Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Putting MY Family First...

Dad & I working the Indy All Pro Dad Event - Oct. 2008

I encourage each of you to visit http://www.familyfirst.net/.

If you'd like to find the 10 year old family photo I've been begging them to change, feel free. Nothing like having the awkward stage of your childhood documented forever on the world wide web. Anywho, this week I have been thinking about what it means to put your family first. Family has always been a priority in our household. I'm blessed to say that in a somewhat crazy household my parents went over and above the call of duty to make the closeness of our family a priority. They taught us to love each other second only to God and our relationship with Him.

The Family First and All Pro Dad crews have blessed my family in countless ways and I love being back in Tampa so that I am able to lend a small hand here and there and give back to such a great cause. Giving back is a concept I strongly believe in. Throughout my childhood my Dad has always worked a demanding job. I heard on ESPN radio last year that they estimate the average NFL football Coach works 125 hours per week in season (and to think, most people complain about 40!). When you work 125 hours a week that doesn't leave much non-sleeping time in your day-to-day life. My Dad had to work that much harder to spend time with us.

All Pro Dad was started to promote just that. Dad's making their kids (and wives) a priority. The way you spend your time reflects your heart. I truly believe that and often I have to ask myself if I'm spending my time in a way that backs up what I say my priorities are. Dad always makes us a priority. My roommate from my freshman year of college, Alyssa, was visiting me in Florida last week and she brought up the cards my Dad would send me. In college I would get weekly cards in the mail from my Dad. Index cards. One side would be a bible verse - usually one he was praying over my life. The other side would be a note from him, telling me he's thinking of me, assuring me he's praying for me daily, and encouraging me in some way to pursue my relationship with the Lord, my family, and my schooling!

Success on the football field is something we've all wanted in his time in coaching. We have been blessed to see much success on the field in Dad's time as a Coach so far and I hope to see that continue this season. However, the successes we've experienced as a family have been much more rewarding. My Dad called us all into his room the day after the Super Bowl and he reminded us that God has done so much for our family. That he has blessed us in so many ways but that the Super Bowl was just one more thing, it wasn't THE thing.

A few months later I went to watch my Dad speak at an All Pro Dad breakfast at an elementary school in Lafayette, IN. I had organized it with the help of a co-worker of mine. It was my last chance to hear Dad speak before I would graduate and move to Florida, so I was feeling a little sentimental and emotional about it already.

My Dad pulled out his Super Bowl ring and he held it up for all the kids (and their drooling Dads) to see. And he said the words I'll never forget...

Coaches work their whole lives for this. This is the ultimate goal in the NFL, to win a Super Bowl. This year we did that. But this ring, that trophy, that win...that wasn't my biggest success. My biggest responsibility and my greatest success are my three daughters.

The amazing part about that for me is, he's lived his life in a way that confirms for me the truth of those statements. My Dad has done a wonderful job over the years of putting our family first...he has inspired me to work towards doing the same. I'm so grateful for having that desire instilled in me. And I'm grateful for chances like next Saturday, to promote Family to others.



- If you're in Tampa and interested, All Pro Dad has a Tampa event next Saturday, April 18th at Raymond James. Visit http://www.allprodad.com/ for more details. I'll be there.
- Also, look over the next week for a post on here and probably facebook when Dad's story of his adoption goes up on www.imom.com

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