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A Father’s Pride
by Bob Olson

When I lost my father in 1997 to lung cancer, I was blessed with a most unexpected gift. It was a gift that I had not known I wanted, but when I received it, I immediately realized how important it was to me. It is a simple gift that any father can give to his son at any time in his life. I hope that any father who reads this story will be inspired to keep giving this gift as often as possible.

It was the end of a long cold winter. Forty years of non-filtered cigarettes were finally taking their toll on my father’s defeated body. He had been in and out of the hospital for years due to poor health—including having half a lung removed one year, and a quadruple bypass another—but during the last few months he spent more time in the hospital than out. Although it was a difficult experience, I’m thankful for the time we had to prepare for his passing. We were able to say, "Goodbye," say "I love you," and best of all for me, my father told me he was proud of me. I believe my life has been easier due to those simple words of approval.

During the last few months of my father’s life, I tried to remain strong for my mother, my sister and my wife (who had known my father since she was twelve years old). I almost became emotionally detached, wanting to be the pillar upon which my family could lean and a shoulder of strength to cry on. But when my father and I found ourselves alone one day, him lying in the hospital bed with me sitting by his side, I lost my strength when he held my hand and told me how proud I had made him in his life. Like the last drop of water that broke the dam, a flood of tears overcame my macho facade of detachment.

Had I known how much I needed that affirmation, perhaps I would have been better prepared. Instead I was ambushed, barely knowing what hit me. It was evident that every cell in my body craved those words—especially just before I lost him forever. Now the memory of his voice—as he expressed his pride in me—will forever echo in my mind. I could not have asked for a more encouraging and self-assuring last few words from him. It was truly a gift.

I never took the time to contemplate the significance of that moment until a year later, after I spoke to a friend on the phone. He informed me that his father was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and had only a few months to live. Interestingly, after he delivered this sad news, he almost enthusiastically recited a conversation he had with his Dad that afternoon. His father told him for the first time in his life that he was proud of him. Since my friend had left home in his teens due to his father’s disapproval of his lifestyle, these were words that he desperately needed to hear.

His father expressed how he admired his son’s courage to walk out that door and never look back. He admired that he was the only child of four who had been self-reliant and had never asked for his help. His father wrapped his arm around his shoulder and showered him with approval—long overdue approval. I am without doubt that this precious exchange between my friend and his father was more valuable than years of future therapy could ever have been.

There are very few words that can regress a grown man into a little boy within seconds. Now I know that hearing your father say "I’m proud of you" holds that power—especially if it’s one his last few words. For most men, there was at least one time in our lives when we wanted to be just like Dad. Even if that were at a very young age, that part of us is still in there. And the need to please our fathers, to make them proud of us, almost seems genetic.

Oh, I’m sure it’s just an ego thing. We want to win the approval of our first and oldest teachers—our parents. We say "Gaga" as an infant, and our parents smile and laugh. Later, "Gaga" no longer impresses them, but "Mama" and "Dada" get a new positive response. So we go with it because it feels good to please them. We are rewarded for making them happy.

Soon, we stand up, and once again we have clapping and joy. Before you know it we’re walking, running, then riding a bicycle, and eventually driving a car. As we grow older, it becomes more difficult to please them. We’ve run out of new stunts that will attract their attention. The old accomplishments no longer win a standing ovation—they’ve become expected. But we continue to desire their approval. It doesn’t just go away. This desire to please our parents is more than just how we learn, it feeds our self-esteem and self-confidence. Our parent’s approval has become a measuring stick for our self-worth.

Eventually, after high school and perhaps years of college, and especially after we have established our careers, this measuring stick rarely has an opportunity to be tested. Our parents may tell us they love us, but they have very few events for which to applaud us. Yet our need to make them proud—and to receive this acknowledgment—still exists. It may be concealed deep within us, but we still crave their displays of approval.

For years, I had no idea how much I craved those words of approval from my father. This inner desire simply lay dormant as a void within my soul. But that precious day, as I literally sat on his death bed, it was like flicking an internal switch. When he said, "Bob, I am so proud of you," his words triggered emotions I had no idea still existed. My mature defenses—that wall of protection I had built around me to act like a man—exploded into disintegration. And all that was left was this little boy sitting next to his father—beaming with self-assurance that he was worthy and loved unconditionally.

I hope this simple reminder will influence parents of both sexes to remember a need that we all know is there, but we often forget about in our busy hectic lives. I certainly feel blessed to have had a father who did not forget.

____________________

For more articles by Bob Olson, visit www.ofspirit.com/bobolson.htm 

A former skeptic & private investigator, Bob Olson has been an Afterlife Investigator & Psychic Medium Researcher since 1999. In 1997, Bob Olson’s father died of lung cancer at the age of 64. Bob was just 35. The event ignited spiritual questions for Bob that he’d never before considered. Is there life after death? If so, what evidence exists to prove it? And, if one could prove the existence of an afterlife, was it also possible to know if our deceased loved ones exist in this afterlife, if they are okay, and if they are watching over us? Bob decided to use his skills as a private investigator to obtain answers, and this was the catalyst for Bob’s investigation into the afterlife.

In his search for evidence of the afterlife, Bob has tested hundreds of psychics, mediums & other afterlife-related practitioners. Bob is the host of AFTERLIFE TV, founder of BEST PSYCHIC DIRECTORY and BEST PSYCHIC MEDIUMS, and offers his PSYCHIC MEDIUM WORKSHOP to help psychics and mediums improve their abilities and business. Visit Bob on AFTERLIFE TV's FACEBOOK page & on TWITTER. And don't miss Bob's new book titled ANSWERS ABOUT THE AFTERLIFE.

 

 

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