A Great Man – Nicole’s Story
Splash Mountain was my favorite ride at Disneyland and I was not willing to delay the experience – even for something as necessary as going to the bathroom. Despite the obvious, long, line, I convinced myself that I could wait. The line wove through the dark, damp corridors of the artificial rock formations and after waiting over an hour, our family of five climbed into the log boat. By the second verse of the “How do you do?” song, I was beginning to feel the effects of the ride’s rushing waters and realized I had made a mistake in postponing a trip to the bathroom.
I wet my pants.
Our log boat meandered through the river of songs and mechanical characters, but I was more focused on my personal situation. How could I have wet my pants? At eight years old, I was young, but definitely too old to be wetting my pants on a ride! I knew this was a situation that could have been easily avoided and I was embarrassed.
As we climbed the hill toward the final drop, I was praying that the ride’s “grand finale” would soak me from head to toe, disguising my very obvious accident. But the thrilling drop offered no help. The rest of my body remained completely dry. As the boat rounded the final corner of the ride, I began to panic, realizing that my accident would be obvious to everyone when I climbed out of the boat at the end of the ride. I was humiliated by the thought alone.
My two younger sisters were sitting up front with my mom. And I sat with my dad right behind me in the back of the boat. Besides my wet pants, both of us were completely dry. The loading zone was fast approaching. I had to tell him.
“Dad!” I urgently whispered. “…I wet my pants!”
I waited as my dad considered the situation. I wasn’t quite sure what he would say. I knew I had made a mistake. But rather than a lecture, my dad gave me a look of compassion – a look that let me know he knew how I was feeling. We had about a minute before we had to get out of the boat, so he had to act fast. Without a word, he reached over the side, cupped his hands, and began scooping water onto himself and me until we both were completely soaked. By the time it was our turn to climb out of the boat, we stood on the platform and my dad exclaimed in an excited tone loud enough for everyone to hear, “We got soaked!” as he gave me a wink and a reassuring smile.
As my small hand slipped into my dad’s, I walked up the ramp feeling so loved and so secure. I tucked the experience away in my heart and I’ve never forgotten it. My dad has taught me many things throughout my life. He taught me how to do the things I love to do like skiing and riding a bike. He taught me to never be afraid of hard work and trying my best and that comparison was never a good idea.
But I am most grateful not for what he taught me with his words, but what he showed me with his example of love. In the midst of a culture that values a flawless image, independence, and personal success, my dad showed me that real leadership looks more like servant hood.
He showed me that real greatness is about making others feel great and that real love is about sacrifice.
My dad showed me what a great man looks like. He taught me that a strong man is a man who knows his weakness and depends on Christ for his strength. He showed me that a great man doesn’t live for his own glory, but to glorify God. A great man puts the person before the plan. A great man puts others first.
Years later, my dad’s example made it easy for me to spot another wonderful man – a man that is already an amazing daddy to our son James. And our prayer is that with God’s help, we can raise James to understand the very things that we have been shown through our own dads – that strength is more about God’s strength in our weakness and that real love looks a lot like sacrificing for those around you.