Archives For Alan Smyth

Chuck E Cheese & Tears

Alan Smyth —  December 7, 2015 — 4 Comments

Sharon and I just returned from a special lunch in South Central LA. On my way to South Central, I had no idea what this week’s blog was going to be about. After my special lunch at Chuck E Cheese, I had my answer.chuck e cheese3 years ago, we came into relationship with a young teen mom. When her daughter was an infant, we “adopted” her on behalf of our life group at church. That meant we celebrated her birthday, gathered supplies from friends and delivered them to her now and then. As time went on, our relationship grew. Sadly two years ago, we discovered she was pregnant again with a different dad. This broke our heart, but of course did not prevent us from surrounding her with love and support.

At 18, our adopted teen mom now had two kids, no H.S. education, no family to help, welfare dependence, immature and non-existent Baby-Daddy’s, a drug addicted mom and no visible way out of this downward self-perpetuating cycle. When baby #2, was an infant, she approached Sharon and I and asked us if we would be her God Parents. When I asked her why she wanted us to do this, she said that “If something ever happened to me, there is no one else in my life that I can trust with my kids.” So, we agreed to be the God parents of her kids, but we really see our increased role as parent figures to our teen mom as well.

Sharon and I do the best we can to provide guidance and a bit of tangible help. Today we took them all to a Chuck E Cheese for lunch and games. This is a completely unattainable “luxury” for them as she lacks the necessary transportation and money to pull it off. We spent $40 on tokens and exchanged them for $4 worth of trinkets (not a bad business model). It was our pleasure. However, I found myself fighting back tears most of the time.

My tears were connected to just how hard our teen mom’s life is. Her circumstances which she was born into, sent her down a tragic path. Of course she has made some unfortunate choices along the way, but she has had ZERO positive influence, support and role models in her life. She has been mistreated, neglected and even abused. It’s a wonder she is doing as well as she is!

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I had a brief moment with her at lunch while Sharon was chasing both girls. I looked her in the eye and told her I wanted to say something to her. She got a serious look on her face and listened. I told her that she was a precious masterpiece that God had created. I told her that there have been and will continue to be guys hanging around who don’t value her like that. I told her she was valuable and deserved the very best. I urged her NOT to settle for any guy who was not ready, willing and able to treat her as such. She had a huge smile on her face, nodded her head and in a quiet voice said, “OK.” I then said, “Don’t forget this.” She shook her head.

I am more aware than ever of the important voice we as men have in the lives of younger girls. I am not her biological dad, but I am her functional one. You too have important relationships with young girls who are not your own. You may have a niece, daughter in law, granddaughter, neighbor or friend. You can bless them with strong words of affirmation. Please don’t withhold the blessing you have to others just because you are not blood related.

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Alan Smyth

“Like” this project on Facebook at Myfatherdaughter.com for lots of pictures and conversation around this fun topic.

 

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Don’t Screw it up!

Alan Smyth —  November 9, 2015 — 2 Comments
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In case you could not view this video above, copy this link below into your browser:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyqBTHk6pBk

This video has been flying around facebook lately. In case you haven’t seen it yet, take a quick look now.

I don’t know this Dad, but I love this guy!  I love any Dad who speaks honestly and directly to his daughter’s boyfriends…. Husbands. Before he communicated his final word in concise, succinct, unmistakable clarity, he acknowledged two key things.

1.      He acknowledged that he and God were partners in how his daughter turned out. Are you consulting God’s wisdom, heart and vision for your daughter? If you are relying only on your own ability and input, your daughter will be cheated out of God’s best for her life.

2.      He spoke of the great journey it has been in raising her. You will have many ups and downs in raising your kids. Developing your child into a fully functioning, flourishing adult is a marathon, not a sprint. Relax about the day to day struggles and focus on the big picture finish line.

Then came the final statement in this video which resonates with every dad in the world that has ever lived throughout all time. All of us have thought of the day when we will be giving our daughters away at the altar. Many of us have teared up during movies like “Father of the Bride” as we anticipated that moment when some other dude becomes the number 1 man in our daughter’s life. While we all hope and even pray for a great young man to come into our daughter’s life, we simultaneously dread it as well.

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The Dad in this video said to his would be son in law what we all think and what we all want to say. “Don’t Screw it Up!” As if to say, “Don’t be stupid, don’t be selfish, don’t look elsewhere, be smart with money, take care of my little girl, etc etc”

Guys who are reading this blog. You have one shot at this life and one shot at raising a great daughter. It’s really not all that hard to do the right thing most of the time. You and God are partnering on an incredible project known as your daughter.

So, in the words of the Dad in this video….

DON’T SCREW IT UP!

Press On

Alan Smyth

PS: The picture of the Dad and bride above is Gary Parsons walking his spectucular daughter Katie down the isle. This picture as well as Gary’s input on how to be a great Dad is featured in the  book “Prized Possession.”

PSS: For lots of practical tools on how to NOT “screw it up”, search the archives of this blog. Read the past posts. There is already plenty of great input on this blog.

PSSS: Subscribe to this blog at www.myfatherdaughter.com

 

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Last Monday, I shared part 1 of an amazing experience that my friend Jamie Hanson had in Africa. In case you missed last Monday’s blog, please CLICK HERE to catch yourself up!

As promised, today is part 2 and the conclusion of the incredible promise he made to his daughter. Jamie took his daughter to Africa on a work trip and eventually gave his daughter a promise ring and made a dramatic promise to go along with it while looking at a beautiful African sunset. Read on and learn from a great Dad.

From Jamie: While I loved the idea of a purity ring the more I thought about the idea
the more the burden of fathering her through these next few years (13-18) began to grow on me.   I am convinced the most important earthly relationship she will have and that will shape every part of her is with me.  So instead of making the ring about a purity decision for her (although I did tell her I would like her to make this commitment) I made the ring a promise ring. Promises that I am making to her about the kind of father I intend and promise to be to her.

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Emma,

You are my precious daughter and a gift from God, uniquely and wonderfully made, perfect in every way.  I am honored to be your Dad!

You are incredibly beautiful, smart, funny, soft-hearted, and gifted in so many ways.

I promise to always pray for you, protect you, to be present, in the good and bad, and love you for who you are.

As your father I promise to be an example of who a Godly man is, to lead you and our family by first listening to God.  To lead with integrity, passion, adventure, service, and being generous with all God has provided.

Emma, you are my princess and I will ALWAYS carry you in my heart, for my entire life.

Love,

Daddy

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Dad’s, this is a GREAT example of being intentional about loving your daughter and creating a lifelong memory that will shape her forever. Why not steal this idea and make an important promise to your daughter? Why not give her an important ring with significance? Why not take her some place dramatic and pledge your love and support to her? It will be a game changer for her.

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Doing these things can ONLY BE GREAT and have a GREAT outcome.

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Do this! Make it your own! Change the actual promise, change the location, change the ring. As the great NIKE advertising campaign said…. “just do it”

Thanks for sharing this with us Jamie

Press on

Alan

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Today is PART 1 of a two part guest blogging post by a good friend who is also a great Dad. Read about his amazing experience and look for the amazing conclusion next week.

My name is Jamie Hanson, father of 4 kids two of which are beautiful daughters (Emma 13, and Lanni
9).  Ever since Emma turned 12 I knew I wanted to do something special for her 13th birthday, something that would signify her transition from girlhood to womanhood….and my part in that transition. I knew I had a work trip to Africa in July so my wife and I decided last fall that Emma would join me on the trip.  (I am a Development Director for International www.younglife.org, if you were asking ‘who plans work trips to Africa?’).  We left a day after she turned 13 in late June.

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We started our trip by doing work crew together in Ethiopia at a Young Life camp outside of Addis Ababa.  We served kids food, cleaned up afterward, helped  run games, and sat in the middle of a 400 kid Young Life club. It was awesome  and we were blown away.  We then went to Tanzania where Emma got to see
her Dad ‘work’ and she did it right alongside me.  This is where I was blown away.  I saw my little girl sit at banquet tables of adults and have an opinion, I watched her shake hands and start conversations. I saw her take a big step into womanhood…it was awesome!

We then took this same group of adults and spent three days in a Massia village six hours out into the Africa bush where we have Young Life.  Emma watched a goat get slaughtered in our honor, she sat in a mud hut and held babies with flies in their eyes and tears in hers.  Her heart was growing before my eyes.  Lastly, we did a 3 day  safari to end our trip together.  I had pre-planned this portion of the trip but was not prepared for how nervous I was.  I had bought and planned to give Emma a promise/purity ring on this trip.  It was the second to  last day of our 3 week trip and the safari camp we were at sat on top of a hill  that offered the most brilliant and beautiful sunset I have ever seen.

I   had written some promises from me to her on the kind of Dad I ‘promised to be’.  As the sun was setting I took her on a walk and we shared one of the most special  moments of my life together.  I read the promises and gave her the ring. Beat that future fiancée!!!  (setting the bar as high as I could for her
future suitor was a secret agenda item 🙂

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While the adventures we had were incredible and we will have inside jokes and  stories that last a lifetime, the best part of the trip for us both will simply  be spending uninterrupted time together.  You may not be able to take your  daughter to Africa (if you can, do it!), but why not just take her camping, or
on a hike, or shopping.  Being with her is the memory that will last for me, not the place.

Jamie Hanson

Part two of this amazing story will be next Monday. You will see the incredible “Promise” that Jamie gave to his daughter.

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I never met Fred Evans, but I wish I had. I recently learned of his courageous actions and now you will too!

Fred got a bad Doctors report regarding a terminal melanoma. Fred had two single daughters and wanted to give them a memory of a life time.  He had the idea that he wanted to walk them down the aisle, give them a blessing and create a memory that would outlive him. He told his daughters to meet him at the church but arrive 45 minutes apart.

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After a few quiet moments with each daughter, he then walked them down the aisle in front of a few friends and family.

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Upon reaching the alter, he gave them a blessing and they shared a sacred moment. He gave them away to the son in law he hadn’t yet met. Everyone there knew that Fred would not be present at his daughter’s wedding. This was a powerful moment!

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Fred was not going to miss the momentous occasion of walking his daughters down the aisle. And we was not going to leave that void in his daughters life.

After this amazing event happened, he then surprised his wife as they renewed their vows in this makeshift wedding ceremony.

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Not long after this incredible ceremony, Fred lost his battle. However, his loved one’s were given an incredible gift they will never forget.

If you are brave and have a couple minutes. Watch the video of this ceremony. CLICK HERE to watch this video. Don’t miss this!

Ok, let me hit the slow pitch soft ball. I’m sure if Fred were here, he would say something like this:  “Live your life as if it’s going to end soon….. Because it just might.” If you were to get a similar Doctors report as Fred’s, would you have lots of regrets? Sad, shocked and upset for sure. But would there be a ton of unfinished business with your loved ones? Would your kids know for sure how much you loved them? Every now and then we are forced to reckon with our mortality. Take a little inventory. This is one of those times. Let’s pretend you just found out you have 3 months to live. What would you do? Who would you spend time with? What would you want to say to those you love?

Ok, one more slow pitch softball…. Now go do and say those things. And let’s pray that Doctor’s report never comes. Then you are a double winner! 

Go For It!

Alan

PS: Pick up our book and some fun gear by hitting the links below!

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A Voice That Carries

Alan Smyth —  September 22, 2015 — Leave a comment

I was recently contacted by a phenominal group of women who are working on what looks to be an amazing project. The content matter immediately resonates with us at MyFatherDaughter and our audience. For that reason, they asked if I would mind helping them promote their project and the documentary they are working on. I have seen the trailer and this looks to be a very worthy project. Please read on and go to their website to learn even more. Thank you – Alan

 

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As a group of women who treat individuals who struggle with body image and disordered eating, we wanted to make a difference. As mothers, we wanted to make an impact on the world for our daughters and for all girls, helping them to grow up in a world where they could feel good about themselves and how they looked.

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Much of the research on healthy body image development focuses on the importance of the mother and daughter relationship. Most of us have heard how important it is for moms to be a good role model about appearance by trying to not make negative comments about their own appearance and being a healthy role model. As professionals, we had frequently shared the importance of this relationship in our own outreach programs ad presentations.

        But, what about dads?

As treatment professionals, we realized that the value of the father and daughter relationship is often overlooked. As we researched, we found countless studies showing the great importance and impact the father daughter relationship can have. We recognized that fathers’ truly can make an amazing positive impact in their daughter’s life that can protect them from the countless media messages they will receive that will tell them they need to look a certain way or that they don’t look good enough. Father’s play a great role in their daughter’s sense of self and body image.

But, many dads may not have this awareness and those that do may not know how best to act.

We also knew there were many amazing stories out there about father’s making a positive impact on their daughter’s life and body image. Kelly Flanagan, who is featured on our teasers, wrote a letter to his daughter about the multiple messages she will receive about beauty and appearance. In his letter, he wrote about challenging these messages and being true to her self. The letter went viral.

We knew these stories had to be shared. We knew that fathers needed to be made aware of the amazing impact they can have on their daughters

This was the impetus for our desire to create the documentary “A Voice That Carries.” Through stories from fathers and daughters, our documentary hopes to show every father and father figure, the important role they play in their daughter’s life and how they can help foster a positive body image. Our goal is to provide education and inspire others to take positive action. We hope that this film sparks a movement to provide greater awareness of the important role a father plays.

We are beyond excited and honored to have Brett Culp, an award-winning filmmaker of Legends of the Knight, as our filmmaker for this project. His vision and story telling ability will help share these stories in a powerful manner.

Now, all we need is your support and your stories. If you have a story you would like to share, we would love to hear from you. Please visit our website at www.avoicethatcarries.com or follow us on twitter: https://twitter.com/avoice_carries

For more information on our campaign, please go to

http://igg.me/at/avoicethatcarries

 

Thank you very much!

Heidi Limbrunner