Tell us about a father or father-figure in your life who have changed the way you show up in the world! 

I grew up with an alcoholic mother who is physically and emotionally abusive to myself and my three siblings. I’ve written a book about this. I’m also a Keynote speaker sharing how humor save my life. In writing my book, and sharing how I am a daddy’s girl, my memories clarified that while my father never harmed me, he never stopped the harm. He’s a kind man who by proxy allowed the abuse to happen. He would fade away and just not be around. But it took decades of living and compiling stories into book form to realize this. My writing still portrays him as a hero in my life but there’s no denying things could’ve gone completely better had he stepped up into protecting us. I saved my very first book to hand to my father. In his 80s, his response was “why would you write about all that stuff?” I responded, very disappointed, “It’s my story.” And he said, “But all of that is in the past.” To which I stated, “It’s where I came from, Dad. My past made me who I am today.”

Was their impact on your life positive or negative? Why? 

I always thought it was positive until writing my book, and then realized the glaring negativity.What are the biggest lessons you learned from this person or people? *I learned to not turn away from rough situations, that hope is not an actionable response and to protect my children.

How do you plan on using what you learned (or how are you using what you learned) in your life now? (whether as a parent or in business, relationships etc.) 

I did not continue the cycle of how I was parented. I share my story openly and have been thanked for my bravery. I didn’t expect that feedback, but I’m honored to have helped even one other person.

What would you want other people to know about showing up as a father based on your experiences? 

Protect your children. It’s OK to leave an unstable marriage if it means your children could have a more stable childhood.

Any other stories you want to share about this person or people? 

I do get along with my father currently And we have talked about the past. I’m glad to have had the difficult conversations as adults. I adore my father and understand where he came from. It was a different time I am proud to say I inherited my sense of humor and passion for storytelling from my dad.

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Written by Lisa David Olson

Lisa David Olson is a TEDx Speaker and Business Humorist. She is an Interactive Speaker and Author with a solid message about the health of humor. She helps businesses and individuals reignite their ideas. 💡