Letters From A Father To His Daughter Quotes

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Dear Deborah, Words do not come easily for so many men. We are taught to be strong, to provide, to put away our emotions. A father can work his way through his days and never see that his years are going by. If I could go back in time, I would say some things to that young father as he holds, somewhat uncertainly, his daughter for the very first time. These are the things I would say: When you hear the first whimper in the night, go to the nursery leaving your wife sleeping. Rock in a chair, walk the floor, sing a lullaby so that she will know a man can be gentle. When Mother is away for the evening, come home from work, do the babysitting. Learn to cook a hotdog or a pot of spaghetti, so that your daughter will know a man can serve another's needs. When she performs in school plays or dances in recitals, arrive early, sit in the front seat, devote your full attention. Clap the loudest, so that she will know a man can have eyes only for her. When she asks for a tree house, don't just build it, but build it with her. Sit high among the branches and talk about clouds, and caterpillars, and leaves. Ask her about her dreams and wait for her answers, so that she will know a man can listen. When you pass by her door as she dresses for a date, tell her she is beautiful. Take her on a date yourself. Open doors, buy flowers, look her in the eye, so that she will know a man can respect her. When she moves away from home, send a card, write a note, call on the phone. If something reminds you of her, take a minute to tell her, so that she will know a man can think of her even when she is away. Tell her you love her, so that she will know a man can say the words. If you hurt her, apologize, so that she will know a man can admit that he's wrong. These seem like such small things, such a fraction of time in the course of two lives. But a thread does not require much space. It can be too fine for the eye to see, yet, it is the very thing that binds, that takes pieces and laces them into a whole. Without it, there are tatters. It is never too late for a man to learn to stitch, to begin mending. These are the things I would tell that young father, if I could. A daughter grown up quickly. There isn't time to waste. I love you, Dad
Lisa Wingate (Dandelion Summer (Blue Sky Hill #4))
Since you haven’t got a name,” he said. “I guess you can pick one for yourself. Would you like to pick one for me to write down?” She stopped rocking and looked at him. “I can do that? It’s legal and everything?” He smiled. “It’s a free country again,” he said. “At least in theory.” She nodded. “And when I pick a name it can be any name I want?” He nodded. “What’s your name?” “Victor,” he said. “Vic, for short.” “Okay,” she said, leaning forward and taking the pad from under his large thing hands. “How do you spell that?” He spelled it and she wrote it down. Her handwriting was perfectly small and legible. “Can I be Victor, too?” she said, looking up from the pad. He smirked. “It’s a boy’s name,” he said. “You’re a girl. You have to add an i and an a to the end if you want to make it a girl’s name.” She looked down at the name she had written and added the letters i and a to the end. “Victoria,” she said, passing the notepad back to the cop. “Hello, Victoria,” he said, smiling, taking the pad and pen back and presenting his hand for a shake. “It’s nice to meet you, officially.
Benjamin R. Smith (Atlas)
Speech therapy is an art that deserves to be more widely known. You cannot imagine the acrobatics your tongue mechanically performs in order to produce all the sounds of a language. Just now I am struggling with the letter l, a pitiful admission for an editor in chief who cannot even pronounce the name of his own magazine! On good days, between coughing fits, I muster enough energy and wind to be able to puff out one or two phonemes. On my birthday, Sandrine managed to get me to pronounce the whole alphabet more or less intelligibly. I could not have had a better present. It was as if those twenty-six letters and been wrenched from the void; my own hoarse voice seemed to emanate from a far-off country. The exhausting exercise left me feeling like a caveman discovering language for the first time. Sometimes the phone interrupts our work, and I take advantage of Sandrine's presence to be in touch with loved ones, to intercept and catch passing fragments of life, the way you catch a butterfly. My daughter, Celeste, tells me of her adventures with her pony. In five months she will be nine. My father tells me how hard it is to stay on his feet. He is fighting undaunted through his ninety-third year. These two are the outer links of the chain of love that surrounds and protects me. I often wonder about the effect of these one-way conversations on those at the other end of the line. I am overwhelmed by them. How dearly I would love to be able to respond with something other than silence to these tender calls. I know that some of them find it unbearable. Sweet Florence refuses to speak to me unless I first breathe noisily into the receiver that Sandrine holds glued to my ear. "Are you there, Jean-Do?" she asks anxiously over the air. And I have to admit that at times I do not know anymore.
Jean-Dominique Bauby (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)
Nancy drove to River Heights and dropped George and Bess at their homes. In a few minutes she reached her own brick colonial house, which set back from the street and was reached by a curving driveway. Mr. Drew’s sporty sedan rolled in right behind her. “Hello, Nancy,” the lawyer greeted his daughter fondly. “I came home early today—had a rather hard session in court.” Nancy and her father strolled through the garden. “Dad, let’s sit down here,” she suggested after a few moments, indicating a stone bench. “I have something to show you.” “A letter from Ned Nickerson?” he teased. “Or is it from a new admirer?” Nancy laughed. “Neither. It’s something I copied today from part of a map of a treasure island!
Carolyn Keene (The Quest of the Missing Map (Nancy Drew, #19))
No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her. Her father was a clergyman, without being neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name was Richard — and he had never been handsome. He had a considerable independence besides two good livings — and he was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters. Her mother was a woman of useful plain sense, with a good temper, and, what is more remarkable, with a good constitution. She had three sons before Catherine was born; and instead of dying in bringing the latter into the world, as anybody might expect, she still lived on — lived to have six children more — to see them growing up around her, and to enjoy excellent health herself. A family of ten children will be always called a fine family, where there are heads and arms and legs enough for the number; but the Morlands had little other right to the word, for they were in general very plain, and Catherine, for many years of her life, as plain as any. She had a thin awkward figure, a sallow skin without colour, dark lank hair, and strong features — so much for her person; and not less unpropitious for heroism seemed her mind. She was fond of all boy's plays, and greatly preferred cricket not merely to dolls, but to the more heroic enjoyments of infancy, nursing a dormouse, feeding a canary-bird, or watering a rose-bush. Indeed she had no taste for a garden; and if she gathered flowers at all, it was chiefly for the pleasure of mischief — at least so it was conjectured from her always preferring those which she was forbidden to take. Such were her propensities — her abilities were quite as extraordinary. She never could learn or understand anything before she was taught; and sometimes not even then, for she was often inattentive, and occasionally stupid. Her mother was three months in teaching her only to repeat the "Beggar's Petition"; and after all, her next sister, Sally, could say it better than she did. Not that Catherine was always stupid — by no means; she learnt the fable of "The Hare and Many Friends" as quickly as any girl in England. Her mother wished her to learn music; and Catherine was sure she should like it, for she was very fond of tinkling the keys of the old forlorn spinner; so, at eight years old she began. She learnt a year, and could not bear it; and Mrs. Morland, who did not insist on her daughters being accomplished in spite of incapacity or distaste, allowed her to leave off. The day which dismissed the music-master was one of the happiest of Catherine's life. Her taste for drawing was not superior; though whenever she could obtain the outside of a letter from her mother or seize upon any other odd piece of paper, she did what she could in that way, by drawing houses and trees, hens and chickens, all very much like one another. Writing and accounts she was taught by her father; French by her mother: her proficiency in either was not remarkable, and she shirked her lessons in both whenever she could. What a strange, unaccountable character! — for with all these symptoms of profligacy at ten years old, she had neither a bad heart nor a bad temper, was seldom stubborn, scarcely ever quarrelsome, and very kind to the little ones, with few interruptions of tyranny; she was moreover noisy and wild, hated confinement and cleanliness, and loved nothing so well in the world as rolling down the green slope at the back of the house.
Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)
Why don’t you ever tell me about my real parents? You’re scared they’ll love me more than you do.” “Asha, we’ve already told you,” her mom says in a cracking voice. “We don’t know anything about them. That’s just the way things worked in India back then.” “And why don’t you ever take me to India? Every other Indian kid I know goes all the time. What is it, Dad—are you ashamed of me? I’m not good enough for your family?” Asha stares at her father, looking down at his hands clenched so tightly the knuckles are drained of color. “It’s not fair.” Asha can’t hold back the tears now. “Everyone else knows where they come from, but I have no idea. I don’t know why I have these eyes that everybody always notices. I don’t know how to deal with this damn hair of mine,” she yells, clenching it in her fist. “I don’t know why I can remember every seven-letter Scrabble word, but none of the periodic table. I just want to feel that someone, somewhere, really understands me!
Shilpi Somaya Gowda (Secret Daughter)
I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death. Can you consent to all this, for the sake of him who left his heavenly home, and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, inmortal souls; for the sake of Zion, and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with the crown of righteousness, brightened with the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Saviour from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair? - Adorinam Hudson, a letter to the father of Nancy Hasseltine, his future wife.
Courtney Anderson (To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson)
He was especially fond of Svetlana, who was a promising student and very attached to her father. He began to play a little game with his daughter, calling her khoziaika (which could be translated as “housekeeper” or “the boss”) while he played the role of the sekretarishka (little secretary) who followed her orders: “Setanka-Housekeeper’s wretched Secretary, the poor peasant J. Stalin.” Svetlana would write out orders for her father: “I order you to let me go to Zubalovo tomorrow”; “I order you to take me to the theater with you”; “I order you to let me go to the movies. Ask them to show Chapaev and an American comedy.” Stalin responded with facetious pomposity.21 Other members of Stalin’s inner circle were appointed Svetlana’s sekretarishkas, playing along with the vozhd. “Svetlana the housekeeper will be in Moscow on 27 August. She is demanding permission to leave early for Moscow so that she can check on her secretaries,” Stalin wrote to Kaganovich from the south on 19 August 1935. Kaganovich replied on 31 August: “Today I reported to our boss Svetlana on our work, she seemed to deem it satisfactory.”22 Until the war began, father and daughter exchanged affectionate letters. “I give you a big hug, my little sparrow,” he wrote to her, as he had once written to his wife.23
Oleg V. Khlevniuk (Stalin: New Biography of a Dictator)
She remembers her name. She remembers the name of the president. She remembers the name of the president’s dog. She remembers what city she lives in. And on which street. And in which house. The one with the big olive tree where the road takes a turn. She remembers what year it is. She remembers the season. She remembers the day on which you were born. She remembers the daughter who was born before you – She had your father’s nose, that was the first thing I noticed about her – but she does not remember that daughter’s name. She remembers the name of the man she did not marry – Frank – and she keeps his letters in a drawer by her bed. She remembers that you once had a husband, but she refuses to remember your ex-husband’s name. That man, she calls him. She does not remember how she got the bruises on her arms or going for a walk with you earlier this morning. She does not remember bending over, during that walk, and plucking a flower from a neighbour’s front yard and slipping it into her hair. Maybe your father will kiss me now. She does not remember what she ate for dinner last night, or when she last took her medicine. She does not remember to drink enough water. She does not remember to comb her hair. She remembers the rows of dried persimmons that once hung from the eaves of her mother’s house in Berkeley. They were the most beautiful shade of orange. She remembers that your father loves peaches. She remembers that every Sunday morning, at ten, he takes her for a drive down to the sea in the brown car. She remembers that every evening, right before the eight o’clock news, he sets two fortune cookies on a paper plate and announces to her that they are having a party. She remembers that on Mondays he comes home from the college at four, and if he is even five minutes late she goes out to the gate and begins to wait for him. She remembers which bedroom is hers and which is his. She remembers that the bedroom that is now hers was once yours. She remembers that it wasn’t always like this...
Julie Otsuka
He stared at it in utter disbelief while his secretary, Peters, who’d only been with him for a fortnight, muttered a silent prayer of gratitude for the break and continued scribbling as fast as he could, trying futilely to catch up with his employer’s dictation. “This,” said Ian curtly, “was sent to me either by mistake or as a joke. In either case, it’s in excruciatingly bad taste.” A memory of Elizabeth Cameron flickered across Ian’s mind-a mercenary, shallow litter flirt with a face and body that had drugged his mind. She’d been betrothed to a viscount when he’d met her. Obviously she hadn’t married her viscount-no doubt she’d jilted him in favor of someone with even better prospects. The English nobility, as he well knew, married only for prestige and money, then looked elsewhere for sexual fulfillment. Evidently Elizabeth Cameron’s relatives were putting her back on the marriage block. If so, they must be damned eager to unload her if they were willing to forsake a title for Ian’s money…That line of conjecture seemed so unlikely that Ian dismissed it. This note was obviously a stupid prank, perpetrated, no doubt, by someone who remembered the gossip that had exploded over that weekend house party-someone who thought he’d find the note amusing. Completely dismissing the prankster and Elizabeth Cameron from his mind, Ian glanced at his harassed secretary who was frantically scribbling away. “No reply is necessary,” he said. As he spoke he flipped the message across his desk toward his secretary, but the white parchment slid across the polished oak and floated to the floor. Peters made an awkward dive to catch it, but as he lurched sideways all the other correspondence that went with his dictation slid off his lap onto the floor. “I-I’m sorry, sir,” he stammered, leaping up and trying to collect the dozens of pieces of paper he’d scattered on the carpet. “Extremely sorry, Mr. Thornton,” he added, frantically snatching up contracts, invitations and letters and shoving them into a disorderly pile. His employer appeared not to hear him. He was already rapping out more instructions and passing the corresponding invitations and letters across the desk. “Decline the first three, accept the fourth, decline the fifth. Send my condolences on this one. On this one, explain that I’m going to be in Scotland, and send an invitation to join me there, along with directions to the cottage.” Clutching the papers to his chest, Peters poked his face up on the opposite side of the desk. “Yes, Mr. Thornton!” he said, trying to sound confident. But it was hard to be confident when one was on one’s knees. Harder still when one wasn’t entirely certain which instructions of the morning went with which invitation or piece of correspondence. Ian Thornton spent the rest of the afternoon closeted with Peters, heaping more dictation on the inundated clerk. He spent the evening with the Earl of Melbourne, his future father-in-law, discussing the earl’s daughter and himself. Peters spent part of his evening trying to learn from the butler which invitations his employer was likely to accept or reject.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
equaled her brilliant sister in the classroom. She used to pretend it didn’t matter during the years she and Abigail attended Miss Madinsky’s school together. Alongside the pampered daughters of judges and senators and foreign dignitaries, she would sit with her hands folded atop her desk, her mouth reciting words by rote while her mind wandered a thousand miles away, to distant lands and places in the heart where all fathers were attentive, all lessons were easy and all mothers were alive. Only as an adult did she understand the price of her inability. To her great shame, Helena had never learned to read. Words on a page had always been indecipherable symbols. As a girl, she got by on charm and pretense. She had learned early on that a brilliant smile, a flattering remark, a pointed question had the power to divert even the sturdiest tutor from his task. As a young woman, she found ways to circumvent her shortcoming. There was always someone—her father’s secretary, the housekeeper, her sister—to read things aloud to her because she always managed to be too tired, too busy, too…something. An excuse always came to mind. Soon after William was born, she vowed to learn, and she had even studied old school primers and practiced drawing the letters
Susan Wiggs (ENCHANTED AFTERNOON: A Regency Romance (The Calhoun Chronicles Book 4))
Natalie’s mother made her way to the podium, clutching a piece of paper. Her face was wet, but her voice was solid when she began speaking. “This is a letter to Natalie, my only daughter.” She took a shaky breath and the words streamed out. “Natalie, you were my dearest girl. I can’t believe you have been taken from us. Never again will I sing you to sleep or tickle your back with my fingers. Never again will your brother get to twirl your pigtails, or your father hold you on his lap. Your father will not walk you down the aisle. Your brother will never be an uncle. We will miss you at our Sunday dinners and our summer vacations. We will miss your laughter. We will miss your tears. Mostly, my dear daughter, we will miss you. We love you, Natalie.
Gillian Flynn (Sharp Objects)
In one of his rare interviews, Peter Mayer, Penguin’s chief executive, praised the bravery of everyone in the book trade who had defended his right to publish, but then told a bleak story about how strangers treated his family. He had received many death threats. Someone went to the trouble to cut themselves and send him a letter scrawled in blood. An anonymous telephone caller told Mayer that ‘not only would they kill me but that they would take my daughter and smash her head against a concrete wall’. Far from rallying to defend an innocent girl and her innocent father, the parents of her classmates demanded that the school expel her. What would happen, they asked, if the Iranian assassins went to the school and got the wrong girl? And Mayer thought, ‘You think my daughter is the right girl?
Nick Cohen (You Can't Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom)
When I had the revelation of Jesus, He spoke to me about having a new identity in Him, and that He was going to give me a new name. I was being made new, and I understood the words from 2 Corinthians 5:17—“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (NIV). Names are very significant in Middle-Eastern culture. I believe they represent nature and are prophetic. What you are called, you are destined to become. In Genesis 17:5 God changed Abram’s name (meaning “Exalted Father”) to Abraham, meaning “Father of many”—this was his inheritance. The Lord also changed his wife’s name from Sarai to Sarah (verse 15). Sarai means “Argumentative,” but then God changed the last two letters to ah, a symbol of His breath. The ah of Jehovah makes Sarai new. Her identity is changed: Sarah means “Princess.” She is the daughter of the King. Jesus also renewed the names of His disciples, especially the three closest to Him, including Simon to Peter the Rock.
Samaa Habib (Face to Face with Jesus: A Former Muslim's Extraordinary Journey to Heaven and Encounter with the God of Love)
Now git goin thru that screen door before I use it as a weapon. You're just a witless fool. That's what you are, a fool, Mae Mae said, shaking her head as if she had just discovered truth. An' put a log on that fire for me on your way out. Make yourself useful for something but misery. Cause you messed with the wrong MaMae. Look in my eyes. Philip, in all of his dejection and correction, had to look with respect. Yes, maam, he said sheepishly looking up from from the pine floor into her narrow, serious eyes. See I see right thru ya, she said, noddin her chin and holding her eyes like fire into his soul. An' the motives of your heart are stinkin up the place. I don't want the kids to smell it when they wake up from their naps. I don't know what's wrong with your generation. Missing men. No fathers. It disgusts me. At least in my time, women got some respect an alimony. An my daughter's got six kids and broke. But yours, they just gone missing. Hiding up in the woods with some women. Or abscounding to your cousin Satchie's trailer. Not supportin' them kids. Goin to jail. Servin their selves instead of the One who made 'em. It ain't no man problem, it's a sin probl'm. An people my age just sick that none of yall, no not one, know the capital letters of RESPONSIBILITY. Now take your lies and country jeans an drive down the gravel cause you ain't welcome here no more. The screen is locked, Ma Mae shouted as Philip walked blankly out the door.
Toni Orrill
At the end of March 1850, the long-deferred marriage of Mrs. Browning’s sister, Henrietta, to Captain Surtees Cook took place. It is of interest here mainly as illustrating Mr. Barrett’s behaviour to his daughters. An application for his consent only elicited the pronouncement, ‘If Henrietta marries you, she turns her back on this house for ever,’ and a letter to Henrietta herself reproaching her with the ‘insult’ she had offered him in asking his consent when she had evidently made up her mind to the conclusion, and declaring that, if she married, her name should never again be mentioned in his presence. The marriage having thereupon taken place, his decision was forthwith put into practice, and a second child was thenceforward an exile from her father’s house.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Complete Works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning)
It is far more likely Mary found a new position and simply decided to leave us. I suspect we'll get a letter from her in the mail eventually asking for her back wages." "Which you won't pay." "Which Papa won't pay. He won't be happy about this at all. I cannot think of a way to conceal what has happened from him. He'll be sure to blame me in some fashion." "It is hardly your fault if one of the maids decides to change employment, Lucy," Anna said robustly. "You'll just have to stand up for yourself." Lucy bit back her hasty reply. It was easy for Anna to suggest she should be more forthright with their father when she was his favorite child, and not the oldest daughter of the house whose duty had been laid out for her from the cradle. Even now, when she knew her father's air of authority hid only his appalling selfishness, she still hadn't found a way to break free of his oft-expressed expectations. What had once been unquestioning obedience had slowly turned into a bitter and unexpressed resentment she had to conceal to avoid telling him her true feelings.
Catherine Lloyd (Death Comes to the Village (Kurland St. Mary Mystery, #1))
Even more interesting perhaps is the gallery of Roman ladies, whose portraits are limned with so fine and discriminating a touch. Juvenal again is responsible for much misconception as to the part the women of Rome played in Roman society. The appalling Sixth Satire, in which he unhesitatingly declares that most women — if not all — are bad, and that virtue and chastity are so rare as to be almost unknown, in which he roundly accuses them of all the vices known to human depravity, reads like a monstrous and disgraceful libel on the sex when one turns to Pliny and makes the acquaintance of Arria, Fannia, Corellia, and Calpurnia. The characters of Arria and Fannia are well known; they are among the heroines of history. But in Pliny there are numerous references to women whose names are not even known to us, but the terms in which they are referred to prove what sweet, womanly lives they led. For example, he writes to Geminus: “Our friend Macrinus has suffered a grievous wound. He has lost his wife, who would have been regarded as a model of all the virtues even if she had lived in the good old days. He lived with her for thirty-nine years, without so much as a single quarrel or disagreement.” “Vixit cum hac triginta novem annis sine jurgio, sine offensa. One is reminded of the fine line of Propertius, in which Cornelia boasts of the blameless union of herself and her husband, Paullus — “Viximus insignes inter utramque facem.” This is no isolated example. One of the most pathetic letters is that in which Pliny writes of the death of the younger daughter of his friend Fundanus, a girl in her fifteenth year, who had already “the prudence of age, the gravity of a matron, and all the maidenly modesty and sweetness of a girl.” Pliny tells us how it cut him to the quick to hear her father give directions that the money he had meant to lay out on dresses and pearls and jewels for her betrothal should be spent on incense, unguents, and spices for her bier. What a different picture from anything we find in Juvenal, who would fain have us believe that Messalina was the type of the average Roman matron of his day! Such
Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus Pliny the Younger (Complete Works of Pliny the Younger)
On the strength of a letter from the rabbi, notifying of the date of the marriage ceremony, Yuda received an extra "wedding ration," namely about 4 pounds of sugar, 2 pounds of margarine, about 5 pounds of meat and ten eggs. Aunt Sonia was delighted with the wealth of ingredients and she prepared a meal and two cakes. How about the guests to be invited to the wedding? Yuda had his Father's two brothers and their wives, all living in Tel Aviv, two cousins and their wives, Zaka, Sonia's daughter and an elderly couple, friends of the family, who had known Yuda from his early childhood.
Pearl Fichman (Before Memories Fade)
His letter arrives on a Tuesday morning. Edward sees it as he bumps down the stairs in his tatty tartan slippers, the ones Tilly bought him three Christmases ago and he’s worn every day since. He walks past the mail on the mat and heads towards the kitchen. As he steps onto the cold stone floor, he pulls his dressing gown cord tighter round his waist. The gown is still too big (he lost a lot of weight three years ago) and too feminine (paisley silk in shades of purple) in his humble opinion, but Greer made it for him the summer she died so he’ll wear it until it falls off, which won’t be long now. Tilly has sewn so many patches on the threadbare gown that it’s virtually become a quilt, but Edward ignores his daughter every time she begs him to throw it out. He also ignores the two flannel dressing gowns sitting in the bottom drawer of his wardrobe – still in their plastic wrap – birthday gifts from Tilly, gentle attempts to help her father heal and move on
Menna van Praag (The Lost Art of Letter Writing: Warm, humorous with a touch of magic!)
What’s Slipping Under Your Radar? Word Count: 1096 Summary: Ben, a high-level leader in a multi-national firm, recently confessed that he felt like a bad father. That weekend he had messed up his Saturday daddy duties. When he took his son to soccer practice, Ben stayed for a while to support him. In the process, though, he forgot to take his daughter to her piano lesson. By the time they got to the piano teacher’s house, the next student was already playing. This extremely successful businessman felt like a failure. Keywords: Dr. Karen Otazo, Global Executive Coaching, Leadership Article Body: Ben, a high-level leader in a multi-national firm, recently confessed that he felt like a bad father. That weekend he had messed up his Saturday daddy duties. When he took his son to soccer practice, Ben stayed for a while to support him. In the process, though, he forgot to take his daughter to her piano lesson. By the time they got to the piano teacher’s house, the next student was already playing. This extremely successful businessman felt like a failure. At work, one of Ben’s greatest strengths is keeping his focus no matter what. As a strategic visionary, he keeps his eyes on the ongoing strategy, the high-profile projects and the high-level commitments of his group. Even on weekends Ben spends time on email, reading and writing so he can attend the many meetings in his busy work schedule. Since he is so good at multi-processing in his work environment, he assumed he could do that at home too. But when we talked, Ben was surprised to realize that he is missing a crucial skill: keeping people on his radar. Ben is great at holding tasks and strategies in the forefront of his mind, but he has trouble thinking of people and their priorities in the same way. To succeed at home, Ben needs to keep track of his family members’ needs in the same way he tracks key business commitments. He also needs to consider what’s on their radar screens. In my field of executive coaching, I keep every client on my radar screen by holding them in my thinking on a daily and weekly basis. That way, I can ask the right questions and remind them of what matters in their work lives. No matter what your field is, though, keeping people on your radar is essential. Consider Roger, who led a team of gung-ho sales people. His guys and gals loved working with him because his gut instincts were superb. He could look at most situations and immediately know how to make them work. His gut was great, almost a sixth sense. But when Sidney, one of his team of sales managers, wanted to move quickly to hire a new salesperson, Roger was busy. He was managing a new sales campaign and wrangling with marketing and headquarters bigwigs on how to position the company’s consumer products. Those projects were the only things on his radar screen. He didn’t realize that Sidney was counting on hiring someone fast. Roger reviewed the paperwork for the new hire. It was apparent to Roger that the prospective recruit didn’t have the right background for the role. He was too green in his experience with the senior people he’d be exposed to in the job. Roger saw that there would be political hassles down the road which would stymie someone without enough political savvy or experience with other parts of the organization. He wanted an insider or a seasoned outside hire with great political skills. To get the issue off his radar screen quickly, Roger told Human Resources to give the potential recruit a rejection letter. In his haste, he didn’t consult with Sidney first. It seemed obvious from the resume that this was the wrong person. Roger rushed off to deal with the top tasks on his radar screen. In the process, Sidney was hurt and became angry. Roger was taken by surprise since he thought he had done the right thing, but he could have seen this coming.
What’s Slipping Under Your Radar?