I’ve written and spoken, more than a few times, about the idea of Coach versus Cheerleader – you know, the difference between giving advice and giving support – and why, while both are important facets of partnering and friendship, it’s crucial to know when to play which role.
This post is dedicated to the third C of partnership. My father embodied this role, so it’s only fitting that Father’s Day week, I write about
One of the most impressive things my dad ever said to me – and he was a very smart, kind, and exquisitely funny man – was
I don’t care who’s right or wrong; I’m on your side, Baby.
Can you imagine how safe he made me and my mother and my siblings feel by letting us know – in his words and his deeds – that he was there for us, not matter what kind of mess we’d made, no matter how big the monster chasing us, no matter how many times we’d made mistakes?
This is not to say he was never Coach; he gave wise and well-placed advice. He was also a very sly Cheerleader, master of effective understatement, laced with humor. No, this is not about celebrating a lenient permissive parent; this is about celebrating the total dedication of a man to his family – first, last, and always – and about the profound way that love empowered me. My dad’s been gone for over twenty years, but his wit, kindness, and love will never dim.
Next time your kid, your friend, or your spouse comes to you with a $#it%torm of a problem, try getting in their corner before you get on their case. You can work out the “how’d you get yourself into this mess and how do you plan to get out of it?” later. First, just declare your allegiance. Stand beside them against their bogeyman. All your coaching and cheering that follows will be so much more effective.
You were made to ride that white stallion. Saddle up.