juxtaposition
— noun

“an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.”

This past weekend I experienced a dramatic example of a “Juxtaposition”. Two “side by side” experiences which demonstrated a stark contrast.

I ran into “Monica” and she offered that she was 50 years old. The topic of conversation was the “Father / Daughter” relationship. She picked up my book, “Prized Possession” and began to tear up. She then volunteered that “my Dad didn’t love me” and talked further about how wounded she was because of it. We spoke about the seminar that Kristy Fox and I have developed aimed at helping Dads be better Dads.

With a distant and hollow stare and tears in her eyes, she said “Do you ever ask Dads why they don’t step up? Why it’s so hard for them to love their daughters?”  It was clear to me that Monica was hurt and wounded. It was clear to me that at 50, she had not yet recovered from the neglect she had experienced from her Dad. She let me know that she was unemployed. I tried to give her a copy of the book, but she wouldn’t or couldn’t accept it.

Here is the Juxtaposition….

After she left, I opened up my Instagram app and as I scrolled down through the pictures, I saw the following post from Hannah. Hannah is the daughter of my good friend Stu (whom I featured in a recent blog) CLICK HERE to read about Stu & Hannah.

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Clearly Stu has been the kind of Dad that Monica wished she had. Clearly Hannah is off to the start that Monica never got, yet deserved.

Here is my point ….

Are you aware that your actions and involvement with your daughter today will last her whole lifetime? She will either coast through life off the blessing you give her or she will struggle through life trying to heal from the wound you leave her.

If you are more like Stu, great job! Way to go! Keep it up!
If you are more like Monica’s Dad, busy, distracted and selfish…. Wake up! Take your eyes off yourself, re engage in your family!

It’s important…. Really, really important for the girls in your life.

Engage Maverick!

Alan

 

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Phil Withdraws!

Alan Smyth —  July 16, 2017 — Leave a comment

By any measure, Phil Mickelson is one of the all-time great golfers. AND, of his five “majors” that he has won, the U.S. Open is the only one left to win. That is why the recent breaking news of Phil pulling out of this past U.S. Open is such a big deal.

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Check out Phil’s Wikipedia page and marvel at his golf accolades…. His 42 PGA victories puts him in rarified air for sure.

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Among his 5 major victories, he has won the Masters three times!

** FOR USE AS DESIRED, PHOTOS OF THE DECADE ** FILE - Phil Mickelson celebrates after winning the Masters golf tournament with a nine-under-par at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., in this April 11, 2004 file photo. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

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Only 8 other men have won more tour events than Phil. This is what he does and he is very good at it. He is in 8th place all time for “Major” wins yet the U.S. Open has eluded him thus far. As he is getting older, one has to wonder why he would withdraw from this important tournament?  Why would he not show up for work that day? Why would he pull a “no show?” How many more opportunities will he have to win a major and especially the coveted U.S. Open?

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One thing that Phil has always stood for is his family. I don’t know the man personally, but he has always projected a strong love for his wife and kids. It is refreshing to see a high-profile athlete with such an obvious love and attention to this family.

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The answer to the riddle of why he pulled out of this year’s U.S. Open is simple…. His family comes first. His daughter’s High School graduation conflicted with his tournament tee time. He chose his daughter over his job that day. He said “no” to a possible huge pay day in favor of his daughter.  He gave up making memories for himself in favor of making memories with his daughter. He gave up the spotlight on himself and placed it on his daughter.

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I’m not sure how difficult of a decision this was for Phil, but I’m guessing not very. I’m guessing this was pretty much a “no brainer.” And that makes me a fan of Phil Mickelson! Thanks Phil for teaching the rest of us what it looks like to value family over career!

Question: When was the last time you have sacrificed something big for the sake of your family? Has your daughter seen you place her needs above your needs lately?

What is your “U.S. OPEN” that you need to walk away from in order to demonstrate your love, commitment and presence in your daughter’s life?

Let’s wrestle with that for a little while….

Press On!

Alan

 

 

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Real Talk

Alan Smyth —  May 22, 2017 — Leave a comment

In our book Prized Possession, we compiled a number of voices to form one strong message. We hear from Dad’s who have done it well and Daughters who have been loved well from great Dad’s. They both have a great perspective to learn from. Additionally, in between each chapter we insert a few nuggets entitled “Real Talk.” In our “Real Talk” segments, we hear from a variety of young women who vulnerably share a brief thought from their perspective.

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Between chapter 2 and chapter 3, we find this section of “Real Talk”

Real Talk

“As society and culture takes its toll on girls today, girls begin to lose a sense of their own value. It’s a painful loss and often leads to a search for painkillers. Alcohol and drugs are often used to numb the pain. Girls compromise their God-given value to meet the expectations of boys who can’t possibly understand the beautiful treasures God has created them to be. “If I only give my boyfriend what he wants,” they think, “then I’ll matter. I’ll be something, I’ll belong.” The problem is, such a pattern reduces a girl to her ability to perform and her willingness to have sex. Such a degradation of her identity will act as a huge wall against her understanding of who God has created her to be and the value He, as her Father, has placed on her life.”

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Here is what I heard from the young lady who shared her “Real Talk.”

  • It’s hard being a girl
  • Girls are de-valued
  • There is pain we seek to numb
  • We compromise for the sake of a boy’s approval
  • I want to matter and belong
  • We are reduced to our performance
  • Our understanding of who God made us to be is under attack

 A pretty strong message indeed. As Dad’s, we need to not only be aware of how many of our girls think in this regard, but we need to be willing to have a strong counter cultural message  against these lies. We are in a battle every day for the wholeness of our kids. Dads are needed to be present and engaged more than ever.

We would love to send you a copy of our book. It has all kinds of inspiring and equipping messages from a variety of voices. You can pick it up from our website. CLICK HERE.

Stay at it Guys!

Alan

 

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In the summer of 1991 I might have received the most powerful bit of advice I have ever had. As a Young Life leader, I have taken kids to dozens of Young Life camps. Among all the fun, adventure and humor resides a powerful Gospel proclamation. We usher kids into significant life altering conversations.

1991 was a year that I took kids from Gunderson High School in San Jose to camp. We had a bus full of high school kids ready to have the best week of their life. As the first “club” meeting concluded on the first night, the camp speaker asked a series of questions. Among the questions were those regarding families. One of the questions was “what is something you wish you could change about your family?” Every single girl from the club I led answered the same. They said that their relationship with their dad was the thing they most wish they could change.

I was blown away. My own daughter was only 3 at the time and I couldn’t imagine not having a great relationship with her. I couldn’t imagine not being connected and in relationship with her when she was in high school. At the end of the week, I was determined to get more information. I knew these girls pretty well and so I gathered them together on the bus ride home. I started drilling them with all kinds of questions about their relationship with their dad. I told them that I wanted to make sure that in 15 years, I would have a great relationship with my Brittany. I needed to know what I should do and not do.

These girls said that I needed to stay engaged with her. They encouraged me to stay close no matter what. They were honest in saying that they were brats at times and sometimes pushed their dad’s away. However, they said even if Brittany pushes me away, DON’T GIVE UP! Keep pushing. Stay close even if she is a brat. They told me that even if my daughter said otherwise, that she needed me and will need me even more as she grew older.

That was all I needed to fuel the next 15 years in my relationship with my daughter. I was determined to start while she was young and stay close throughout her adolescence. No matter what…… I was not giving up.

Today’s take away: Don’t give up! Start now; stay close, even if she pushes you away. Or perhaps has already pushed you away. Maybe you have already considered yourself OUT. Forget it! Get back in the game. Get close to your daughter. Start small if you have too. Don’t give up!

See our website: www.myfatherdaughter.com for helpful resources and to subscribe to this blog.

Don’t give up!

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 from all over the world. 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

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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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Marches & Royalty

Alan Smyth —  January 22, 2017 — 4 Comments

This past Saturday I was surprised and saddened by all that I saw. I was somewhat aware that there was a women’s march being organized. However, I had no idea the scope of what was about to unfold. I had no idea how many were gathering in so many cities across our land. I heard one estimate that there could have been as many as 4 million participating around the country.

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I don’t pretend to fully understand all the emotions that were bursting out everywhere. I have lived my entire life through the male view finder. While living the past 32 years along side my wife and the last 28 years along side my daughter, I am still hopelessly male and therefore unable to see and feel all that is out there to be seen and felt.  Certainly the recent remarks on the record from our new President are brutal, degrading and unacceptable. However, I get the sense there is much more going on here.

It is obvious how women are viewed and depicted by some men and much of the entertainment and media industry. For those who are feeling this assault now, more than ever, I have a message for you. In no way do I attempt to minimize or over simplify the pain you feel over the objectification you have endured. I simply offer some hope to cling to in the midst of the storm you find yourself in.

My message to you: YOU ARE ROYALTY

Keep calm

 

Let me say it again…… YOU ARE ROYALTY

Here in America, we don’t fully understand what that means. In the UK, the Royal family has a long tradition of being a big deal. When a Royal shows up, people stop, bow and take pictures. A band starts playing and media shows up. Forget it if one of them gets married. The entire country stops, if not the entire world. They are a symbol of strength, power, position, nobility and class. Did you know that these words are what describes YOU?

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What? Is this not how you feel? Is this not how you are treated? Facts & feelings are often different. Let me share with you the facts of the matter.

  1. The God of the universe is referred to as King and His creation is His Kingdom.
  2. In scripture, Jesus has been known to refer to women as “daughter.”
  3. In the monarchy, what is a daughter of the King called…..?

What? The sleeping beauty, song singing, Disney style Princess not your jam? How about the Warrior Princess, light saber wielding, fighting for whats right, saving the universe kind of princess? Pick whatever image you resonate with….. The important thing is that you understand your place in God’s kingdom and in God’s heart. It’s a place of honor.

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YOU are royalty. An heir to the Kingdom! But it gets better. You are not a Princess (and eventual Queen) of an Island country in Europe. You are royalty to be celebrated in the universe for all time. It’s a big deal when you show up. You are a picture of class, power, position and nobility. When you show up, the angels pause. You are a big deal to God. He is crazy about you and your worth comes from Him. Value is always established by the maker. God is your maker and he says you are priceless, valuable and sacred. PERIOD!

If your value comes from God, no human can take it away. No words, songs, pictures or people can change your worth.

 

My challenge to you: Live like you know this is true and step into your rightful place in the universe.

I have spoken this message over and over to rooms full of adolescent girls. Without fail, eyes fill with tears because they have never heard that before and their soul is longing to be valued as it was created to be. I have also experienced that there is no expiration date on women needing to hear this. This message is never out grown. We all need to be reminded of our God given worth. And at this time in history, I feel there are millions of women of all ages who especially need this reminder today.

Live like you believe it and pay no attention to those who don’t also treat you that way! (Pay no attention in terms of gaining your self worth, value & purpose) I would still expect a bunch of strong women to rise up and demand better from men)

You are loved and valued

Alan

PS: Men please speak this message to your daughters and the women in your life.

 

 

 

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