In this episode of Parenting with Truth and Grace we interview Alan Smyth of MyFatherDaughter.com. Alan has been married for 31 years. He has two children, Trevor and Brittany. In addition to starting the blog and website, MyFatherDaughter.com Alan served on Young Life staff for 25 years. He is passionate about fatherhood and has a critical and timely message for dads.
You will love how a group of teenage girls in a conversation on a bus when Brittany was still a young girl, totally impacted his own journey as a father.
Favorite Verse or Quote –
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Parenting Failure –
Alan tells of an incident he wishes he could have a do over with Brittany in how he handled a specific issue. She had a skin condition that caused itching and scabbing. Brittany kept picking at the scabs which of course caused it to look worse and he got frustrated that she kept doing it. What he regrets is he may have conveyed that somehow her physical appearance was a condition for his approval, which he never wanted her to feel… ever!
Parenting Ah-ha Moment
When Brittany was 3 years old Alan was a Young Life leader. He had an interaction with some of these high school girls shared the hardest part of their life was their poor relationship with their dad. On the bus ride home he cornered the girls and said, “Hey girls I want to have a good relationship with my daughter in about 15 years. Tell me, what should I do?”
They said they pushed their dads away… but they wished their dads hadn’t left. In essence they were admitting their own brattiness, but wishing their fathers would have pushed through that time rather than disengaging. When they need us the most, the last thing dads should do is to pull back.
Proudest Parenting Moment
Every year Alan and Brittany would do a father daughter trip. Her senior year of high school she came to dad and said, “Dad, it’s my senior year. We need to go big.” The end result was, Brittany chose to spend her spring break of her senior year with her dad in Hawaii rather than with friends on a senior trip.
His son, Trevor got a chance to play Div 1 football at the United States Naval Academy. The pride of reaching that milestone in football was part of it. The bigger part was the day he was sworn into the academy his freshman year!
One thing you are excited about in this season
Through all the battles, their kids actually love each other. They are now adults and they are good friends. They seek each other out and do sleep overs together – they really get along.
Lightning round –
- Greatest fear – that I would get it right. The awesome responsibility of raising another human
- Best advice – are you loving your daughter. Whatever she doesn’t get from you she’ll look for in someone else.
- One of your personal habits that contributes to your success – worked hard at keeping an ongoing relationship with his kids.
- Recommended Internet Resources – MyFatherDaughter.com – Dr. Michelle Watson –
- Parenting book – Prized Possession – Raising a Modern Day Knight –
Top 3 Priorities for parenting – 1) Dad had and maintained a strong personal faith 2) Saw their dad loving their mom really well 3) Be engaged with the kids.
Alan tells the fun story of how the T-shirt with 10 Rules for Dating My Daughter went viral.