As I was laying on my couch, with my two-month-old baby girl on my chest, flipping through channels, I saw that the movie, We Bought a Zoo, was on. I remember going to see it in theaters with my family – we cried like babies. 🙂 So, I turned it on. Let me pause here and say if you haven’t seen this movie, you should watch it. Sooo good! I might spoil some of it in this post. Sorry. 😉 Anyways, the dad and son have a rough relationship. The dad is trying to be there for his son, but the son keeps denying his dad’s help, or more accurately, his dad’s love. There is a point that the dad shows the son the Zoo’s new logo and it was something the son had drawn. The son stared at the logo, and his dad asked him, “When are you going to realize I’m your biggest fan?” That part gets me every time.
My eyes started to water as I remembered the night my dad and I had a heated discussion.
I was 22, still lived at home, and was pursuing my dream to be a professional musician. You’re probably asking yourself, “I wonder if Brandon had amazing band hair?” The answer is, “Yes!” 🙂 Anyways, I was 22, my dad and I were still trying to figure out our relationship, and I was working at a local furniture store to cover bills while playing in a band. One night, the day before April Fools’ day, I was out with some friends playing games, and I had a little too much to drink. I thought I had waited long enough before driving home, but clearly, I hadn’t. Before I knew it, I wound up getting pulled over and put in the back of a police car. My blood alcohol concentration was under the legal limit, but I still was so not able to drive safely. I had to call my brother and have his wife pick me up from the police station.
That night was one of the scariest nights of my life.
Now, if I am driving anywhere, I will not have a drink of alcohol because of the grace that was shown to me that night. The next day I drove home to get ready for work. During the drive, I called my dad. Right away, he asked why I didn’t come home that night. I told him I had to stay at my brother Blake’s house, because I got pulled over and arrested for drinking and driving. My dad immediately said, “Brandon, this is a terrible April Fools’ joke.” I assured him that I wasn’t joking and asked him to look at the ticket on my dresser to believe me. He was mad and disappointed at the time. He quickly said, “We’ll talk tonight,” and hung up after seeing the ticket.
My stomach sank. I quickly began feeling like a failure, disappointed in myself. That only lasted for like 3 minutes, and then I started getting mad at my dad. Thinking, “Who does he think he is acting like he can tell me what to do? I’m a 22 year old man!” With these “I’m a man” type of thoughts going through my head all day, I went home expecting a fight. When I got home my dad and mom were waiting to talk to me. I told them I was sorry I messed up, but that I didn’t need a lecture. Apparently, my dad didn’t hear me, because he began telling me how stupid that was.
Then reality sunk in.
As he began telling me how disappointed he was, he began crying, which led to me crying. He paused for a second and then said, “I am you biggest fan! Don’t you know that?” When he said those words, my heart sank. At that moment, I realized I didn’t just let my dad down – I let my biggest supporter, encourager and someone who knows my mistakes and still loves me, down. At that moment, I felt like a complete failure, but at the same time I felt so loved. It was strange. I remember thinking, “What is going on inside of me right now?” I apologized for letting them down and we all went to bed. The next day it was like our relationships went to the next level. We were able to really talk about what had happened without all the emotions and develop a plan to prevent it from happening again.
Throughout my life, I have always tried to keep my parents out of my decision making, but they still give me their two cents, and almost every time, I find that I should have listened to them. (Wow! I can’t believe I just wrote that! LOL!)
My encouragement to you is to be open and honest. It’s ok to get angry and maybe let your voice get a little louder, but do it out of love and don’t say anything you’ll regret. People will appreciate your authenticity and realism.
Use these tips next time someone upsets or disappoints you:
- Collect your thoughts – Before you have a heated discussion, take a couple deep breaths and approach the other person with compassion.
- Have compassion in your passion – It’s hard not to seem intense when you are passionate about something. During a discussion, passion can very easily be confused with anger. Leading with compassion and having grace in your tone and demeanor will help your relationship heal from this moment and move forward.
- Move forward – It’s important to end the conversation with a resolution. The conversation might last more than a day, but after everything is said, figure out how things will change in the future…and a hug always seem to help reunite hearts after some intense moments. For more in creating action plans, read this article.
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