A Final Thought: A Father’s Day Takeover


By Mitch Allen

Editor’s note: Mitch’s youngest daughter Kat is the author of this month’s column.

I am free-spirited. I’ve always been the one with a heart a tad too big for her body, and I’m told I feel things differently than most. For half of my life, I tried to change this sensitivity.

I wanted to toughen up, to be the strong one, not realizing that as we walk on this journey, life will do that for you.

Today I believe strength lies not in toughness, but in staying kind and full of love, walking through pain, allowing it to give us ever more grace and compassion, while recognizing and appreciating those we see traveling the same dark woods.

No one is a better example of this dark-woods-feeling-compassion than my father, the man who usually writes this column. (It’s a running joke in our family that I could work with his editorial team to do a “Final Thought Takeover” for Father’s Day, sneaking in a column of my own. I told you I could do it, Dad.)

When I was graduating high school, Dad wrote me a note that I keep close to this day. It reads:

There is nothing you could ever do to make me stop loving you.
There is nothing you could ever do to make me ashamed of you. Go ahead, try.
I will always love you and be proud of you, no matter what…
Go into the world and be who you are and do what you must do.
Do not pay attention to the rules of others; they were not written for you. They were written by people full of fear for people full of fear, and in your deepest heart, I know you are not afraid.
I have already forgiven you for everything you have ever done or will ever do, even those things for which you cannot forgive yourself.
And remember, you never, ever have to please me. You do that with every breath you take. —Mitch Allen, July 2005

Now, as a mom of a 7-year-old boy, I am watching the world unfold through the eyes of a kid who is free-spirited, with a heart a tad too big for his body, who feels things differently than most.

And when I try to explain my love for him, I think of the words above that came from a man who is free-spirited, with a heart a tad too big for his body, who feels things differently than most. I’m sure when Dad reads this column, he will shake his head with humility because it’s normally his job to lift up others. But for this moment, I wanted to take a bit of light he shines on all of us and turn it back on him.

He will tell you much of his compassion comes from his own grief, his own journey in the dark woods, but he’d also tell you it came from his father F. Wayne Allen, whom we lost on June 27, 2012.

Years ago when I was making a major life change, Dad said to me, “Live your own life. Show your son that you love yourself and your life and guess what? Life will love you back. He will see this and grow up and do the same. Our children rarely listen to us, but they never fail to imitate us. You mustn’t cater to his needs by sacrificing your own joy, or he may grow up to do the same.”

Dad, thank you for being the human who shows up, who loves life with abundance—and who is proving to the next generation that love really is all there is.

We often hear: “Hurt people hurt people.” But I am now more certain than ever that enlightened people enlighten people and loved people love people.

It’s not said loudly enough or often enough, but to the dads, grandfathers, uncles, bonus dads, and brothers loving the children in their lives exactly as they are, without conditions or boundaries, thank you, and Happy Father’s Day.


Categories: Smart Living