How do I describe Brad? I don’t know how to and I mean that in a good way. We don’t get to talk that often because of both of our schedules and that little time difference between here and Australia, but when we do I always come away feeling encouraged and better about myself somehow. I don’t even think he realizes that there is a spirit of freedom that follows him around wherever he goes, he is who he is and he makes no excuses for it. That’s something I need to become more of. I respect him a lot, who he is, what he does and how he lives life. Please follow him on twitter at @bcrab or check out his blog.
A little girl was playing in a playground. The piece of equipment she chose to climb towered above her – a daunting behemoth of rope and metal that would test the will of even the most seasoned four year old. Reaching out, she grasped the rope and started pulling herself up. Hand over hand and focused on nothing else, she easily put distance between her and the ground. Upon reaching a difficult area, she stopped to evaluate her situation. As she looked around, she suddenly realised…this beast was much, much higher than she ever imagined. She also realised something else; she was afraid! Looking around, she tried to find someone who could help. The one person in the whole playground who could tame this savage monster and bring her back to safety: Dad!
After what seemed like an eternity, she finally found him. She looked into his eyes and was about to cry for help when something stopped her. Something wasn’t quite right. While she was in despair, he didn’t look upset. In fact, he didn’t look worried at all. He was smiling! And not just smiling, he was cheering! Her father was cheering for her. Was he crazy? Could he see the situation she was in?
As if to show him, the little girl turned back to the monolith that had trapped her but as she did, she noticed something she hadn’t seen before. If she moved her foot like this… then put her hand over here…well, this changes things. Looking back at her father, she saw the look on his face again. He always knew she could do it and wasn’t concerned at all. And now, neither was she.
On she climbed. Over the top and down again. Surely no other kids had done this! As she reached the end, she felt the arms of her father lifting her up and spinning her in the air. She felt the warmth of his breath against her and heard him cheer and shout and tell everyone in the park what she had done. That she had done it. All by herself! He was proud of her and she never stopped smiling as she climbed it again!”
As a parent, I’ve come to realise there are many things that our kids need from us (healthy food, clean clothes and a warm bed would certainly top the list) but there is one thing that will serve them much greater than almost anything else. One thing that is very easily forgotten in the rush of life and routine but is, in my opinion, just as essential as food and shelter. As a father, it is my one driving objective.
I’m talking about identity. Their identity. A confidence in who they are and what they can achieve.
If I can leave my kids with nothing else, I want them to believe that they are powerful beings; capable of anything they set their minds to. They are smarter and stronger than they realise and they have the most powerful force in the universe in their corner: their father!
My little girl still climbs over things that tower above her, as do her brothers and sister. Some days carry more confidence than others, but isn’t that just like life? We face the world with what we have and borrow the strength we need from those around us.
Until my kids have confidence in their own power, I’m more than happy for them borrow mine.