I want to start by saying I have received multiple commendations for my performance as a dad. And notably, they have increased in their level of significance as the years have gone by.
First, I received a cup from my kids/wife as the #1 Dad. This was pretty neat. They valued me as the #1 Dad, but you know, they only have one dad anyway, so… It was a nice gesture
Then, I received a cup that said, World’s Greatest Dad. The significance of this accomplishment cannot be overstated. Out of all of the dads in the world, I was the greatest. The competition, is stiff, if only due to the sheer numbers of other dads out there.
But recently, I received the cup that closes the door on all other competitors.
Best. Dad. Ever.
There is no other cup after that. Of all the dads, in all the families, in all of the world, for all time. I am, according to the cup I received, The Best.
*It should be noted, that I do not actually believe this*
A few years ago, I ran into a man, who was most certainly NOT going to challenge me for one of my cups. I had the opportunity to attend an assistant coaching symposium, that was billed as an opportunity for assistant coaches to hone their craft, and to learn some things to continue to advance in the profession. They had meet and greats, small group discussions, large lectures, and breakout sessions where you could go and listen to long time, “big-time” assistants discuss various issues.
One of the coaches I went and listened to had been a lifelong assistant who was, at the time, working in the Midwest at a Division I program, and his wife and children, having grown tired of moving from state to state as he chased his coaching dreams, had stayed back somewhere on the East Coast.
I can’t remember the lesson he was trying to convey, other than to say that I felt like he was boasting when he told this story. He seemed proud of it, and when he hit the end, some people laughed.
I did not.
So he told this story about how his young son, who I think was in middle school, asked him when he was going to come home. He wanted to know why his dad wasn’t there with him and his mom, he wanted to know why he wasn’t around. The son wanted the Dad to be there, and it sounded like, maybe he was hounding his dad about it.
And the Dad’s response, the one that he seemed so proud of, was,
“And finally I asked him,
Dad: “You like that Playstation in your room?”
Son: “Yes sir”
Dad: “Okay. You like that new bike you got for Christmas?”
Son: “Yes sir”
Dad: “You like all them Jordan’s (shoes) you got in your closet”
Son: “Yes sir”
Dad: “Alright then”
There is a chance I am not intelligent enough to understand his joke, because, without question, it was told like a joke. So I tried to figure it out.
“HAHAHA, he told his kid that he can’t be in his life, so instead he is buying him nice shoes”
“Ohhhh, yeah, he chose to pursue ANOTHER assistant coaching job at a Division I school hundreds of miles away from his family. HAHAHA”
I couldn’t make anything stick. It just wasn’t funny.
Maybe I’m more judgmental than I should be towards this coach I heard. I don’t know that I have a big problem with him feeling like he needed to be away from his family for work, for a stretch of time. But it sounds like his roots were centered around things first and people second.
His son was reaching for relationship and he handed him some Jordans and a Playstation.
I understand that money has to be made, and that families have to be supported. I’m not making light of the fact that sometimes we have to make sacrifices in order to make ends meet, or to support our families. I also understand, and believe wholeheartedly, that there are seasons of our lives where we ask those that we love the most to make sacrifices so that we can pursue our dreams, or chase something we are passionate about. Those sacrifices may be financial in nature, or they may mean that we see less of our families from time to time, as we work on something meaningful or necessary.
However, Jordan’s aren’t a meaningful and necessary reason for sacrifice. And they certainly shouldn’t be the currency by which we interact with our sons and daughters, nor our husbands and wives.
I’ve been working on this concept of the importance of being deeply rooted in the things that matter most to us.
For me, those things are my faith, my family, my relationships, and the person that I hope to be/become.
So while I pursue, and dream, and work to achieve (things that are important to me), I try to always reference my roots, and make sure that, 1) I’m not straying too far from those things that I’ve said are important to me, and/or 2) That when I do need to make a sacrifice, or ask others to make a sacrifice, that I’ve been consistent enough with my roots that I can afford to do that, and that while I make that sacrifice, or “step away” for a period, that I do so without neglecting my roots.
Without determining and developing those things that you are deeply rooted in, it’s easy to neglect, create gaps in, and separate yourself from the things that really matter in this life.