Monthly Archives: July 2013

No Mulligans for Mickelson

Mulligan — a “do over” in golf.

Today’s story is about British Open winner Phil Mickelson.

Phil Mickelson just won the British Open. Some say it’s his most important win to date. But as a father, “Lefty” might disagree.

Reflect back 14 years…

It was the morning of June 17, 1999. Mickelson teed off in his first U.S. Open. If that’s not pressure enough…

His wife, Amy, back home in Arizona, was ready to deliver their first child. They had a deal — Amy would page Phil if she went into labor. He would walk off the course and fly home. Phil understood there would be other tournaments, but there would be no do over, no mulligan on the birth of their child.

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson

On the last day of the tournament, on the 18th green, Payne Stewart drained a fifteen footer for par, beating Mickelson by one stroke. In a memorable moment, Stewart promptly walked over to Mickelson, grabbed him by the cheeks and said, “You’re going to love being a father.”

Phil’s wife did go into labor during the Open, but she didn’t alert the soon to be dad! Fortunately, it was a slow labor, and Phil made it back in time.

His daughter, Amanda, was born the next day. READ MORE 

Real Men Cry

“Crying is cleansing. There’s a reason for tears, happiness or sadness.”
—Dionne Warwick

Today’s story is contributed by Caryn Payzant.

Some people want you to believe that real men don’t cry.

But William Coleman, my dad, has shown me that real men cry, are compassionate, thoughtful, and carry a hankie.

Maybe it was because before he was twelve years old, he was raised by a single mom. While she was at work, his maternal grandmother took care of him. Maybe it was because he married the oldest of three daughters. Or maybe it was because he had three daughters of his own.

real men cry

Caryn with her father William Coleman, 2013

Whatever the reason, my dad has always been able to tap into his feminine side. And, he’s shed more than a few tears along the way.

It can start with a sad movie, hearing about someone’s struggles, cheering for a favorite cause, or even while listening to the Star Spangled Banner. Ever so subtly, my dad’s lips start quivering and his eyes start to water. His voice will catch and then he’ll take a deep breath or two in order to regain composure.

I thought all dads did this kind of thing so I was never embarrassed by his actions. I learned from my dad that it was OK, even for men, to feel deep emotions and show tender moments of both joy and sorrow. READ MORE 

The Day I Learned Parents Are Real People Too

“There was a little girl, Who had a little curl, Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good, She was very good indeed, But when she was bad she was horrid.”

—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Today’s story is contributed by Elizabeth Parsons.

For a time, I was the kid you prayed you didn’t get. Hard-headed. Smart-mouthed. Opinionated. Disobedient.

sister and brother

Liz (behaving for once) with her little brother Daniel

Dad? Arch enemy #1 (probably because we are so alike).

What did we fight about? Everything. Bedtime. Friends. TV shows. Madonna. (I worshipped her; Dad was not impressed).

My mission in life: to prove Dad wrong; to show I was right.

Where did I get this obstinate streak? Probably from my lawyer Dad. When he was a kid, he was a handful, too. When he didn’t get his way, he’d hold his breath until he fainted — at least I didn’t do that. READ MORE 

Draw A Wider Circle

“Fear makes strangers of people who would be friends.”

— Shirley MacLaine

This story is contributed by Lori Holden.

My name is Lori. Today, I’ll share what may be the greatest life lesson in the history of humankind — spoken through the words of my Dad.

Want to have a richer life? Dad told us the secret early on…

“Draw a wider circle.”

A bit anticlimactic, you say? Well, few words can speak great volumes. Let me explain.

I grew up with two sisters. Sometimes we came home whining, “The other kids won’t play with me!” or “They’re leaving me out!” or “Nobody likes me!”

Dad would always respond simply…

“Draw a wider circle.”
draw a wider circle

Lori and her dad (both right) and family

He said it repeatedly, ad nauseum. Dad was big on aphorisms, but that’s another story.

He suspected that more often than not, we were actually excluding ourselves by making assumptions about others. He constantly reminded us that the other kids were scared of making new friends too, so we could choose to be the ones to approach them and join in on activities. Dad was determined to raise three confident and assertive young women. READ MORE 

I Said ‘No’ to a Boy at the School Dance

“It’s better to be kind than to be right.”

—Bruce Redding

Today’s story is contributed by Laura Donovan.

Laura Donovan lost her dad early in life. But she’s never forgotten one lesson he taught.

Today she reflects back to a middle school dance…a boy who asked for her hand. She turned him down. When dad found out? Hold on… Not what she thought!

My parents were late for everything during my childhood.

school dance

Laura and her father Paul, 2005

When we lived in LA, I was always at least ten minutes late to elementary school. I was the last kid picked up at day care. My parents made me late for every birthday party to which I was invited. But my parents were never late to pick me up from middle school dances. They were held in the gymnasium every month.

Even when I’d give my parents the wrong pick up time, they figured it out, and often arrived ten minutes before the end of the event. This cut into the last few songs of the night, just when my friends and I had finally racked up enough courage to ask boys to dance. READ MORE 

Earl Woods – Tiger Tough Dad

“How tough to be on a son? As strong as you want him to be.”

—Greg Hague

This story is about Tiger Woods’ dad, Earl Woods.

It’s been called “one of the greatest father-son relationships in the history of sport.” He was devoted and loving, but brutally tough. A friend at all times, but antagonist, too.


Tiger with his dad, Earl

Earl Woods was no normal dad. He had a vision for Tiger, his boy. There would be no variance. His son would be great. Dad would make sure.

Training for hardships — in sports, in life — started when Tiger was a toddler. Through the years Earl tested him, prodded him, taunted him incessantly.

A retired Army Lt. Colonel, Earl commented, “I tried to break him down mentally, tried to intimidate him verbally, by saying, ‘Water on the right, OB (out of bounds) on the left,’ just before his downswing.” READ MORE 

My P.O.W. Dad – Father Finally Found

“If we know where we came from, we may better know where to go. If we know who we came from, we may better understand who we are.”


Today’s story is contributed by David Grieme.

There was something missing growing up, in childhood, in adolescence, as a man. I was missing a dad.

Superman and his brother

Superman (aka David) in Webster Groves, Missouri about 1962 with his brother Greg

Coaches. Professors. Fathers of close friends. There were many important men in my life, but no one really filled the gap my biological father left.

Dad left when I was ten, after my parents divorced. But really, he was “absent” all along. At home, detached and closed. My five siblings and I seemed invisible, an inconvenience. When asked about family history, our grandparents particularly, Dad refused to answer. We were forbidden, in fact, from asking.

And then Arnold “Arne” Böcker entered my life — the father of my wife. READ MORE