"Each and every day, we have a choice. We have a choice to either love that person that's in front of us or not. It's the relationships that you build over the years that is the most important thing in life. It's the only real thing in life. Everything else is just an illusion." —Dr. James Wolf, father of two daughters
Reporting on The Today Show,
Can't see the video? Click here.
As The Today Show reports, on a Saturday in July, Rachel Wolf was preparing for the day she always dreamed of, with wedding gown, makeup, and guests.
But the wasn't like any other wedding. Gutierrez says, there was one thing missing: a groom.
Instead of a wedding day with the groom, this special day was about Rachel's dad, Dr. James Wolf. You see, Dr. Wolf is dying of pancreatic cancer. Doctors say he likely has three months or less to live.
So, Rachel came up with a plan to make sure he wouldn't miss her big day. Rachel decided to create and record her very own father/daughter dance. She picked the venue and the rest was donated.
"I just was flabbergasted," Dr. Wolf told TODAY in an interview on Monday.
If you watch the video above, you hear Dr. Wolf say, "There are a lot of things that I would've liked the girls to experience with me being there...and I'm not going to be there."
TODAY reports that just hours before the big moment, Dr. Wolf was in the hospital. Exhausted from the chemo, his wife, Jeanine helped get him ready for his big moment.
In the video, Jeanine says, "I don't know what to expect...I'm hoping that he's feeling well enough to be able to get that dance in."
He was well enough to attend. Watch the video, you will see Rachel's limo arrive and step out in a white dress. Watch as Dr. Wolf looks into the eyes with his little girl. "Hi honey...” he says, “You look gorgeous!"
"Thanks Daddy!" Rachel replies.
Can't see the video? Click here.
This is a great story that speaks to the bond between fathers and daughters.
As Gutierrez points out, "When it comes to making memories, why wait!"
What memories are you waiting to create?
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I didn’t cry at school this morning. Nope, I did great. But today is still not a normal Tuesday for me. As my wife and I dropped our firstborn at her class and turned away, there were no visible tears from me. I saved my tears for the drive to my office.
It was Darius Rucker who put me over the edge. You know, Country Darius not Hootie Darius. His song, “It Won't Be Like This For Long” made me think. It hasn't been long since we brought Bella home from the hospital. It hasn’t been long, looking back, when we were waking up at night and wishing she would sleep more than two hours at a time. It wasn’t long ago I picked her up and tossed her in the air with ease.
Time sure flies and as a dad to a daughter who started school this morning, some of my thoughts are as follows:
1) How will we deal with the increased expenses of school?
2) How will we manage busier schedules and still create time for fun and travel?
3) Will bears steal my daughter and try to raise her as one of their own because she’s so sweet and cuddly?
3a) Perhaps bears trying to raise my daughter wouldn’t be all that bad. If they are bears that love sweet and cuddly five-year-olds, perhaps they are like a group of real-life Pooh bears and we’ll love them as we do our daughter. They can live with us and we can all enjoy eating honey together….
These are some of my thoughts. I told you; it’s not my normal Tuesday.
So being stolen by a family of kind-and-gentle bears isn’t the most accurate worry as a parent. Besides, bears are probably more apt to steal children in the Shenandoah’s, not closer to metro-Washington, right?! I will Google “bear attacks in greater DC area” later. For now, know that my biggest fear as my daughter starts school is that others will influence her.
See, I have one of those good daughters. She’s sweet, really, she is. She’s kind too. She’s not like your daughter. I have been at parties and Chuck E. Cheese’s with your daughters (and sons) – they aren’t as awesome as my daughter! ; )
Aside from if she’s sleepy or hungry, she listens to her parents. She is a good big sister too. She considers her sister. Just yesterday (at Chuck E. Cheese’s, where else?) she “won” enough tickets to get two packages of Smarties. What did she do with the extra pack? Yep, she shared with her sister. I didn’t have to tell her and her sister didn’t even have to ask.
Bell had other tickets; what did she do with those? She picked an extra set of glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth. Yes, an extra set. You see, Bell has carried around glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth for some time (she may be running around the school with them right now!); but her little sister hasn’t had a set. After yesterday, all that changed. It was Bella’s idea to take the seven million tickets and pick a set of vampire teeth for her little sister. I haven’t seen a better example of sacrificial love in a long time.
I’m focusing on the wrong part of the story. My point is my firstborn is an awesome and considerate big sister and human being. Why? Because my wife and I have worked with her and molded her into this person. Over five years, we have created this machine/human being who says “thank you” and “may I” and “please.” This is no small accomplishment considering I rarely say these things.
But still, my biggest fear is other-lesser-well-meaning individuals will now influence her. Yeah, so maybe I can trust her teacher, but what about those other 20 rascals in her classroom? My wife and I are creating something here, and we don’t need others getting involved and messing it up!
Truth is, other kids will influence my daughter. She will learn to navigate her way through now unimaginable drama. One day her “best friend” will probably lie to her. One day she may be shunned by “the cool kids.” This will hurt her until one day she realizes that “being cool” only comes when you blog for a living and use social media to talk about them. I kid; but seriously, one thing is certain, while we at National Fatherhood Initiative teach about the impact of father absence, we also teach about the impact of involved fathers. We talk about how the lack of a father changes the lives of children and a society, but the truth is that active, involved and committed dads change families and societies too.
With all of our research on absent dads, we hold to the fact that parents are the number one influencers of their children. Did you hear that? Parents are the number one influence on children, not mean girls or sweet boys.
We know that children whose fathers are stable and involved are better off on almost every cognitive, social, and emotional measure researchers have developed. My biggest fear shouldn’t be the influence of fellow students and friends on my daughter. My biggest fear should be how I am influencing my daughter. There will definitely be a test. While I am nostalgic today, I know that this phase is flying by. My wife and I will keep “holding on” as the song says. We will keep hugging, kissing, loving and training our daughter. Because we know, as Country Darius sings, “it won’t be like this for long.”
What's the one thing you fear the most as a parent?
Nothing prepares you for fatherhood. When I say nothing, I mean nothing.
Read a book before having kids, have kids, and then let me know how it works out for you. You can learn all kinds of things about parenting before becoming a parent, but until you actually have kids, you don’t know what you don’t know.
I had no idea what was coming my way when each of the two beautiful princesses you see in this image came into my life.
I speaketh from experience. I’ve been a dad for five years. Five years! Actually, I’ve been a dad for seven years cumulatively. But who’s counting? I can’t believe it. My, oh my, where does the time go?
With all my seven years of cumulative parenting comes experience. I know things I never knew I would ever know. Dads, you know what I’m talking about. Some things can’t be un-learned. For example, tossing your first-born daughter in the air repeatedly after she’s ingested large quantities of popcorn and milk isn’t the best idea ever. I’ll save the discussion of projectile vomiting for future posts. For now, know that popcorn/milk/tossing-your-kid-in-the-air is likened to the Mentos and soda experiment – results do not vary.
Speaking of daughters, I am blessed with two daughters, ages five and two. They are the most precious things in my life (in addition to my wife, of course). They make my life difficult, fun, interesting, and sometimes annoying -- but always better.
You will hear more than you ever wanted to know about each of them in the coming posts. The above image was taken on Father’s Day last year. I was new to Washington, DC and new to baseball actually. I’m pretty sure it was my daughters who told me the “Washington Nationals are the best team ever.” So, last Father’s Day I got to see the “greatest baseball team ever” play baseball and did so with the two cuties pictured above.
The above photo is a metaphor for my role at NFI. Stay with me here. I promise to be genuine with this platform, less stock-parenting photos and more realness. If you notice, I’m smiling in the picture. That’s because most days, I smile. But also notice this image isn’t perfectly done in a studio, because parenting isn’t done in a studio under perfect lighting with a team of directors all working to get your kids facing the camera (On second thought, a team of directors would've been helpful for this image, but I digress.).
Before joining NFI, I was in leadership at churches in Tennessee and Virginia. Born and raised in Tennessee, for several years after undergrad I was a writer and editor for a large publisher in Nashville. Most recently, I served in communications as a writer at Prison Fellowship Ministries (PFM). I hold a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Divinity. I had the privilege of studying under Charles Colson for a 13-month fellowship called the Centurions Program. Through Chuck, I experienced living proof that individuals can shape culture.
Writing at PFM, I learned the impact of incarceration on families and communities. Knowing 1 in every 31 adults in America is under correctional control changes why you wake up in the morning. Knowing most of the people behind bars either had an incarcerated father or are fathers themselves should change our actions and commitments. More than ever, I understand we must educate and enlist fathers to be dads – not only in prisons – but all around us. As fatherhood goes, so goes society, for good or bad.
I’m excited to be on the NFI team, contributing to and stirring the fatherhood conversation. I’ve been a father long enough to learn a thing or two – long enough to make a few mistakes and do a few things correctly.
Looking at the above image, I can’t believe a full year has passed since last Father’s Day. Time really does fly; we’re all busy with our daily routines. But I’m excited in hopes of connecting with other dads who are sharing the same pressures, worries and all things in between. I’m learning about fatherhood as I go; let’s learn from each other – especially from our mistakes! Stay tuned for my mistakes; I’ll be sure to write about them. I may also throw in a victory or two now and then.
Connect with me on Twitter. I promise I’ll reply to all tweets.
This is a guest blog post by best-selling author Brad Meltzer on his just-released book,
Heroes for My Daughter.
I was sleeping. Soundly. And then my pregnant wife shook me awake.
I think the babys coming, she told me.
It was four in the morning.
Go back to bed, I pleaded. Its too early.
God bless my wife, she actually tried to go back to bed.
But my little unborn daughter had her own ideas.
Believe me when I say, that wouldnt be the last time.
At the hospital, the instant I saw my daughter for the first time, my heart doubled in size. My own mother told me at the time, Now youll understand how I love you.
After giving us a few moments with her, the nurses did their usual weighing and measuring, and then said they wanted to whisk her off for her first bath.
Im coming with you, I told them, determined to protect her.
They smiled that smile they save for new parents and reassured me, Shell be fine. We have her.
But as I looked down at my beautiful, teeny, amazing daughter
No way was I ever letting her out of my sight. Thankfully, the nurses put up with me, and let me pretend I was some old parental veteran as I helped give my daughter her first bath. Later, as I sat there, rocking in the rocking chair they gave me and holding her close, I still remember all the dreams I was dreaming for her.
I didnt want just one thing for my daughter. I wanted everything. If she needed strength, I wanted her to be strong. If she saw someone hurting, I wanted her to find the compassion to help. If there was a problem, big or small, that no one could solve, I wanted her to have every available skill - ingenuity, empathy, creativity, perseverance - so she could attack that problem in a way that no one else on this entire planet had ever fathomed. And that would be her greatest gift: That no one - and I mean no one - would ever be exactly like my Lila.
I still believe that. I do. Im a mushy dad. And it was in those first moments of blind idealism and unbridled naïveté that I resolved to write a book for her.
Yes, Id been down this road before. I started a similar book on the night my son was born. The goal was to write this book over the course of my childrens lives - that Id fill it with all the advice they needed to be good people. I began that night:
1. Love God.
2. Help the kids who need it.
My plan was to add more ideas as she grew older, and eventually, on the day when I presented this book to her, shed realize I was indeed the greatest father of all time (I had a parade planned for myself as well).
Thankfully, during your first few years, I realized my cliché, self-important plan was just that. It hit me after thinking about my own life and after my friend Simon Sinek told me this amazing story about the Wright Brothers: Every time Orville and Wilbur Wright went out to fly their plane, they would bring extra materials for multiple crashes. That way, when they crashed, they could rebuild the plane and try again. Think of that for a moment: every time they went out - every time - they knew they were going to fail. But thats what they did: Crash and rebuild. Crash and rebuild. And thats why they finally took off.
I love that story. I wanted my daughter to hear that story. I wanted my sons to hear that story. I wanted everyone in this world to know that if you dream big
and work hard
and have a good side-order of stubbornness
you can do anything in this world.
Soon after, my new plan was born. I wouldnt give my kids a book of rules. Id give them a book of heroes. And in that, Id give them absolute proof that anything is possible.
Following birth order, I first wrote Heroes for My Son
, which was published two years ago. At the time, I was simultaneously writing the book for my daughter, and not just because my daughter kept coming up to my office and demanding, Wheres my book? (which she did). Over the past six years, as I began my collection of heroes, I always knew Id have to split them between a book for my sons and a book for my daughter.
For that reason, I worked hard to divide the heroes equally. My son got more male heroes; my daughter got more female (in the exact same ratio, down to the exact percentage, so thered be no arguing about which side was better).
Think Im nuts? Wait till you have more than one kid. Like Switzerland, my parental goal was to keep all parties neutral, so all my children would feel equal love, equal respect, equal life lessons. Am I insane? I have three kids. Of course Im insane. But (to steal my mothers phrase), for those three little blessings, Id saw off my own arm. And so, feeling like a 21st-century parent (so progressive I couldnt even see, much less acknowledge, gender differences), I began to write these two equal books filled with equally amazing heroes.
But heres the thing. Along the way, something happened.
When I handed in the manuscript for my daughters book, the editor came back with a surprising reply. She noticed that I kept overusing one word throughout the manuscript.
By her count, fourteen of the fifty profiles had the word fight or fighter in it.
As she pointed out, Some of them, like Abigail Adams, Winston Churchill, Hannah Senesh, Thurgood Marshall, were literally fighters, so of course the term should stay there. But I also used it with Audrey Hepburn, Helen Keller, Teddy Roosevelt, Nancy Brinker
even with Lisa Simpson and the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama! Even in the pacifist, I sought a fighter. And yes, that probably highlights my lack of descriptive ability. But it also raises a vital question.
After years of trying to keep this book for my daughter perfectly equal to the book for my sons - after years of trying to teach them the exact same lessons - why did I focus so intently on making sure that my daughter knew how to fight? Why did I keep using that word? Why, subconsciously or not, was that the lesson I kept coming back to?
Its not a complex answer. Part of its because Im still trying to protect her (even if I dont like to admit it). Indeed, when my daughter was three, and first learning to swim, she used to jump in the pool, sink down to the bottom, and then pop up and shout, with a huge grin on her face, Im okay! We used to laugh at it, especially as it became her personal catchphrase every time she went underwater: Im okay! Im okay! Im okay!
But looking back, why did Lila keep yelling, Im okay? Because someone (read: me) kept asking, Are you okay?
Yet the other part of the answer is because my dreams for my daughter today are different than the ones on the day she was born. Sure, I still want everything for her. I always will. But - and Im just being honest here - I do want my daughter to learn how to fight.
Its the dream that links every single hero I picked out. In this book for my daughter, every hero is a fighter. And as I tell my daughter, no matter what stage of life youre in, when you want something - no matter how impossible it seems - you need to fight for it. When you believe in something, fight for it. And when you see injustice, fight harder than youve ever fought before.
To see the results, I picked out the story of Marie Curie, who never stopped pushing science forward, even when she was dying from the radiation she was studying
or the Three Stooges (yes, laugh if you want), who were the first ones to make fun of Adolf Hitler onscreen, nearly two years before Pearl Harbor
or the story of Billie Jean King, who challenged (and beat!) the pig-headed man who told her that women were weaker than men.
Women are not weaker. It was perhaps the most important lesson in there. I needed my daughter to hear that: Women are not weaker. They are just as strong, just as resolute, just as creative, and are filled with just as much potential as any man. Yes, as her father, my instinct is to protect her (like that first day with the nurses). Other people will want to protect her too. But she needs to know that she is not a damsel in distress, waiting for some prince to rescue her. Forget the prince. With her brain and her resourcefulness, she can rescue herself. And when she has her doubts - as we all inevitably do - shed have this book, full of people who were wracked with just as much fear, but who also found the internal strength to overcome it.
From Amelia Earhart, to Teddy Roosevelt, to every person I picked, shed have the stories of women and men who were no different from any of us. We may lionize them and put them on pedestals. But never forget this: No one is born a hero. Every person I picked for my daughter had moments where they were scared and terrified. Like you. Like me. So how did they achieve what they achieved? Because whatever their dreams were, big or small - for their country, for their family, or even for themselves - they never stopped fighting for what they loved.
We all are who we are, until that moment when we strive for something greater.
Is that schmaltzy and naïve? I hope so. Because I wanted my daughter to learn those things too.
As for the most important hero in the book, yes, I included my wife. And my grandmother. But for me, the most vital hero is my mother, Teri Meltzer, who died from breast cancer three years ago. On the day my publisher was shutting down, and no one was there to take over my contract, I thought I was watching my career deteriorate. So I called my Mom and told her how scared I was. She told me, I'd love you if you were a garbage man. It wasn't anything she practiced. Those were just her honest feelings in that moment. And to this day, every day I sit down to write, I say those words to myself, soaking in the purity of my Mom's love. Id love you if you were a garbage man. My hero.
Yet for you, dear reader, the most important page in my daughters book is the last one, because it's blank. It says Your Heros Photo Here and Your Heros Story Here. And I promise you, you take a photo of your Mom, or Grandparent, or teacher, or a military member of your family, and you put their picture in there, and write one sentence of what they mean to you; that will be the most beautiful page in Heroes For My Daughter
. And the best present we can give all our children: the reminder that it is indeed ordinary people who change the world. Thats way stronger than any upper-cut.
Today, my gift is complete. Ive finished my daughters book. The book is my dream for her. And when my daughter has doubts, there is strength in the book. When shes ready to give up, theres motivation inside. And when she has questions, there are answers inside. But I hope, as every hero proves, the best answers will always come from whats within herself.Brad Meltzer is the #1 bestselling author of
The Inner Circle and the host of
Brad Meltzers Decoded on the History Channel.
Heroes For My Daughter will be published April 10th. This article originally appeared in
Spirit Magazine by Southwest Airlines.
Reality television is literally like a train wreck. On some shows, one can witness the worst in human behavior, yet people still watch faithfully. There have even been viewing parties held during some of the more popular programs, a fact that still baffles me to this day.
One such program I had the displeasure of watching was controversial TLC show Toddlers & Tiaras, which profiles child beauty pageant contestants and their families. Already in its fifth season since premiering in 2009, the show is popular for all the wrong reasons.
The mothers of the young pageant contestants all push their girls, some young as two, to emotional and physical limits. They parade the little girls around in makeup, big hairdos, and even bathing suits. In the few times Ive watched the show, Ive never seen a father be involved in the shenanigans. As a father of a daughter, it troubles me to see little girls be put through the rigors of a pageant. I wondered often if the fathers are in the lives of the girls and how they felt about seeing their child in that light.
Perhaps I have a narrow male perspective but there is something limiting in this preemie beauty pageant nonsense that suggests the only goals these mothers have for their little girls is a life of preening and primping. I dont see how a beauty pageant, especially at such young ages, promotes anything other than vanity. I would be appalled to watch the mother of my child force her to do something that adds such little value to her life.
Im not alone in this thinking, as recent news suggests that the trend of child pageants teeters close to indecency. In France, lawmakers have banned
child beauty pageants; this after a 10-year old girl was featured on the cover of Vogue Paris in attire not fit for a child. I dont know if such a ban could happen here but Im taking a stand for fathers who would rather see other ideals promoted in their little girls. Beauty and fashion are fine things to aspire towards, but what message does this ultimately send?
Just this week, the father of JonBenet Ramsey, the murdered beauty pageant contestant, came forward
this week and called the Toddlers & Tiaras show bizzare although he allowed his child to participate. Reading his story, John Ramsey showed serious regret in letting his daughter enter the contests. I am in no way suggesting that JonBenets participation in these events led to her passing. Instead, I am glad to see one father finally speak up against the practice.
I happen to think my daughter is beautiful and worthy of being a supermodel should she choose that life as she gets older. For now, she has a lot of growing up to do and Im in no rush to speed her down that path. Fathers, its ok to speak up for your little girls in cases like this. We have to protect our princesses any way we can.
Once a man takes on the important task of becoming a father, it suddenly stops being just about his life from that moment. You are now responsible for an entire person, even as they grow from infancy into adulthood. When a father is involved, responsible and committed, the bond established with your child is unbreakable. Sometimes in times of danger or emergency, a fathers automatic instinct is to protect. Most fathers I know who have good relationships with their children all share this innate trait.
of Erik Chappell, the Michigan attorney who leapt into action to save his two boys after a car bomb attack, inspired me to recall other tales of fathers who became knights in shining armor for their children.
In 2010, David Anderson
and his daughter Bridget, just two at the time, and their scare in New York was an example of a father thinking of nothing more than saving his child. His little girl fell into a cold East River after which a brave Frenchman and Anderson dove into the water to rescue the toddler.
Joe Gutierrez proved his heroic mettle after rescuing three babies
from a burning fire in Texas last month. Treating his actions like another day in the office, Gutierrez responded coolly, Im a regular guy. Im not a hero, Im a father. Thats what fathers do.
Although I didnt leap into freezing waters or burning buildings, I received a call today from my daughter while she was at school. Calling from the nurses office, I could tell something was amiss with her. I immediately stood up, and began walking towards the door to leave, not even regarding that I had a lot more work to do for the day. Whenever I hear my child in despair, shes no longer the tiny little person of 11 years ago. I harken back to holding her just out the womb. I dont see a tweener, I just see my baby.
Even now when she coughs too loud or says ouch, I get right up to see what the situation is. Ive been told by dads of older girls that eventually, shell tire of my doting ways and will want some independence. I know I cant always don a cape and take care of her problems, but I cant imagine being any other way for the rest of my life. I hope and pray that my daughter will always know that while I cant fix everything, Ill do anything I can in my power to give her the best and safest life.
Like Mr. Gutierrez said, that's what fathers do.
It was just a month ago when a entire nation was shocked
to witness a gun-toting, cowboy hat-wearing Tommy Jordan unload nine shots from a handgun into his daughters laptop. The aftermath of the event led to visits from Child Protect Services and the Department of Social Services, online commentators calling Jordan everything but a child of God, and a surprisingly high number of supporters.
Clearly remorseful but still staunch in his reasons for his actions, Mr. Jordan and his family have rallied around each other despite many thinking their situation was much more explosive than it was. I dare say the Jordan family may be a tighter unit than any of us could have ever expected.
Jordan, his daughter Hannah Marie and his wife, Amy, all appeared on
NBC morning program TODAY show with host Matt Lauer. When Lauer asked Hannah her feelings about her dads actions, she clearly has processed the moment far quicker than America has. We went our separate ways for a while, but we were able to laugh about it afterwards, she said to Lauer. Hannah did say her father overreacted but that she ultimately accepted his actions.
Jordans wife, a doctor, also supports her husbands actions and apparently gave Tommy the green light to destroy their daughters laptop. People may look at the video that don't know him or us and think we're just completely uneducated country people. Thats not the case. Hes very intelligent, very thoughtful. He rarely does anything without thinking it through or even consulting me on a lot of occasions. This wasn't any different, she shared.
On air, Tommy Jordan admitted to his mistakes which he and his wife said was inspired by his daughters initial mistake. Both mom and dads overall point: watch what you say online because it can come back to haunt you. Don't post anything on the web you don't want the entire world to see. That was why we were upset with her in the first place and all of this has driven the point home, said Mrs. Jordan.
Another moment that folks should notice was that of Mr. Jordan revealing he did indeed save Hannahs hard drive from the same fate her laptop suffered. He looked his daughter in the eye and told her point blank that when shes allowed to have a computer again, she can access her old files.
Like any other family, the Jordans arent perfect by any means. Tommy Jordan realizes that his shoot-em-up stunt has made for weighty consequences for he and his family. But together, it seems like theyre working it out just fine. Perhaps its time to let this story rest and allow a family to heal and find their path to redemption all on their own.
If you havent seen the video
of North Carolina dad Tommy Jordan and his gun-toting tirade, the reaction to his daughters disrespectful words may seem a bit over the top. However, the IT company owner and proud father has become a YouTube sensation, amassing a whopping 26 million views in just over a week. If youre in need of a back-story, Mr. Jordan caught wind of his daughter making slanderous remarks about her parents on Facebook.
After reading the unflattering comments left by his daughter, Hannah, on her Facebook wall, Jordan went into his own eight-minute video rant about the things he and his wife have provided for their child, and ended off the video in explosive fashion. Jordan unloads eight shots from a .45 pistol into the laptop, which reportedly gained the man a visit from the authorities, including Child Protective Services. Unapologetic about his reaction and not facing charges, Jordan says the family is closer as a result of what happened although hes faced a bunch of tough criticism.
On the other side of the negative remarks however, Jordan has amassed a few fans of his version of tough love. While I can appreciate the sentiment behind Jordans actions, the use of the gun is where I hop off the train. I cant endorse using violence to hammer home a point. In a series of news polls done on almost every major media outlet, voters are mostly in approval of Jordans actions. Even Dr. Phil himself said he was entertained
more than appalled by the video clip.
Disciplining your child is a necessary thing for fathers to administer, although Id argue that its an often difficult thing to do correctly. As children grow older, they have the potential to challenge their parents patience in a variety of ways. I dont imagine Id ever resort to shooting my daughters electronic equipment in order to get her to follow my lead. I hope that my words, steady presence and loving devotion is enough to make sure my child honors not only her parents, but also herself.
How about you, Father Factor readers? What do you think about what Tommy Jordan did? Tell us in the comments below or tweet to us at @FatherFactor
. You can also comment on our Facebook page by following this link
Over the weekend, the music world was shaken by the death of celebrated pop and R&B diva Whitney Houston on the eve of the Grammys. I still cant believe shes gone, especially after reading she was on her way to performing and recording again. A lot of speculation about Whitneys death has swirled about, and Ive largely chosen to ignore what Ive been hearing simply because I prefer to remember her as being on a triumphant comeback trail.
Whitneys mother Cissy Houston, a renowned singer in her own right, and Whitneys famous cousin Dionne Warwick were typically the only family members fans heard about. Little was ever said about Whitneys late father, John. However, I searched the Web and found that Whitney and John had a much closer relationship than what has been reported in the past. In this undated video clip
, Whitney is shown singing to her father on her birthday during a concert sometime in the 1990s. Its clear in the clip that she loved her father, although alleged legal troubles between the two became tabloid fodder.
I wont bore you with the details over owed money and estates, but rather focus on the fact that at one point, Whitneys father acted as her mentor and business manager. John even created a company, John Houston Enterprises, to help his daughter maintain her business affairs. The same firm later negotiated a record $100 million dollar, six-album deal in 2001 for Whitney, one of the largest contracts on record.
Whitney was never candid about she and her fathers relationship, but did defend her dad by saying that a $100 million dollar lawsuit in 2002 brought by John Houston Enterprises had nothing to do with him, but rather, a greedy business associate of her father. John, who suffered from diabetes and heart troubles, passed away a year later during the proceedings, and the business partner didnt win one cent.
I came across a 2002 MTV interview featuring Whitney Houstons spokesperson Nancy Seltzer that touched on the lawsuit. When I spoke to John a week and a half ago, he said, 'It's the most ridiculous thing I ever heard of. I couldn't do anything like that, and I didn't,'' Seltzer said. ''It's sad. It's two people who love each other who seem to be dragged into this public situation, which is neither of their own doing.
It doesnt comfort me knowing that all her life Whitney Houston has had to live under the glare of the public eye. She never seemed to adjust to fame and money; she was just a girl from New Jersey with a dream, undeniable beauty and a voice from heaven. What does comfort me, is that a genuine love between a father and his daughter existed, no matter the forces that tried to tear them apart.
Reports have come out that Whitney will be laid to rest this weekend in New Jersey, right next to her father as she requested a time ago. Perhaps now, her troubled soul can rest comfortably next to the man who gave her life and love, just as it should be.
For those of you who are fathers of teenage or soon-to-be-teen girls, Valentine's Day might make you a bit nervous. Your daughter's interest in boys, or more likely boys' interest in your daughter, might seem a bit scary to you. You want nothing but the best for your little girl, but you may not know how to navigate this uncharted territory.
As a daughter, let me encourage you to not back away from being involved in this part of your daughter’s life. She needs you, even if she doesn’t act like it. Take it from someone who is now glad her dad didn’t back away when the tricky stuff of teen relationships surfaced for the first time.
Talking to my dad about boys was the last thing I wanted to do as a fifteen-year-old. I thought my parents wouldn't understand or would freak out and tell me I was too young to be thinking about boys. Learning to be transparent with my parents about guys was a process and my dad gets a lot of credit for patiently helping me build a stronger relationship with him in this arena.
Three things my dad said during that phase of my life stuck with me to this day and helped me realize that my parents had my best interest in mind when it came to relationships.
In one of the first conversations I had with my dad about a guy I had a crush on, my dad told me, “Renae, your significance is not based on what a guy thinks about you or what your friends think about you. You are significant to your family and to the Lord and that is more important.”
I knew that of course, but hearing my dad say that meant a lot and built my sense of self-worth.
As a sixteen-year-old, I hid from my parents a correspondence I had begun with a guy friend (okay, he was more than a friend). My attempts at secrecy failed. Lesson learned: parents find things out. In a rather difficult conversation with my parents, my dad said, “I want to be the guardian of your heart, Renae. But I can’t do that unless I know what’s going on in your life, and I can’t know that unless you talk to me!”
My dad’s willingness to challenge me like that helped me realize that he wanted to protect me from unnecessary heartache at a young age and that he would be my best guide in relationships with guys. But, I had to let him do so by sharing with him what was going on in my life.
As my parents and I worked through these situations, they didn’t always handle things in the best possible way, but their motive was always to do what was best for me. “We’re figuring this out as we go, Renae. If I’ve ever done something wrong for the right reason, this was it.”
My dad asked me to be patient with them. In the end, we ultimately had the same goal – my success and happiness in life – and we’d get there in better shape if we were on the same team and had grace for each other’s mistakes.
It’s been ten years since those formative experiences. My parents and I are now navigating what our relationship looks like now that I am an independent adult. But those three lessons from my teen years stick with me: 1) My family loves me for who I am and my worth is not defined by other people. 2) Being open with my dad is a good thing. 3) It’s learning process for all of us and we need to have grace and understanding for each other.
So, Dads, if this Valentine’s Day your daughter brings home a little something from a secret admirer, take the opportunity to engage her and let her know you care about that part of her life. More importantly, make sure she knows through your words and actions that her dad loves her exactly as she is and will always work for what’s best for her.