There’s this scene in the movie, “Rocky Balboa” that gives me chills every time I see it. In this scene, Rocky is standing just outside a restaurant with his son. His son expresses anger toward his father for being in his father’s shadow. Here is what Rocky said in return:
“You ain’t gonna believe this, but you used to fit right here. I’d hold you up and say to your mother: “This kid is gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid is gonna be somebody better than anybody ever knew.” And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watching, every day was like a privilege. Then the time comes for you to be your own man and take on the world… and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame… like a big shadow. Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are… it will beat you to your knees and keep you there if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit… and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! If you know what you’re worth, go and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers… saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him or her or anybody! Cowards do that, and that ain’t you! You’re better than that! I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, you ain’t gonna have a life.”
I love this speech because I think every man needs this talk at least once in his life. How easy it is for us men to be pulled away from what we know to be true! Can you relate to the son? Have you ever found yourself pointing fingers and throwing yourself to the ground in defeat? Have you bought into the lie that you are no good?
I’m asking these questions because I keep having the same talk over and over again with fathers (and with myself) about buying into what the world thinks of us. Day after day, I sit with men who have found themselves so ashamed of who they are that they have become completely shut down. Why does the world get to tell us how much value we have? Are they going to put in the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to care for our families? Are they going to be there for us when we can’t find the strength to keep going, but we know that we have to? No!!! Then why should their opinion of us matter? Listening to every bit of criticism the world has to offer won’t make you a “perfect father.” In fact, let me share some truth with you- there are no perfect fathers. We are all blundering our way through fatherhood. We are all learning, and growing, and making mistakes. If anyone is telling you they have it all figured out, then move along- they are trying to feed you a lie. Being a Rock Solid Father does not mean that you have it all together. Eventually, we are all going to fall short of the expectations the world has for us, and the expectations we have for ourselves. We are all going to take a few hits from time to time. But remember, as Rocky said, “it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” To be a Rock Solid Father, you must be willing to stay strong when other fathers are caving in under the lies they choose to believe. Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Keep moving forward!