Life is My Movie – Why Not?
Another article from Coach Jeff. If you choose to read on, when you get to the end, you will have received another dose of faith and hope. That is why I write. As Father’s Day approaches, I think of the most important role in my life and why I try to help other men see the joy in being a dad, too.
Some folks laugh at me when I say my life is like a Disney movie. Those classic movies have made me a believer. Characters who become best friends. One predicament after another. A bad guy lurking. An insurmountable challenge. Then, overcoming the odds with ingenuity, hard work and cooperation. Outsmarting the bad guy. Learning to believe in yourself. Cheering for the underdog. Families loving each other. And everyone living happily ever after.
Are these stories just fantasies, or are they lessons from which we can learn? Jiminy Cricket told us, “when you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are, anything your heart desires will come true. If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme. When you wish upon a star, as dreamers do.“
I guess I am a dreamer. Since I was very young, I have taken it all in. I have actually believed the stories. Jiminy had me from “when you wish…” so I still do. Roger and J.P. of Angels in the Outfield, made me believe “it could happen…” Maybe watching the movie when I was young caused me to accept the definition of a “Pollyanna” and become “a person with irrepressible optimism.”
I am a certified optimist. Why not? George Bernard Shaw told us, “You see things and you say, Why? But I dream things that never were and I say, Why not?” Isn’t that what these movies are all about? They give us a chance to look past the way things are, see things that never were and ask ourselves “Why not”?
Have you ever watched a Disney movie and asked yourself, “how much of this could I really make come true?” For me, Mary Poppins has been a guiding light. Maybe we cannot fly with an umbrella or pop through sidewalk paintings, but we can go on outings together. We can “go fly a kite” in the park. We can show our children how to use their imaginations. Maybe we’ll never float towards the ceiling when we laugh at jokes about “a man with a wooden leg named Smith,” but we can sit together at a table and laugh with our children until our cares fade away. We can take the time to truly listen to our children’s dreams of how to spend their tuppence – and then reconsider how to spend ours.
We learned from Mr. Banks that all dads can change. Sometimes we just need a little help. Mary Poppins taught me that if we want to help the children, we have to help the dads. And so I write with an umbrella in hand to fend off the storms, a carpet bag full of imagination to inspire and a never give in attitude to encourage us all. A “spoonful of sugar” does go a long, long way.
Life isn’t a Disney movie. But maybe it could be. The football team called the Titans taught us to love before we hate. A beauty named Belle showed us to look for the good deep inside the beast. Three friends on an Incredible Journey, showed us how to stick together, despite the odds, and that home is the best placed we’ve ever been. Those lessons are in my backpack.
For me, Be There Dad has been a dream. It is the movie which was written for me and I get to play my favorite part – a dad. Like those classics, we play it over and over again for each group of new dads. For me, it never gets old. My movie has a cast of characters who can rival any Disney film. A visionary godfather named Harold who took my hand and pointed me towards a light on the horizon. A close group of friends who locked arms and joined me on my journey. There is a large supporting cast of dads who have come alongside us in their schools. Courageous dads stepped beyond their comfort zones and became leaders. Others learned their parts, supported each other and they have all flourished. Dads came to believe that a power called “presence” lives inside each of them and if they are willing to use it, they can change the world. The children are the characters who need to be found, protected, and sometimes saved. Dads have become the heroes… using the power of presence to direct carpool lines, read stories and mentor. Children see them, feel that power and want to become like them.
In my story, there are still chapters to be written until the day everyone lives happily ever after. If I get my wish, young boys will grow to become fathers themselves and there will be sequels. Be There Dad 2? Be There Dad 3? I see the goodness unfold before me every day. So, I will continue to write about my dreams. I will continue to believe they will come true. I will continue to encourage and enable dads to dream as well. Maybe because of the movies, like Rudy, “I’ve been ready for this my whole life.”
Make Your Own Movie
Best of all, everyone has the opportunity to write their own script and to make their own “movie”. Dads can decide how their story goes. We can decide to have courage and be brave. We can decide to be optimistic. We can decide to see the good in others. We can decide to include everyone. Like Aladdin, we can help our kids see a “whole new world” and together ask, “Why not?”
Choose to come along. Choose to write a script and make your own movie. Cast your wife and kids and like the Mighty Ducks, “fly together”. Instead of playing a part that others may hand you; choose to be the star your children want you to be. Make life an adventure. Have courage. Be a hero. Believe in that happy ending only you can imagine!
Happy Father’s Day!