Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Joy of Being a Dad--A Message From the International Director

I have lived a blessed life. I grew up in a great home with a wonderful family. I have attended, belonged, and graduated from some amazing churches and schools. My entire adult life I have went to work at places and with people I truly enjoyed. I have attained some outstanding awards and achieved some incredible things in my lifetime.. but nothing, apart from salvation and my marriage, comes close to the joy and challenging adventure of being “Dad”.

I recall, with fondness, a day several years ago when I was given the last minute responsibility to get my son ready for kindergarten.. A simple task, perhaps for mom, but not particularly easy for me.. not to mention I was already running late and hadn’t begun to get myself ready. Half way through our preparation I noticed my “little man” was standing next to me in the bathroom and he was mimicking all of my preparation for the day. Not only was he also brushing his teeth but his motion, timing, and direction closely resembled mine. When I squeezed some hair gel out and started working it through my hair he requested that I, in like manner, load him up.. I complied and in my haste gave him enough gel for a half dozen 5 year olds. I soon realized this when a minute later I felt a sticky tug on my arm. I looked down to see a little 5 year old boy covered in gel.. it was on his arms and hands, all over his face, and throughout his semi-long hair. Imagine the picture of someone sticking their finger in a light socket and their hair going straight out in every direction and you get an idea of what my eyes were beholding. He had a happy and unassuming smile on his face when he said, “Hey dad, I look just like you!”

I sure hope not.. ha! But in his little mind he thought we did and he was very excited about that. Well, we were going to be late. He was a total mess. But I was probably the happiest man on the planet. My only son wanted to look just like his daddy!

The a few summers ago at our annual golf tournament fundraiser. The tournament is a great event that always has a good number of sports celebrities. Every employee has an assignment and my particular assignment that year was driving around in a cart and making sure the celebs had plenty of soft drinks and snacks.. what a great job huh?

I invited my son to hang out with me for the day. He gladly passed on a day at summer camp to hang with his dad and meet interesting sports stars. The night before the event we search and found his Disney autograph book. Now, next to autographs by the likes of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, he’d have Jay Barker and Stan White, and dozens more!

I enjoyed watching my son go up to the tees and ask the golfing groups who the celebrity in the group was.. three or four guys would always point out the “star” and my son would ask for his autograph and then joyfully run back to the cart to show me. A few non-celebs offered to sign his book. My son declined but kindly offered to let them look at the celebs signatures if they’d like.

Later in the day Stan White, former star quarterback at Auburn, noticed a poisonous snake near the cart path at a tee off. I notified the golf marshal and right there in front of my son he asked me if I would eliminate the threat, handing me a golf club. Well, how could I refuse with my son watching, so I tried to attack the snake with the club. I learned very quickly that snakes are incredibly fast and can climb up golf clubs. Next I tried a large boulder.. my several misses only angered the already aggressive snake. Finally, after about thirty minutes I eliminated the threat. As I walked back to the golf cart where my son was carefully observing, one of my hands holding a golf club and the other holding a lifeless snake.. sweat pouring down my face and body, my son was holding out his autograph book. When I got to the cart he said, “Daddy, I want you to sign my book.. you are my hero!” Friends, that was the proudest day of my life!

Millions of little boys and girls, who in most ways are just like my son, dream of having a mommy and daddy to look up to.. to be a “hero” in their lives. Every day I go to work with an unrelenting desire to find the “heroes” for those boys and girls. Many of you reading this blog will fulfill a little boys dream or a little girls dream. I am humbled and honored to partner with you along your journey. Blessings!

Dave Wood
International Director

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