Tag Archives: Parenting

A Very Real Matter: Same-Sex Attraction

Watch this short video… it’s a great intro to the blog post.

A Very Real Matter: Same-Sex Attraction

Life was meant to be enJOYed, not just endured.  

What happens when someone in your family announces they have same-sex attraction?

Do you kick them out?

Do you love them unconditionally?  

This is a very difficult subject, one that brings much controversy no matter your background. 

The purpose of this video and post is to invite families, and society in general, to reinvest in kindness.  When we look around at the amount of judgment and hatred in the world, the honest response is that we all could do better. It is my belief that we, the human race, are to LOVE one another, SERVE one another and do our very best to HELP one another with the challenges and trials that come our way.  

It doesn’t matter where you live or what your religious beliefs are; if you are rich, poor, brown, black, white, pink or green – we all have the same basic needs. We all want to feel we belong, are loved and valued.  God said, “Love one another as I have loved you.”  He wasn’t just talking to your neighbor.  He was talking to you and me and even those in our families that may make different choices than we would. Intolerance is why there is so much hate, war and bullying in this world. It needs to stop.  Things need to change.

Gandhi said it best; “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

It was January 9, 2012, when my 24-year-old son Sean, told his father Scott and I that he was gay, in the best way he knew how.  Precisely at 11:11 pm, he sent us a private message saying;

“Hey so I’m not gonna beat around the bush too much, I’m just going to tell you something that I’m sure you already know or it has at least crossed your mind plenty of times.  I’m gay. I’m sure this isn’t the best news a parent could hear, but I feel like it’s not right for me to Not talk to you about something very real to me. I want you to know I’m very much the same weird Sean. Ha! I love you and dad so much and you’re the best parents a kid could ask for. This is why it’s taken me so long to tell you, I’m fine with the pain it can bring me at times but, I just didn’t want to hurt you cause you don’t deserve it. Once again I love you very much, but I want to keep this brief cause I am sure you’d rather talk in person and I am 100 percent fine with that. I haven’t told anyone ever, I wanted you and dad to be the first to know.”

The sting of reading the words “I’m gay,” was masked by the last sentence: “I haven’t told anyone ever, I wanted you and dad to be the first to know” – to me that validated how awesome, amazing and considerate my son is!  It also shed light on the fact that my son had closeted his most conflicted and torn feelings with lock and key – alone. That, I was not proud of.

Sean was correct in his assumption that this had “at least crossed my mind”.  I had often wondered about my strikingly, good-looking son that only dated when the girls took the initiative and asked him out.  It was a thought I kept very quiet, and secret, hardly daring to think it to myself.  It was something I “hoped” was not true!  But here it was in black and white – my son announcing that he was gay.  His father, on the other-hand, had no clue. Scott was honestly completely blind-sided by the news. It shook him to his core.  Not that he didn’t love Sean.  He simply had not seen this coming and it wasn’t something he’d even slightly acknowledged.

Immediately upon reading Sean’s message, I called him asking to hurry home so we could talk, face-to-face.  This was Sean’s final night before heading back to school in Hawaii. He was out visiting friends and saying his good-byes for another year. When he got home, he and I stayed up until 4am talking, crying and hugging before calling it a night and heading to the airport those few hours later. It was one of the most difficult things I’d ever done under the circumstances; giving him one last hug that would have to suffice for an entire year.

Going Through My Own Refiner’s Fire

As I look back on that very first conversation, I have to admit that I am not proud of everything I said. I said some things completely out of ignorance. I had never researched the subject – naively thinking that was a subject “other families” had to deal with — NOT me and my family.

First, I told Sean I loved him – and that my love would NEVER change.  I felt very strongly that he needed to know of my unconditional love for him.  But then I said some ignorant stuff, like “What are you going to do about it?” and “You are a fighter Sean – you can fight this.”  “Hang in there, this is your test, your challenge, and in the next life your feelings will match your body and all will be well.”  As these phrases spilled off my lips, I honestly thought I was giving words of comfort, not knowing each phrase was a dagger in my son’s heart.  The phrases weren’t new. He had grown up hearing them everywhere – and he had spent a lifetime trying to digest and understand why he felt the way he felt and what kind of life that meant for him.

What literally broke my heart that evening was looking at my 24-year-old son, and thinking my adorable little boy with the big smile had grown up dealing with this secret all alone – NO one to trust and talk to about it.  I cried then, and I cry still now.  Tears also come at the thought of thousands of kids and teens with same-sex attraction dealing with it ALONE, afraid to talk about their true feelings and contemplating suicide as the answer.  Death is NOT the answer.

As I have listened to my son tell of what it was like growing up “fighting an inward battle” trying to “fit in” in a world that frowns upon gays; belonging to a religion that is family-centered and strongly believes marriage is between a man and a woman, and in a family that teaches the same.  My heart breaks at the thought of my own flesh and blood growing up feeling like a misfit right in our home, in school, in society, and within the walls of our church.  Growing up he never let on to the sadness and confusion going on inside. He was a happy, active, fun-loving little boy and teenager. We just didn’t know. Even his friends didn’t know.  If an Oscar could be awarded, Sean would have won. He hid his feelings well.

The dagger in my heart are the piercing words of Sean telling of the years he contemplated ending his life so no one would ever know he was gay. It is my prayer and quest that NO ONE feels that way – Ever!

I am so thankful Sean never acted upon those dark feelings and is happy with the person he is, trying to live the best life he can,  just like everyone else.

I have Googled, read, fasted and prayed to become more educated. One startling fact that I learned in my quest to gain knowledge and understanding is that teens and young adults with same-sex attraction have one of the highest rates of suicide attempts…..THAT is unacceptable!  No one should go to bed at night thinking they are better off dead.  Never. Ever.   We need to be the change we wish to see in the world – LOVE one another, SERVE one another and HELP one another.

I have learned through the years that everyone is fighting some kind of battle. The gift this has given me is not to judge, to be more compassionate, kind and tolerant – and to treat all others the way I would want to be treated.

No matter where you stand on this sensitive subject, I pray that we may all respond with much more sensitivity and thoughtfulness in our families and in society when encountering same-sex attraction.

P.S. To my readers who are wondering about Sean’s father Scott’s reaction.  Scott had deep-rooted feelings of Homophobia, so Sean had grown up hearing his father’s unkind perception of gays, making the “coming out” all that more difficult. Once that table had been turned and Scott knew it, he blew me away with his quick quest to learn all he could about the elephant in the room. What I will tell you is that in his own due time, Scott will share his personal refiner’s fire to accepting and loving his son.  And it will be powerful and heartfelt.

P.P.S.  In April of 2013, Sean graduated with honors from BYU-Hawaii with a degree in Social Work.  He recently completed an internship at an Orphanage in Thailand and has been accepted into the Masters Program at the University of Hawaii.  Sean is a happy, easy-going guy with a great sense of humor.  He’s an Eagle Scout and has always been a leader amongst his peers.  For example, Sean paid for his college education all by himself, without student loans!  He graduated with honors, wisely debt-free, and teaching others how to do the same. Coming out has not changed Sean — it’s Scott and I that have changed. And for that, I thank my Heavenly Father. He blessed us with the gift of learning about something we thought only others needed to worry about.  I love Sean today as much, if not more, than ever.

May God bless you in all of your experiences, discoveries and life lessons.

Yours,

Becky Mack:)

Sean

UPDATE June 2014:  My husband Scott FINALLY took the time to sit down and write about his journey;  How A Father Went From Homophobic to Loving His Gay Son. 

A follow-up to this blog post: “A Follow-up to a Very Real Matter: Same-Sex Attraction

 

FYI:   Grab my eBook today for ONLY $2.97! “My Husband Wears The Short Shorts In THIS Family!” It’s parenting with humor, courage and a whole lot of love.  Also in paperback!  

 

Speaking? A Book? What? Me? Us? Oh My!

Speaking? A Book? What? Me? Us? Oh My!

Last week my cute married daughter and recent college graduate Kelsey, created a video from our many TV appearances.

I think you will agree that she is very talented. I’d like to say she takes after me, but NO, all that techie stuff goes right over my head. She made this video for her dad and I to use as an intro-piece at our speaking gigs. What speaking gigs? I know, WE are as surprised as you are. Let me back up a bit and explain what’s been happening.

A few weeks ago, New York Times Best Selling Author M. Bridget Cook, called asking if she could interview me, my husband Scott, and my daughter Myley and then help ME write an eBook of our story and other life’s lessons in raising seven children. Wow is all I can say! We have been busy writing and will soOn have an eBook on Amazon. The book is entitled “My Husband Wears The Short Shorts In THIS Family.”

A week following Bridget’s telephone call, motivational speaker/author Chad Hymas called. If you don’t know Chad, you need to get to know him. He is listed in the Wall Street Journal as one of the ten most inspirational men in the world. Chad is a member of the Speakers Roundtable and the youngest to be inducted into the National Speakers Hall of Fame. I have been fortunate enough to work for Chad the past few months and have known him for several years. Our telephone conversation that day went something like this,

“Becky, is Scott home?

“No, he is out of town until Saturday.”

“Okay, I will call back on Sunday. I want to talk to the both of you about becoming a speaker and sharing your message with the world.” He added, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

What Chad said next caught my attention,
“I am not essentially firing you, but I am firing you. And then I want to become your speaking coach. You will need to work really hard. Instead of putting 40 hours into me, I want you to put 40 hours a week into becoming a speaker. Can you do that?”

The following Sunday when Scott and I spoke to Chad we were overcome with feelings of both doubt and excitement.

“Can we really do this? YES, we CAN do this!”

We couldn’t ask for a better mentor or coach than Chad, it doesn’t get any better.

AND what’s better than to speak about something we are so passionate about – NOTHING!

Teens are the most misunderstood age group, the group most people want to skip over and ignore, but we love them! Scott is gray, and I color my hair because of them. But there is nothing we’d rather do than help bridge the gap from teens to parents and strengthening families.

The crazy thing is that over the years I have asked Scott a number of times the following question, “If you could BE anything and DO anything what would it be?” I would quickly add, “Besides being a professional hunting guide.”

Scott’s answer was always the same, “I would be a speaker focusing on teens. I would like to speak to teens and parents everywhere.”

I would pipe in, “What would you speak on? What would your platform be?” He’d say, “I don’t know.”

Then I’d say in a skeptical kind of way, “Scott it’s not like church where they assign you a topic ….you have to have a platform.”

Well Scotty ….Guess what? Now you have a platform! It came unexpectedly, it’s a good one and the world apparently is wanting to hear it.

About three years ago, Scott started writing a book about his life lessons, a book to pass down to his children, but now I’m thinking it may go to a much broader audience. What do you think?

Before remembering the book that Scott has been writing, I bought the URL “Life’s Short Lessons” to build out a website to house all our “stuff”. It will be humorous, fun, inspiring and enlightening. To be LAUNCHED very very SoOn!

We didn’t plan for any of this to happen, we couldn’t have scripted it any better if we wanted. The opportunity to share what we love just opened up to us on it’s own. We are grateful, a bit nervous and overjoyed for this new chapter.

Thanks for your support.
bEcky mAck 🙂

 

Dad Short Shorts Gone Viral Update

Speaking? A Book? What? Me? Us? Oh My!

Speaking? A Book? What? Me? Us? Oh My!

 

Little did I know that when Scott put on those tiny short shorts that our lives were about to be turned upside down.

When I first encouraged my husband Scott to write his story,”The REAL Story Behind The Short Shorts” he laughed and said;  “Who’s going to read your blog,  FOUR people?” Well sweetie, hate to break it to you, but slightly more than four people read it! 🙂

I was certain that there were a lot of people as surprised as I was when I initially saw him sporting those shorts that would want to hear what the dad behind the “nice legs” had to say about his little night-out-on-the-town ….and WHY? It was 11:30 pm when I hit the “Publish” button, tweeted the link, posted on Facebook and then went to bed. The rest is history!

Only a few days later we were hearing it was top news in the DailyMail UK, I wasn’t sure what that meant. Then I get a call from the DailyMail NY asking permission to use the picture with a link to my blog.

I appreciate that so many outlets have emailed or called to ask permission to post the picture and tell the story. The ones that have not asked permission seem to be the ones that twist the story to their own agenda, but I totally get that there is opposition in all things, so why would I expect any different?

Scott’s very first interview was with a local news station KSL Browser 5.0. It was the same day that the local Deseret News ran an article. I thought “Okay it’s staying local…that’s good!” I watched the analytics on my blog go up ad up. I said;

“Myley, this could actually go viral. It’s taken on a life of it’s own, and there is not much we can do about it now. Are you okay with this?” Her answer, “Yea, why wouldn’t I be? I’m fine. It’s dad that should be embarrassed.”

After that, the days seem to blend together. The phone ringing became the norm; “Hello this is CNN, The TODAY SHOW, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, INSIDE EDITION, FOX News, FOX AND FRIENDS, FOX 13, HLN Showbiz Tonight, HALLMARK, The HUFFINGTON POST, RACHEL RAY, ELLEN, STEVE HARVEY”, not to mention all the radio and TV shows who did not call for an interview, but talked about it and showed the picture; The View, Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon the list goes on and on. We tried to accommodate all who called requesting an interview, but because some wanted exclusivity not all requests were able to be met.

On Thursday September 12th, three film crews came to our home to interview Scott and Myley; INSIDE EDITION, GOOD MORNING AMERICA and The TODAY SHOW.  GMA also put me under the spotlight to ask a few questions. It was 10:30pm when the last crew left our home. They were aired the following day on Friday the 13th, later that night friends began texting that Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon had shown the picture and talked about Scott sporting his daisy duke shorts to teach a valuable lesson to his daughter in their monologue. Seriously? This whole thing is craZy. Still trying to wrap my brain around it.

What made this funny, out-of-the-box idea, which was meant only to teach a valuable lesson about modesty to our daughter, go viral? I’m guessing initially it was the funny picture of the dad with the nice legs wearing a Best.Dad.Ever t-shirt. THEN it became the story behind the picture, a story of a dad who loves and cares about his daughter enough to make a fool of himself in hopes to teach her the value of modesty in a fun, creative sort of way.

Chelle Golland PhD said on GOOD MORNING AMERICA;

“What this father did was an excellent way to get this message across. It was creative, it was funny, it engaged the family, it engaged the teenager.”

Most of the comments and messages received have been very positive. Only a handful of readers have been negative. Several have asked “How does Myley feel about all this?”

On National TV, Myley said; “I mostly learned the lesson of how much my dad loves me.”

Myley is at the end of her teen years, she is 19. I’m a mom and most likely when she is my age, 50, I will still be her mother who gives her parenting advice as my 82 year old mother still does to me. Myley has completed a year of college and is now working to save money to continue her schooling next fall. She is a lovely young lady with a giant heart who’s goal is to be a social worker to serve and make a difference in this world.

Has she changed her wardrobe? Not drastically. Myley said; “It got the point across. Yes!”

We know all the hype about the picture will die down, but the message behind the short-shorts we hope will carry on for years to come.