• Johnny Carrol Sain

Lessons from a dad talk

The good thing about a "dad talk" is that Dad often learns something, too.

In a conversation with one of my daughters earlier today, we accidentally uncovered a nugget of wisdom buried deep in my rambling. You know what they say about a blind hog... Anyway, the lesson is not a new one. Actually, it's something I already knew but that has been mired in my cynicism.

We can't judge the people we care about -- or anyone else -- based on the occasional meltdowns, irrational behavior, or general bad behavior exhibited (with caveats for abusive behavior). We are all merely human. We will hand the reigns over to our emotions, to our insecurities, or to another among the legion of personal demons whose numbers seem to grow with each year of our lives. It doesn’t matter how old you are or your perceived maturity. We all do it. It’s not a true indicator of character.

The mark of character is how someone handles the aftermath of their fall.

When someone makes an ass of themselves or reacts in some negative way, watch what they do next. Be patient. The questioning of oneself in deep places requires delicate maneuvering and often takes time to realize.

Serious introspection demands loads of humility and courage to pinpoint deficiencies, acknowledge those deficiencies, and explore them out to the roots. And you've got to dig up those roots, painful as it might be, and examine them closely. You can’t grow until you understand the impediments to growth.

Those humble, courageous folks acknowledging their failure, digging in their own dirt, toiling in their own muck, looking for ways to better themselves, to learn and grow as a person after they've disappointed you or someone else— those are the ones you need to hold closer.

The people who always seem to have clean hands and unsoiled clothes should be kept at arm's length.


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