See you next Monday!

Press On

Alan Smyth

PS: This story is told in greater detail in our  book “Prized Possession”

 

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Lay My Life Down

Alan Smyth —  July 27, 2015 — Leave a comment

I had a very unexpected and touching conversation in the bank the other day. I was there opening a new account and chit chatting with the New Accounts Teller. He mentioned that his wife was pregnant with his first, a daughter. We exchanged a few moments of parenting conversation. Me, from a 25 year vet and he from an excited, yet nervous new-bee.

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A few minutes in, this blog somehow came into the conversation. When he learned about the “Father/Daughter” nature of this blog, he said, “You need to talk to Norm.” Norm was the guy who worked in the next cubicle over. Just then, Norm popped his head over the wall and asked what we were talking about. I learned that Norm had three daughters and one of them was adopted.

Norm went on to describe the brutal situation that they adopted his teenage daughter out of. She had been in an abusive situation and had been scarred because of it. She was naturally jaded and skeptical of Norm’s love and desire to create a family. She said to Norm, “How can I trust you? How can I trust this? How do I know this is going to last? Maybe I should leave!”

Norm said, “You’re right, I can’t guarantee much. Maybe you should leave. I can’t promise that your mom isn’t going to come in and mess things up. I can’t promise that the court isn’t going to screw this up either. But here is what I can promise. I can promise that while you are here you will always have enough food to eat, a roof over your head and that I will lay my life down for you if needed.”

lay your life down

I gulped…. My eyes moistened. Wow. What a statement. Norm rescued this girl out of a terrible situation with an abusive mom. Everything was uncertain. Her future was up in the air. And he is promising to lay his life down on behalf of this troubled girl. I can only imagine what that did in the heart, mind and soul of this little girl. Never before had she someone who would fight for her and protect her. Never before did she have that kind of security. Since that conversation, things have been different in that home. She is happier and more content. She did not leave and she is thriving.

I thought I was going in for some routine banking. An unexpected conversation with Norm rocked my world. I was reminded that there is some good left in this crazy world. And it prompted some questions in me.

Does your daughter know that you would lay your life down for her? And for that matter, do you know if you would? I suspect that you would, however, I wonder if your daughter knows that. I wonder if your actions suggest that she is the most important thing in your world? Not your words, but your actions! I wonder if she knows how important she is to you?

You probably won’t ever have to actually lay your life down, but how about you start this week by making some time for her in your busy schedule.

 

Do it!

Alan

For some fun gifts for Dad, take a look at our store.

 

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My Achy Breaky Heart

Alan Smyth —  July 13, 2015 — 9 Comments

Last year, just about everyone saw or at least heard about the VMA’s. There was a particular performance by a certain young Disney Star that has caused quite a stir. You could call it a backlash and outrage by many. Miley Cyrus gave a disturbing performance at the Video Music Awards in Prime Time TV. This 20 year old child star danced in an extremely suggestive and sexual manner in front of the world. It was borderline pornographic at times.

I have seen a few responses. Many of which are pointed to Miley herself. How could she do this? Why would she do this? Wasn’t she a “Disney” star a short time ago? I read something ripping on the 36 year old male counterpart who simulated sexual encounters with Miley on stage. Why and how could he do that? These are all good questions. Both parties have a lot of explaining to do.

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When I saw the performance, my heart sank. I don’t sit in judgment against Miley. I sit in sadness. I see a 20 year old child carrying on like someone completely lost and confused as to what her true value and real worth is. She is disrespecting herself and treating herself like the Hip Hop/Rap singers would portray her to be.  I am not excusing her from her actions. I just know that growing up a child star in an oversexualized culture brings with it pressures and issues that I can’t imagine. So I am not piling on Miley. I see her as just a scared lonely little girl who has more resources than most scared, lonely little girls.

However, I do have some honest questions for Billy Ray, her Dad. I am extremely curious as to her father’s response. I wonder if he is as horrified as the rest of us? I wonder if he is saddened by his daughter’s choices and the apparent bad advice she has been getting. I wonder if he has tried to pull her off the dangerous trajectory she is on? OR…. I wonder if he is complicit in his daughter’s actions of late. I wonder if he is applauding and encouraging over what he sees. My heart sinks at what I have seen.

My natural instinct is to protect my daughter. My default setting is to step in and rescue her if possible and reasonable. I’m sorry, but if a 36 year old married man came up behind my 20 year old daughter simulating sex acts…… Let’s just say the next picture you would see is my mug shot on the 6:00 pm news. I would certainly respond in a way that would land me in jail. Where are you Billy Ray? I would have expected you to leap from your seat and tackle that pig on stage to get him off your daughter. You don’t owe me any kind of response or explanation.  You owe it to your sweet daughter whom you have a responsibility to guide, direct and protect.

Hannah

Billy Ray, I hope you get some quiet time soon with your little girl before its way too late. I hope you can let her know that she is a precious daughter of the King. That she is a princess and should be treated as such. I hope you can tell her that she is more valuable that silver and more costly than gold. While you’re at it Billy Ray, let her know that she should not give anyone the time of day who does not also believe that and treat her that way.

Come on guys, let’s do better.

Does your daughter know what she is truly worth?

Alan

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Today we celebrate the anniversary of the following blog. Surprisingly it went viral after Father’s Day.  We were then flooded with interest for T-shirts. Dads have been sending in pictures of themselves, in their shirts along with their daughters. We have been posting some of them on our facebook page entitled “Myfatherdaughter.com” Many more people are now following this blog. This light hearted shirt is bringing thousands of Dads further into the important conversation of their role with their daughter. Take a look and join us!

 

On February 18th, I wrote a funny little blog about the “rules for dating my daughter.” I chuckled as I wrote it and never dreamed how much buzz it would receive. Through the magic of Social Media, it was by far the most read, passed around and commented on blog in the life of this little project. The concept of a Dad issuing his ground rules for dating his daughter seemed to unite the entire tribe of Fathers! I’m guessing those rules are what all of us have been thinking but didn’t think we could actually ever say it. In case you missed the February 18th blog or would just like to refresh yourself, go ahead and click HERE to see it again.

Some of the feedback I received was around the actual rules. I heard things like “Who is making the T-shirt?” “I need that shirt” and “Dear God, get me that shirt.” Now, I am not in the apparel business. I’m not even in the blogging business. I am a Young Life Regional Director trying to reach lost kids in LA. It just so happens that due to my experience as a Young Life leader and as a parent, I might have a thing or two to say about being a Dad.

In an effort to give the people what they are clamoring for, I have made these shirts depicting the “10 Rules for Dating my Daughter.” There are also a few other fun shirts in the same theme on our store.

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(Contents of “Rules” T-shirt protected under applicable copyright laws)

I’m pretty sure this is how Nike got started, but my goals are not quite as lofty. At first I made a few dozen shirts and gave a few away. Now I am selling them to whoever wants one. The cost is $19.95 per shirt (more for bigger sizes) Then add shipping & handling of course. It’s a heavy cotton shirt. No sheer, light gauge material for me. Real men wear heavy T-shirts!

 

If you want a shirt or two, visit our online store. Click the button below:

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This whole thing is funny to me!

Have Fun!

Alan Smyth

Check out our book desinged to help Dads

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PS: Below Stu Graff has already found a great use for his shirt. He pinned it to his front door while his daughter was out on a date.

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Liam Neeson Wisdom

Alan Smyth —  June 1, 2015 — 1 Comment

I love going to the movies. I have to say I am a little more “Jason Bourne” in my tastes than I am “Jean Valjean.”

Recently, I saw the movie Battleship, in which the young misfit hero, Hopper, was about to be kicked out of the Navy. As the plot unfolded, he became romantically involved with the daughter of the Admiral, who was played by Liam Neeson. As usual, Liam Neeson’s character was somewhat tough and intimidating. Hopper spent much of the movie looking for an opportunity to ask the Admiral permission to marry his daughter. Naturally, he was scared and hesitant throughout.

As it turned out, Hopper rose to the challenge to defeat an alien attack force that waged war and attempted to take over planet Earth. He showed incredible courage, wisdom, and strength in the process. He risked his own life in order to save mankind, and he accomplished “Hollywood level” success.

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When the movie was all but over, and Hopper had defeated the aliens, he finally had the chance to ask the Admiral for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Hopper approached the Admiral, told him that he loved his daughter, and requested permission to marry her. But the Admiral responded with an adamant, “No!”

Hopper replied, “But I just saved the world!”

The Admiral’s response is one of my new favorite movie lines of all time. I love his answer, because I resonated with his response. Liam Neeson’s character said to his frightened would-be son-in-law, “Saving the world is one thing, Mr. Hopper. My daughter is quite another.”

Yes! In other words, “That’s right, son. Thanks for saving the world and all, but that does not give you entrance into my daughter’s life. It’s not that easy. We are talking about my daughter here, and she is more precious to me than the entire world. You saved the world? It’s going to take a lot more than that! I am her sworn protector and defender. She is my treasure.”

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I like to think of the movie “Taken” as more of a Public Service Announcement than a movie. Of course they took lots of Hollywood liberties in making a fun movie, but the essence of it is true. There are bad guys, scum bags & predators out there wishing to do harm to young females. When the movie was in the theatre, I gave money to my daughter for her and her roommates to go see that movie. I needed her to be more aware of the harsh realities out in the big ugly world.

Taken1

I love Liam’s response to the French police chief when he is being asked to calm down. He said,

“I would tear down the Eifel tower if it meant finding my daughter!”

May we all have the focus, resolve and success in guarding and protecting our daughter as the movie characters played by Liam Neeson!

Press On

Alan Smyth

PS: Some of the above content is found in Chapter 1 of the book, Prized Possession.

 

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