There are times when I really do not enjoy having to travel as much as I do, and then there are times when the people I meet or the things I see truly inspire me.
Today, as I write this column, I am in Ontario, Calif. I have checked into my hotel and have about an hour before I have to do a presentation and then take part in a business dinner. There is a pool outside of my hotel room with only one family taking advantage of the cool water in the hot California air.
Maybe as we are celebrating or have celebrated Father’s Day I am a little more in tune with what I was hearing from the children as they called for their dad. There were four children all vying for dad’s attention ... “Throw me daddy,” “Carry me daddy,” “Look at meeeee daddy” and “Catch me daddy.”
Guess what? Daddy caught them all, threw them all, and carried them all. Made me wish my own children were young enough and small enough to enjoy these very same simple pleasures.
But I really don’t think we ever stop throwing, carrying, or catching as dads, do we?
As they grow and mature we throw more responsibility their way, maybe even throw them a curve ball or two to test them or challenge them. And as they enter new stages of life we may even help carry them a little bit to make sure that they can stay afloat until they gain their stability. But in the event they fall, and we know that they do, we are always there to catch them.
My good friend and mentor Dr. Denis Waitley has a saying that goes like this, “We should give our children roots and wings instead of money and things.”
It would be easy to throw money at our children instead of throwing challenges. It would be easy to give them things or even do things for them instead of helping them with just enough love, support, and resources to keep them afloat. And even if we had the resources to bail them out every time they fell that would not be the answer; instead we need to be catching them in our loving arms and guiding them so they don’t make the same mistake again.
As I continue to write my column the family is still swimming and laughing. Dad looks like he is tired but he keeps on going. “Look dad, I am a submarine.” “Look dad, I am a shark.” And my favorite is the little girl singing “Under the Sea” from “The Little Mermaid.”
I have thoroughly enjoyed my seat on the balcony as I reminisce about my own children as they were younger and look forward to what they will be when they are all grown up. And as their dad, I know that I will always be there to throw, carry, and catch. Maybe I can even play submarine, shark, or sing “The Little Mermaid” song a few more times.
Father’s Day isn’t about the dads, it’s about being a dad. I would love to hear all about your Father’s Day and how you plan to throw something constructive at your kids, carry them when and where you can, and catch them as they fall at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s make this a truly better than good week.
Michael Norton, a resident of Highlands Ranch, is the former president of the Zig Ziglar organization and CEO and founder of www.candogo.com.