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Editor’s note: Tune into KSL or BYU Radio or listen to rebroadcasts of a BYU Devotional or Women’s Conference talk and you may recognize their voices. To many, Brad Wilcox and Matt Townsend are well known as engaging speakers and authors. To Whitney Wilcox and Sarah Townsend Davies, however, the two men, first and foremost, are their dads. With Father’s Day coming up, these daughters share five life lessons they have learned from their dads. Both Sarah and Whitney are reporters for The Universe. Matt Townsend is a popular radio personality and relationship coach. Brad Wilcox is a professor of teacher education at Brigham Young University. The following came from personal experiences.
1) If you can laugh at it, you can live with it
My dad has a great sense of humor. He likes to tell a story about when I was little and I asked him, “Who do I take after — you or mom?” He said, “Who do you think?” I replied, “Both of you. I take after Mom ’cause I’m nice, and you ’cause I talk a lot.”
2) Stick your neck out
When I was 12 my dad was called to be a mission president in Chile. That meant moving to a foreign country for three years right during middle school. I was not thrilled at the prospect of leaving my friends and learning Spanish. My dad was patient. Before we left he told me that a turtle doesn’t get anywhere by staying in its shell. He has to stick his neck out. I reflected on that thought often as I made the transition to my new home, and I continue to reflect on it each time I have done things that have stretched me out of my comfort zone.
3) There’s always a way, but it doesn’t all have to happen today
Growing up I had a new dream and goal every day. One day I wanted to be an author, the next a gourmet chef and the next a world-famous dancer. One day when I was younger I felt discouraged, not knowing how I would do everything I wanted to do. My dad would remind me that I could do anything. I just had to take it a day at a time. That’s how he has lived his life. His latest book, “The 7-day Christian,” is his first book aimed beyond an LDS readership. That has been a dream of his for a long time. He continues to fulfill his dreams one day at a time and helps me do the same.
4) Learn to juggle
My dad is the busiest man I know, and sometimes it’s hard for him to find time to do it all. Some people say that the solution is to prioritize or balance. My dad says those don’t work for him. It’s easier for him to think of juggling. When my life gets busy I think about my dad. He always tries to keep his relationship with God first and then trusts God to let him know what needs to come second, third or fourth. He says it usually changes from day to day and even hour to hour. He has learned which balls he can let drop for a little bit while he picks up another. I am trying to do the same.
5) Hug everyone
If you’re familiar with my dad you know that he doesn’t just hug. He HUGS. I think his life motto must be, “If it moves, hug it.” He loves everybody and has a way of making people feel special. He’s taught me that loving people is most important.
Bottom line: Dads are great! Brad Wilcox’s next adventure is directing BYU’s 2015 winter study abroad to Spain. Townsend is busy heading The Townsend Relationship Center.