Yesterday I was privileged to attend the funeral service for a man that I deeply respected. I learned a lot about leadership from Dr. Phil Sims. But my favorite “Phil story” has more to do with his role as a father…
I am a pretty big guy, but Phil towered me. I felt like a little boy in first grade standing next to him. He was also very intelligent, so to say that he could be intimidating is understatement.
As legend has it, Phil’s son sneaked out of out of the house through the bedroom window during his rebellious teenage years. Aaron thought he had pulled off the perfect crime until he returned home late that night. Apparently Aaron’s bed was situated right next to the window. When he crawled back through the window he put his foot down on what he thought would be the awaiting mattress…How wrong he was….His came through the window and his foot rested on the body of his imposing father. Medics should have been on standby that evening, because there is no doubt in my mind that his heart jumped into his throat.
As I reflect on Phil’s life, it occurs to me that being stepped on is an integral part of fatherhood. Phil stretched out on his son’s bed and waited for his arrival because he loved him. I find myself today more than willing to be stepped on if it will help my sons. They may step on my heart at times, but that is not a problem. Fathers have to be big boys, if they are going to raise well-adjusted children. My boys may step all over my billfold too. That is not a problem. My sons are all gone from home now, so buying them a steak dinner sounds really appealing. And they step on my thought processes too. What father doesn’t think of the well-being of his children constantly? I know I will continue to be stepped on for years to come, but I am just grateful to be a father.
Phil was a good role model to me as a dad. He was a man of genuine conviction. He took fatherhood very seriously. He loved his daughter-in-law and son-in-law as if they were his own. And no one beamed like Phil when the subject of grandchildren came up. I will miss him a lot, but I am reminded today that being stepped on is indeed an integral part of fatherhood.