Picture of Ben Killoy

Ben Killoy

Is Your Dad Proud of You?

I remember the moment that this question became clear to me like it was yesterday. I remember it because it was the moment I became a United States Marine. I remember seeing my Dad in the bleachers and knowing they moved a lot of mountains to be there in San Diego.


I knew because of not how he talked when I was in the room, but when I wasn’t in the room. He would share it with anyone visiting the farm. That moment holds a lot of power for me in my life when I feel weak when I feel alone when I feel like I am doing the wrong thing.

It’s a well of strength I can draw from whenever I need it. I will often carry a challenge coin in my pocket to remind myself of when I had the eagle, globe, anchor placed in my hand.

But not everyone has this well; depending on the relationship you had with your dad, you might never have the chance to see or feel this kind of feeling.

Maybe it’s because he was a dumpster fire of problems like I mentioned yesterday, or perhaps he passed away before he could shape the man you could become.

As a boy, we are wired to be led by a father; it often why men find their path in faith because they can feel from the almighty father maybe what they didn’t feel in this world and hold onto the idea of meeting the first father in the next life.

Depending on where you feel your answers are to this question, what you might not know is that this can show up in our lives in so many others ways in an unhealthy way.

One place that often shows up for men is work; I know because I did it. I consistently looked for people above me to validate and say, “Ben, I am proud of you.” I didn’t have this feeling because I didn’t get the sense from my dad. It was rooted in the truth that you can’t seek or give something until you first have it for yourself.

Until you recognize that you are proud of who you have become with or without someone in your life, the world will never be enough. Like love, it is hard to give love unconditionally to someone that you first doesn’t feel the same way about ourselves.

The relationship with our Dad or the lack thereof can shape our persona in ways most people will never slow down and accept responsibility to improve.

C.S. Lewis is famously quoted with this:

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

What new ending will you choose to start today?

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