The Italian Job: Comments on the First Legacy Dad Weekend.

The Merchant’s Take Anticipation, uncertainty and excitement would be the words that I would use to describe my initial thoughts coming into this past weekend.  Without speaking for the other two, for me it was not only a place and time to finally put a face with the name, but to really look at the eyes and wisdom of the other two and see if they shared the same faith and desire for creating  the legacy that I desire with my children.  The Cowboy clearly met my expectations in that he was both oddly unique (showing up at the airport in leather chaps and a cowboy hat) and also real in his walk – may I say very transparent.  The cowboy has a past that intrigues me from the start, not only a fighter pilot in the Vietnam War (the F4 Phantom), but also an aid to the Reagan Administration, of course he had me at hello!  What really stood out was his desire to be real with his faith but also with his family and friends – what you see is what you get.  What I also noticed was a sense of the mature Christian, that is, a humility that can only be defined as such.

Now for the Warrior, what can I say?  His reputation alone was an anticipation and intimidation.  What I mean to say is that I really love the guy’s heart.  He puts it out there on his website and he is not afraid to tell you like it is.  We have all made mistakes, yet at the same time, even in our weakness we can see God’s hand at work in his life.  He has an ultimate desire and that is to create a legacy – a life long faith with his family and friends.  As for the Warrior, in my opinion, he is all that and more.  When you peer through his eyes you say a genuine desire to be that leader for his wife and for his kids.  His desire is to create an environment for us all to succeed and to learn and grow from our mistakes.  That is the beautifully thing about redemption, what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger.  What is forgiven and repented of, can only create freedom that is given from above.

My take away from this weekend is that like minded men came together and rode horses, smoked cigars and sat beach side drinking red wine and discussed our likes and dislikes and our stories.  The wonderful thing about our life is that we each have our own individual story and that with a little faith we can do great things through a God that does wonders.  I believe in friendship and I believe in kindred spirits and I can tell you that after this past weekend it was worth every cent.  We all need true friendship and accountability.  I would like to personally thank the Cowboy and the Warrior for making my initial thoughts wane as true friendship emerged after this weekend.

The Cowboy’s take:

What an immense pleasure to actually meet up with and embrace my two partners of Legacy Dad.  There is an uplifting irony in this.  For all the questionable dynamics of the two-dimensional world as seen through the eyes of pre-Internet generations, our blog, Tweets, and FB did a very old fashioned thing; it brought us together.  Three lives across a wide spectrum of age, geography, and professions would not have otherwise met.  My life would be slightly less rich if we’d not made the cyber connection.  It would be a lot less rich if we’d not met on the beach cottage in SoCal.

I think our meeting breathes something important into the lives of fathers today; our own and our dad pals on Legacy Dad.  Fathering is best done NOT alone.  It’s a team sport.  Since it’s not about us but about our children, our legacy, maybe pulling out all the stops is the right approach.  That includes connecting with other dads.  Not so much for the “How To’s” but for the encouragement, for the discussion of bedrock principles, for just not feeling alone and overwhelmed by marriage, work, and parenting.  I’m a grandfather, so my take-away is different.  I see the value of elder fathers imprint on current child-raisers.  That’s where Generational Fathering (my book in progress) is going. Then there is value of seeing and feeling the joys and conflicts of fully engaged young dads.  Refreshing and instructional; I’ve gained insights I can pass along to my own and other young fathers who seek me out.

The Warrior’s Take

This weekend was one of great excitement, bonding and learning.  The merchant and the cowboy have kept me afloat when my life was in three different time zones and I owe them a sincere debt of gratitude.  I learned I need to get around more like-minded, strong Christian men not only to associate with but also to push myself further in my faith and my life as a man.  Drinks with the colleagues, fantasy leagues and Sunday Football is only skin deep and does not address the core issues that many men face.

We have to get around men who are equal or greater to us on wisdom, experience, life lessons and faith.  I was able to share my heart with these guys without fear of judgment or condemnation.  We were able to be transparent and talk about real issues such as marriage; infidelity and where are lives were really going.  This type of relationship is not just some touchy-feely group therapy gambit but true adult maturity and manhood at its core.  If we cannot be honest and accountability with our peers for our actions then what type of life are we living? I took away a great deal of knowledge and wisdom from both of these men and also realized some areas in my life that need more attending to.  Above all, I walked away from this weekend with the knowledge that I have two friends who can count on me and I know I can count on them whatever the situation may be.

I also want to give a sincere thanks to Kim at OltreMare for her great hospitality and her excellent food and drink selections.