I’m going to open up a bit here and share something with you all that is close to my heart.
This is an inspiring, and slightly tear-jerking story for me because it’s true, and it’s about my Dad. It proves to me that it’s never too late to change your life…
My Dad spent almost his entire life trying to impress his Dad.
He was the first in his family to go to University, but was told it wouldn’t get him a “real job” so he would have to fund himself. My Poppa was a builder and would tell my Dad he had no reason to be tired at the end of each day, because he hadn’t done any “real hard work” by just sitting at a desk all day.
My Poppa was a great man – but he was very rational.
He was a family man, but he did not like to show emotion.
The most my Dad would get from him was a hand shake once a year on his birthday, and a mumbled “Happy Birthday, son”.
My Dad spent most of his life wishing his Dad would give him some kind of recognition – even just a hug.
After 57 years of this, my Dad had a growing sense that this was not the way he wanted to remember his father. He had a feeling that he had to do something to change that.
My Poppa was getting older and we weren’t sure how much longer he would be with us, so my Dad decided he wanted to make a change.
After learning about how altering your communication can change your relationships with people in your life, my Dad decided to try something different. Something drastic.
He gave my Poppa his first hug.
After having him over for a family dinner one night, my Dad was dropping Poppa home and as he walked him to the door, instead of the usual “goodnight” comment, he tried to give him a hug and tell his Dad that he loved him.
As you can imagine, this didn’t go down too well… My Poppa pushed him away and yelled, “what’s wrong with you?! You queer or something?” Not my Poppa’s finest moment…
Dad was extremely hurt by this, and panicked that maybe he had done the wrong thing. Poppa was too stuck in his ways to change, and who was he to try make him after all this time? But after a few days to think it over, he decided he wouldn’t quit because of one setback. No matter how uncomfortable the situation, no matter how much his words hurt, he would continue to try, because he didn’t want to look back once Poppa was gone and regret never telling him how he felt.
So he tried again.
Once a week, every week on Sunday family dinner night, until almost a year later the reaction started to change.
Poppa started to move to pinching Dad’s stomach and commenting on his weight, “you look like you’re getting fat boy, better watch that!” my Poppa would tell him.
Ouch! But still Dad persisted.
He started to wonder if maybe Poppa was incapable of showing him how he really felt, and instead would try tell him in other ways, like commenting on his appearance.
Until one night, Dad was ready to give up.
It had been almost two years and he felt like he had gotten nowhere, but managed to get himself ridiculed on a weekly basis instead.
So that night after dinner he walked my Poppa to his door and Dad turned to leave without saying a word.
He began to walk away until something stopped him.
The words, “where are you going?”
And there was my Poppa, standing there with his arms stretched out, waiting for a hug…
For the first time in my Dad’s life he heard his father tell him he loved him, and he received his first hug from him.
A year later, my Poppa passed away.
My Dad is now 63 and he has decided to change his career and spend the rest of his life teaching others how to change their lives through altering their communication.
And I’m so inspired by this that I’ve decided to do the same, and join him on this journey of helping others.
Trying something different may seem scary and uncomfortable, but it could save you from a lifetime of regret.
It’s never too late to change your life…