“Encouragement is the fuel that powers our efforts to engage, educate, and equip. Nothing does more to lubricate the rough spots than a good dose of encouragement.”-Tony Dungy “The Mentor Leader”

 It started off like any other day at the gym. I got out of my car, grabbed my gym bag from the back seat and walked towards the entrance. As I came to the first set of double doors, two young girls (the oldest no more than 10 and the youngest no more than 7) came running up behind me, I am assuming they were racing to the front door like kids normally do, when I hear the oldest one yell “Dad, hurry, we want to get in!” In my mind I was thinking, “Wow, these young ladies really want to get to the day care section or youth basketball”.

I move through the second set of double doors and hold them for the girls so they can sit in the lobby waiting for their dad and I to sign in. While walking through I see the typical high school athletes working out in the weight room, watching themselves in the mirror lifting a little more than they could handle; an older gentleman getting help from a physical trainer; and youth basketball in the gym across the hall. I continue walking to the cardio room and this is where the typical day changes.

I step up on the treadmill to start my normal 30 minute run, which turns into 20 or 25, and the oldest girl comes through the doors with her dad by her side. She steps up on the treadmill next to me and starts walking for a few minutes and goes to her dad to see what he’s doing. I am pretty pleased to see this, so I smile a bit. Then, my cardio time is finished, so I walk to the weight room and the athletes are gone, but the older gentleman is still there. I begin lifting and all of a sudden the dad and the daughter come walking in together and you can see there is a plan. They start doing a forearm workout then, he helps her through a shoulder exercise, and moves on to doing leg exercises. All the while I am watching this occur, I am still lifting, but I was and still am very encouraged by what I was watching.

I was wrapping up my workout and I couldn’t help but feel the need to go and talk to this man. So, for those of you that know me, this was not something hard to do and I asked him “Is this your daughter?” (Tried not to sound creepy) and he replied “Yes” (in a, you-better- not-be-a-creeper way). I then said “I want to let you know I think it is awesome to see this. It is not every day a dad…” he then interrupted and said “gets quality time. It is awesome.” To which I replied with “Yeah, quality time is great, but I wanted to say gets encouraged for being a dad. So, I just want to say, great job on being a dad.” He smiled heartily and said “Thanks!” As I walked away I heard him tell his daughter “That was awesome” and his daughter then said “YEAH Dad!” (I think I heard them high five too).

There were three people encouraged that day, the father being recognized as a father, the daughter recognized that she has an involved dad, and me knowing that I am going to do that too and there are men out there taking responsibility as the dad God has allowed them to be.

To all of the dad’s out there doing their job, well done! To all who know dad’s doing their job, encourage them because they may not be getting it very often! To mom’s, well, we all know you are awesome! Keep up the good work!

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