Episode 263 Transcript (Larry Ross & Harrison Ross: Part 1)
Episode 263 (Larry Ross & Harrison Ross: Part 1)
Podcast Intro: [00:00:01] Being a great father takes a massive amount of courage. Instead of being an amazing leader and a decent dad, I want to be an amazing dad and a decent leader. The oldest dad in the world gave you this assignment, which means you must be ready for it. As a dad, I get on my knees and I fight for my kids. Let us be those dads who stop the generational pass down of trauma. I want encounters with God where He teaches me what to do with my kids. I know I’m going to be an awesome dad because I’m gonna give it my all.
Jeff Zaugg: [00:00:39] Welcome back to dadAWESOME. Today, episode 263, I have two guests. I have Larry Ross and his son, Harrison Ross, joining me. This is a conversation I recorded a couple months ago when I was in Dallas, Texas. And guys, this was a long form, we hit so many topics, we actually went after instead of just like a flyover of, Hey, where have you experienced some pain from your dad? We’re in the same room, in the same moments, both sides we like we went after man God’s forgiveness. A father who experienced forgiveness from a son and look at the beauty of like the trajectory changing that conversation, that level of humility and how it’s changing their kids and how it’s going to change their grandkids and just like this courageous decision of a dad coming to his son saying, I’m sorry. So this is such a helpful conversation in so many ways. I’m glad you’re listening. I want to quick remind you guys that Fathers for the Fatherless, this will be our fifth season of offering these events. This year, it’s not just 100 mile bike rides, this year, we’re offering Spartan obstacle course races. We’re offering a triathlon team along with many 100 mile bike rides. This is, as I mentioned, our fifth year. We’ve had over 600 men join us. We’ve raised $685,000 for the fatherless over these past four years. And check out f4f.bike, if you’re interested, we’re just opening registration now for our Minneapolis event and for our triathlon team. So hop over to the website if you’re interested in joining us. This is going to be our biggest year yet and we’re so thankful. All right, let’s jump right in, this is the first half of my conversation with Larry Ross and his son, Harrison Ross, we’re going to start with Harrison introducing his dad.
Harrison Ross: [00:02:28] This is Larry Ross, the infamous. He’s a man that’s largely unknown because he’s a servant of the King. He is a minister of the gospel that’s devoted his life to standing behind men with a voice to help the name of Jesus be put on display all throughout the world. And he’s he’s an unbelievable man. And so for 42 years, he’s done PR and was, has represented all kinds of people. Was Billy Graham’s spokesperson for over 30 years, has worked a lot with Pastor Rick Warren, worked with over 2,000 clients and representing the Passion of the Christ, other movies and art endeavors and all kinds of stuff all over the world. And but he’s represented all of these people for all of his life, but to me, he represents what it is to be a man, what it is to be a leader, and what it is to be a follower of Jesus. And that’s the job of a dad is to represent my Heavenly Father. And I cannot be more grateful for who you are and and not just who you were when I was a kid, but I’m more grateful for who you are now, by the way that you trust Jesus now, and the way that I get to grow as a man, because you’re my dad now. Not just from the history I had with you back then. And so couple of things that I love, and we can go into these, but couple of things I love are your love of story and the way that you just draw people in to what you’ve experienced, you bring them in to part of your experience. And so when I was a kid, you spent a lot of time on the road, but you did an amazing job of inviting me in to your work with you and bringing me along the way. And when you did, you were proud to to introduce me. This is my son. I wasn’t in the way. I was someone you were proud, not a not a trophy, but someone you just were excited for them to meet. And that made an impact on me. And, and then you’re just unbelievably observant. You’re an observer of people. I’ve often heard my dad say, I hope I hope people have as much fun watching me as I do watching them. But you’re an observer of people. You’re an observer observer of the culture. And what I love is, now you’re almost 70 years old, and and I’m watching you more than ever, observe what God’s doing in your own heart. Observe for yourself what the Scriptures are saying and how you can live that out in your own life and in our family. And not just taking the soundbites of others, but you’re growing at the feet of Jesus yourself, which is growing your roots even deeper as you as you race into the fourth quarter of your life. So love you, Dad. Grateful for you.
Jeff Zaugg: [00:05:37] Thank you Harrison, for the intro and I’m grateful to have you both on a part of this conversation. Larry, would you introduce your son, Harrison, for us?
Larry Ross: [00:05:47] Absolutely. And first of all, Jeff, I just want to thank you for this opportunity, not only to be a part of your podcast, but to do it together with Harrison. Harrison is the oldest of three boys. My wife, Autumn, who grew up on the mission field in Brazil and I have had and we will celebrate 38 years of marriage later this year. But Harrison has two younger brothers and probably was the, bore the brunt of my own personal pathology of early on, struggling with work addiction. I had a job that was a set up for that. I was on the road, as he said, a great deal. And so part of the the role of a father is modeling for children, follow me. I don’t know that I modeled that well, early on. And and yet I’ve watched Harrison, growing up in our home, and the gifting and the talents that you have. God has built in some unique gifts that you’ve really desired to use for His glory and for the kingdom. And I’ve been so proud of you watching as you went to Baylor, started as a theater major, became a communications major, felt the call into ministry and serving at a large megachurch here in Dallas and then planting a church. But I, I see the what you learned as a theater major and how you’re putting that into practice in the pulpit, but it comes out of your own deep searching of the scripture and your ability to communicate is is incredible. I I’m now at the point where I’m being introduced as Harrison’s dad and I love that because I’m just watching you. It’s my turn to step away and watch God working through you. Now it’s follow me as I follow Jesus and as I have been through some life experiences in recent years and have had to go deeper in my own walk with the Lord authentically. And we both have shared we could maybe talk about this through an experience called the Drop Zone. We both have really addressed some of the own wounds of our own childhood and enabled us to come together. And I just have always valued the father, son relationship we’ve had. But that’s grown into a friendship in recent years. And I just want to thank you for what I’ve learned from you as I’ve watched you be so faithful. You you have a job and vocation in ministry, but your primary role in job is fatherhood. And you do that well. You and your wife, Hunter, are so committed to your three boys and daughter, the grandchildren that you’ve gifted us with, and that is a new season for us. For those of you listening to this podcast who may be dads, but not yet grandfathers, that’s a game changer. And so I thank you for blessing us with grandchildren. The opportunity to perhaps, we serve a God of second chances and in some respects grandchildren give us a chance to do it for a do over. Zig Ziglar used to say, If I knew how great grandkids were, I would have had them first or I would have been nicer to their parents. And I guess that’s that’s the same that’s true for me. But I love you, too, Harrison. I’m proud of you. I’m proud of your faithfulness to God’s calling on your life. And as you’re in a transition season, I I can’t wait to see what God calls you to next, because I think he’s been using you in a powerful way. But I think that you’ve been kind of in a dress rehearsal for what God’s calling is for you moving forward. And it’s been exciting to be to be in your in your corner, in your camp and to cheering you on.
Jeff Zaugg: [00:09:42] I love that, I love that phrase, dress rehearsal and the perspective that we all can look at the current chapter as What’s the set, it’s a set up for what’s next. We can always be learning from, I think when you have a dress rehearsal, there’s a lot of like looking at it with a critical eye. How can we make this better for the real thing? Right? And Harrison, you mentioned just being observant that that’s something in your dad, like the ability to really be observant. So let’s talk about the do over concept as a grandpa, what you wish for Harrison that maybe you didn’t do as a young dad and so maybe you got after already a little bit the workaholic or like too much time. Maybe that’s an area you’d want to go back and turn that dial. But are there other areas now, as a grandpa that you’re like, Oh, this is things that I hope for Harrison that he would bring into fatherhood as far as practices, rhythms, intentional areas that that you didn’t apply as much intentionality that you wish you could have?
Larry Ross: [00:10:38] Well, as Harrison mentioned at the beginning of this of this broadcast, I was privileged to serve as Dr. Billy Graham’s personal media spokesman for nearly 35 years. And many times Dr. Graham would be asked by the media what he would what he would like to do differently if he could do it over. And he always said I would take less speaking engagements, travel less and study more. And while I, I my job took me away internationally and a lot of travel, particularly when Harrison was young, it was my approach to it that was toxic. I was driven. I grew up in a performance home. I was loved for what I did rather than who I was. And so it was that drive coupled with having to travel. And yet when I was home, I tried to be present. And I know there are a lot of dads who don’t travel, but they’re they’re, they’re doing sports or watching television, and that’s they’re not present even when they’re home. And so I would say that that intentionality and I see you doing that even in this time of transition being that’s your number one job. And and I, you know, it’s I realized the role we have as fathers in a powerful way with our oldest grandson, who’s Harrison’s oldest, whose name is Abel. And I was over at their home on a Sunday afternoon, and in fact, I’ll tell you when it was, it was the midterms in 2020, because it was a Sunday afternoon in the fall. And the doorbell rang. I was in the back with all the kids, and Harrison went to answer the doorbell. And then one by one, the kids drifted off and I’m sitting all by myself in the back room. I thought, What’s going on? So I went to the front and he’s talking to a well dressed woman on through the front door, on the steps. And he said, Oh, this is my dad, let me introduce my dad, Larry. And she was the candidate campaigning door to door for state representative. And our youngest, our oldest grandson, whipped around, Abel, looked at me, and he got angry. He said, I know who you are, you’re not Larry, you’re Yogi. And that’s my grandfather name.
Jeff Zaugg: [00:12:53] Yes.
Larry Ross: [00:12:54] And I realized I don’t have a relationship with anybody on the planet like this kid, he has no idea who I am, not that I’m anybody, he doesn’t know what I do or he doesn’t even know my name, because when I’m over there at their house, they call me Yogi. They don’t refer to me by name. All he knows is I’m Yogi and I love him and that’s all he needs to know. And I realize that’s our relationship with God, the Father, that he’s our Yogi, our grandfather, and He loves us and that’s, that’s enough for us to feel safe and secure. And so I think that I’m learning from Harrison and I’m learning from our grandchildren what role a father should have and should be. You know, we have a lot to learn from our Jewish brothers and sisters. I had an opportunity several years ago to speak to 2,500 college, university, Christian college and university administrators and presidents at a CCU Council of Christian Colleges and Universities annual convention. And I had I was asked to do a plenary address, and I was with OZ Guinness, who’s a Christian apologist, author at the prayer breakfast two weeks before. And I said, Oz, I have this opportunity, what would you say to a group of educators? What challenge would you give to them? And he asked me a question that took me off guard. He said, What was Moses challenge to the children of Israel the night before they entered the Promised land? I didn’t know. You may not. It’s a question I never heard asked before. He said, you would think he would have given a pep talk, let’s go, there’s giants in the land but we can take these giants, we have God on our side. But no, he basically gave them what they call the Shamar, you know, to take these principles and these precepts and bind them on your forehead and teach them to your children and your children’s children. And he said, that’s why the Jewish people have survived all these years because of the emphasis they put on family and on education. Training up the children to the however many generations in their heritage and their faith and what it means to be part of the Jewish culture and the Jewish people. And I think that’s something as a culture we’re learning. But as Christian parents and grandparents, we can, who has that said, it takes a village. It really does. And to be a part of that village and bring up these children in these precepts that they will hopefully be able to apply later in life.
Jeff Zaugg: [00:15:33] Yeah.
Harrison Ross: [00:15:34] Something I’m really grateful for my dad is as I’ve grown up, you realize your family history and the good, the bad and the ugly. And we we come from a family lineage that’s like spiritually really rich and a long line of ministers and pastors and missionaries and professors at seminaries. And it’s it’s it’s unbelievable, but it’s it’s been laced with hurt and pain and even dysfunction within ministry. And it’s something I’ve been wading through myself recently and what I’ve gotten to see in my dad and hear more of his story as he’s grown up and realized his own woundedness with his dad, his own places of pain. I remember you were saying that when you grew up, his dad was a was a professor at a seminary, and he I’ve heard you say that he he loved his books, did not love his family. And you knew your dad, you know, worked hard for your family, but you never heard your dad say, I love you or I’m proud of you until either college or his deathbed, maybe.
Larry Ross: [00:16:45] Two days before he died.
Harrison Ross: [00:16:47] Two days before he died. And came to one game growing up. And and that made an impact on you negatively. And I think there are a lot of guys who resolve early on, I’m not going to do what my dad did and I’m not going to be that guy. I think very few men resolve to say the opposite and say, I’m going to do what my dad didn’t. And that’s what I watched you do growing up and that you did for me, even amidst your own pain in pathology and figuring out your own demons and hurt that you had, you determined to say, I never heard I love you or I’m proud of you, so every time I can, I’m going to tell my kids, I love you and I’m proud of you. And I don’t I don’t remember a day being with you that you didn’t tell me that. I believed it, internalized it. And it was strength for me. And your dad never came to any games and so you said, Man, when I’m there, I’m there. I’m going to be, I’m going to be at it. I’m going to be your biggest fan and your biggest cheerleader to help fuel you for whatever God has for you, not what I have for you. And and those made a huge impact on me that you would determine that you would you would activate yourself not to just not be your dad, but to do what your dad didn’t. And I get to stand on the shoulders of giants. And as those chains were broken, I get to then take what you did for me and then continue to to not only pass that on, but other places where I get to then pass that on to the next generation and build into the next generation. So thank you. Love ya.
Larry Ross: [00:18:18] Well, and thank thank you, Harrison and you know, I didn’t have a stellar athletic career. I was a wannabe.
Harrison Ross: [00:18:25] It’s still ahead of you. You’re a world class curler.
Jeff Zaugg: [00:18:28] You just don’t know it yet.
Larry Ross: [00:18:31] But one of the greatest lessons in fathering I ever had was from a pastor friend of mine, Harrison was in second grade, I think. It’s the first year you play church basketball, they don’t even keep score, it’s just for fun. I go to the first game and I’m in the stands and Harrison, he’s, we’ve shot hoops in the driveway, but he doesn’t know the ins and outs of the game and clueless on defense, you know, and just everybody’s running around and so on the way home I’m trying to say, okay, you want to box out your man, You want to you know, he doesn’t want to hear this from his dad. And all of a sudden I’m going, oh, I’m that guy, I’m I’m living vicariously through my second grade son. What’s happening to me?
Harrison Ross: [00:19:14] I’ve never been able to play basketball since.
Jeff Zaugg: [00:19:16] Just ruined it.
Larry Ross: [00:19:18] But I talked to this pastor friend of mine. I was really worried about it. I thought, Man, I’m becoming that guy. He said to tell you what he said, let’s say that I’m a I’m a golf swing coach, and you come to me, you want to improve your game. Okay? We’re going work on your grip, we’re going to work on your your swing and your stance, and we’re going to measure your progress by the trajectory of the ball, how straight and how far you hit the ball. And and and yet he said, you’re not coming to me to hit the ball straight and far. Really? He said, you’re coming to me for the feeling you get when you hit the ball straight and far, as you stand on an elevated tee box and survey the ground you’ve just conquered in a 300 yard, 275 yard drive, you got a Whistling Straits T-shirt on here, you what I’m not talking. So he said, Your job is to reinforce the feeling. Let the coach, coach. Your son, doesn’t want to hear from you anyway, but you reinforce the feelings. So when he, driving home from the game, say, well Harrison, when you sunk that free throw, that tied the game, how did you feel? Oh, man, Dad, I felt great. You reinforce that the feeling that he got in something that went well in the game. And so hopefully try to reinforce that feeling rather than coach.
Jeff Zaugg: [00:20:40] Yeah. So, I think what I’m hearing is that there’s a focus on the feeling and affirming the feelings versus the tactics or the statistics of the shots made or missed or the plays. Yeah, you’re going upstream a little bit. Have you seen any of this play out, Harrison, or anything to add to this concept of looking a little bit before the action and bring an affirmation? Anything to add that concept?
Harrison Ross: [00:21:07] Yeah, I think learning from my dad, both my parents, they they just were encouragers and cheerleaders. It was never, Hey, you need to fit this box, you need to do this thing, this is the person you’re going to be, grow into it. It’s a, How can we give you opportunities to explore who it is that God would have you be? He’s prepared, you are His masterpiece made in His image for good works that He’s prepared beforehand to walk in them. So it’s more like archeology to uncover and discover who He’s made me to be, so that I can then, with my kids, help them discover. And so I think it’s it’s then led into instead of, as he said, coaching, reshaping or forcing into it’s led into an encouragement to see what then the Holy Spirit would naturally bring to light. And so however it happens because of what my dad spoke, hey, I love you and I’m proud of you. I tell my kids now they’re they’re seven and younger. They have done nothing, and I’m proud of them because of that. They don’t have to do anything for me to be proud of them. They don’t have to do anything to earn my approval. Whatever, whatever they are, whatever they do, whoever God has them become, I love them, I’m proud of them because they’re mine. And that’s the same way my Heavenly Father sees me. That’s the same identity that I get to live in and get to encourage in my kids.
Larry Ross: [00:22:30] Harrison mentioned curling earlier. But actually that was a another lesson I learned early on from my father in law. I until recent years, when I started shrinking, I was six eight. My father in law was two inches taller than me when we got married and he and my mother and my mother in law came to stay with us for two weeks when Harrison was born. It was 1988, it was the Seoul Olympics, February 88′. I still remember sitting there watching the Olympics with my father in law, and curling came on. You know, any sport you can drink beer. I guess it’s hard for me to believe that’s an Olympic sport. And so jokingly I said to his name is Perry was Perry, I said, Hey, Perry, how do you and I know we couldn’t have been Olympic curlers? I was like, I could do that. You know what’s hard about that? I just never had the opportunity. And he went on to tell me his philosophy, he said, what we did in raising our family, we exposed all of them to everything. You got to take a year of piano lessons, you know, play soccer for a season, and we expose them to as much as we could and then see what they pick up on. And it’s those things in which we encourage them. If you don’t like piano, fine, you did it for a year, we’ll do something else. But you you expose them to everything and then encourage them on the things where they seem to excel.
Jeff Zaugg: [00:23:53] Yeah.
Harrison Ross: [00:23:54] You know, I think too, in terms of affirmation, men are really bad at affirmation. Men are really bad at encouragement, and our culture has made us believe this lie, that it’s too touchy feely, it’s too soft. And we got to we got to come on, boy, pick it up. And almost like criticism is is more conducive to growth, you know, constructive criticism instead of encouragement. I don’t want to soften you. And and I think that’s a huge miss because the word encourage is to be filled with courage. It took two to put courage in to someone and to speak life into them. And that’s the job of a dad, to a man or to to a woman, to a son or to a daughter is to fill them with to to help impart who they are, to speak that life into them. That’s how God created us in the garden and to speak that life into them is the job of a man. The job of a father. And to speak encouragement and affirmation. And so that’s one of the greatest joys I have in my kids, is to speak that into them before they ever do anything. So that that’s what they live here. And that is what what becomes true of them is what is spoken into them.
Larry Ross: [00:25:14] And you know, Harrison, his kids are seven now and they’re they’re all at home and he is their world and it’s it’s much easier to do that consistently. Until then, they start getting out and running with friends and and what have you. And I learned another great lesson from a fellow who’s become a good friend through the years named Phil Ehart. He’s the founding drummer of the rock group, Kansas. If you know some of their, they had a lot of big hit songs in the seventies and the eighties. [00:25:43][28.7]
Harrison Ross: [00:25:44] Go ahead. Sing us one, Dad.
Larry Ross: [00:25:48] So Phil is a very strong believer. I think he used to send his allowance to Billy Graham when he was 11. And so he founded this rock group and he said for 30 years no one ever offered him a joint, a beer. He just thought it was because they knew he was a person of faith and they left him alone. And he was in professional rock and roll that whole time and never, never was really tempted or whatever by his band mates. And one day he was visiting his mother, south of Atlanta, and overheard her speaking to a friend in the backyard. And she said, You know, I never worried about Phil on the road. He’s a good boy. I knew that he was going to do the right thing, but I worried about his friends and the people he hung out with. So for 30 years, I’ve been praying for Phil’s friends. I’m not praying for Phil, I’m praying for his friends that they not negatively influence him. And my wife and I took that to heart and thought, Wow, we need to start praying for the friends that because, you know, they leave the house and they’re hanging out with their friends, who knows what influences they’re getting there. And so the importance of praying for friends and this idea of prayer as a parent, there’s a gentleman named Doug Coe, who was one of my mentors, worked in the prayer breakfast for many years, and he shared with me something I’ll never forget. He said, when my oldest daughter, Becky was six, I was praying that she would come to faith, put her asked Jesus to come into her heart. But I reread the verse in the New Testament that says The fields are white unto harvest and we pray for laborers. He said, That means Becky is going to come to faith in God’s timing. I need to pray, not that she does, but pray for the person that leads her there. Whether it’s my wife, her Sunday School teacher, a friend at school, I’m going to start praying for the laborer that will bring Becky into the kingdom, not pray that Becky will do what God is saying is going to happen already and that that’s a powerful reframe.
Harrison Ross: [00:27:53] Wow. Those are both so practical ways I can begin praying with intentionality for our kids, for their friends. I want to go back about a handful of years to an answer to prayer that who knows maybe neither of you guys are even praying, but it feels like an unexpected, Drop Zone was a part of this, a bit of a reframing and some healing that took place a few years apart. But it sounds like, Larry, it was, you first went through a process of God awakening and kind of like nudging you towards some healing with your dad that then it was the setup to be ready to even be a part of some of the journey for Harrison, which I love when it’s in a chapter that maybe would be unexpected in this chapter of Grandpa life, right and career. Would you share a little bit about what happened?
Larry Ross: [00:28:40] Yeah, the Drop Zone is a ministry of a friend of mine, Paul Lavelle. It’s a ministry actually, to come against veteran suicide, 35 a day publicly, is the average is probably higher than that. And it’s it comes out of John Eldridge’s ministry, Wild at Heart and The Healing Prayer coming against the father wounds and you’re speaking to your identity the lives that we believe about ourselves. I mentioned I was very performance, I came from a performance oriented home and I was driven and to the point of toxicity. And I had a client who told me, who said to my wife, watching Larry work is like watching someone run a marathon with ski boots on. And he said, You know, I realize I’m working 100 hours a week. We talked at breakfast, if I was a vacuum cleaner salesman, people would say you’re an idiot, but when you’re in ministry, they say, praise God. And so I came to grips with that and actually really had to check out for a while and deal with that and get get a perspective. And then I went to the Drop Zone and really kind of sealed that. And part of it was to two big takeaways for me. Number one, my identity in Christ, you know, my identity is not who I am or what I do, but it’s in Christ. And what what God, one of the things we had we were asked to do is go out and have a conversation with God, what’s my name? And just before that we did that, I spent an hour in the No Fear arena, we’re on a ranch in Colorado. The no fear arena. I’m talking to God about this, before we went out, the guy, the fellow who led it, said, God, speak to us, speaks to us in a language we understand. And I always hear people say, well God told me this or I heard from God, I’d never heard from God audibly, but I’m not an audible learner, I’m a visual learner. I have probably, not as much as Harrison, a photographic memory, but if I see it, I remember what it looks like on the page. I don’t remember things I hear. So all of a sudden I’m, and this gentleman said, God speaks to me through eagles. Well, I started looking for eagles and then I started seeing things in the clouds. I could show you on my phone pictures of clouds that God was talking to me through. And one of them was, Harrison’s already talked about, a cloud that looked like the Pony Express messenger. If you Google it, there’s a guy on a horse leaning way over the neck whipping his horse, that’s what the cloud looked like. And what he was saying is, you will not be the man behind the man, you will be my messenger. Billy, I’ve been teeing it up for Dr. Graham and others, and and while he was having this conversation, there was a cowboy taming calves. And so he drove up to me close, and I said, Who’s the, who’s your favorite rodeo cowboy? And he said, Lefty Gomez. Lefty, and I said, That’s my name. I came home, I said, That’s going to be my grandpa, Grandpa’s name. And Harrison and his wife said, okay. I’m going to have the grandkids call me Lefty. Well, our oldest grandson, I’ve already talked to him, Abel, he couldn’t say it, it came out Yogi. And that’s how I got my grandfather’s name. But it started with that picture right there. And God named me in a language that I understand, which is visually. And I’d never, never been challenged that way before and it was it was life changing.
Jeff Zaugg: [00:32:15] In the picture, just because we’re guys are listening, is this amazing horse galloping with the cowboy in the back.
Larry Ross: [00:32:22] And it was at that ranch.
Jeff Zaugg: [00:32:23] That ranch. Wow. So how did that return home and some of that healing, hearing God’s voice, being inspired to go be the messenger, how has that changed?
Larry Ross: [00:32:34] Well, it started going back home and I had to repent and go and Harrison, I had some long conversations and maybe we still have more to do, but I had to repent for for all of the the the short deck that I dealt him. And I you know, we do the best we can as a dad. But I don’t I forgave my dad because he he was dealt the short deck and he you know, he he just he gave what he had, which wasn’t much. And I got my faith and my it took a very intellectual, cerebral approach to faith and didn’t really understand grace until the very end and I was able to share what God has been teaching me about Grace. And that’s what brought us together two days before He died. And then being able to ask for forgiveness and repent. And and that involves a pivot and hopefully and not hopefully I think it I feel like it has. And you’ve affirmed that that it’s really enabled us to track together, especially since Harrison himself had it, and one might want to share your own identity experience there at the Drop Zone, but having both now been through that together, it’s been really just a blessing to see what God has done in healing some of those those experiences and relationships through the years.
Jeff Zaugg: [00:33:53] Before you share your personal, how was that moment of like, Wait, my dad is in his young sixties at that point, about handful of years ago, coming to you repentant, asking for forgiveness? Like talk about that a little bit.
Harrison Ross: [00:34:08] I was astounded. Like I remember I vividly remember the restaurant, the booth, how I felt, what was happening. We sat there for hours and I watched you, my dad takes like, like ferocious notes, and I watched him just flip through his notebook of things that the Lord had just pricked his heart. And for a long time, my dad’s a PR guy, and so he’s great at giving the soundbites of others and pushing them forward for what needs to be said. But for the first time, I was hearing him say what God was teaching him, and I was hearing him say, this is this is where the Lord’s moving me. This is what the Lord’s showing me about my life, about my shortcomings, about my own pain with my dad, stuff that just felt like was off limits for a long time that I was trying to piece together. He just opened his heart to me and I had never seen it before. And I remember sitting there for 4 hours and I just wept as my dad just shared a Here’s where I missed it. Here was my pain that I went through, and I can’t blame my dad, but this is what I felt and I didn’t know what to do with it. And so I, I didn’t know how to work through it. I didn’t know how to feel. So I ran to work to cover it as my drug. I became a workaholic because it was the way that I could numb my pain instead of deal with my pain. And my dad sat across from me, I was 30 years old, but he just said, Harrison, I’m sorry, for these things, specifically, he named them. Then he looked me in the face, and he said, I’m sorry. Will you forgive me? And I just, I mean, like, I still do, I just, all that was within me that I didn’t know how to feel that I had felt just gushed out. And because of what my savior has done for me, of course I forgave him. But, but things I think I had felt and recognized in you, and felt and recognized in me as a new dad. To watch you own it, was what was healing. Guys, I think as men, we don’t want to deal with our feelings. We might feel it and maybe at best we recognize it, but very few of us deal with it. And God brought you to the place of brokenness and what you said repentance to to face it. And I remember you said, you said, Harrison, I can’t I can’t go back and undo what happened. I can’t go back and give those years back that I was gone. But I can be present now and I can be your dad. I can be the grandfather to your kids, and that’s what I want to do. And so that repentance, you’re a different man, you’re a new creation, you’re a new person, and our family is stronger because of it. Not just our relationship, but our whole family. My wife sees a different man in you, and I think the gift is my kids don’t know you other than not just their grandfather, but a man that’s redeemed and and by God’s grace, because of now what he’s doing in me, I don’t think my kids are going to know me different than the way that God’s redeemed us and redeeming me and so it’s been beautiful.
Jeff Zaugg: [00:37:56] As you guys can tell in listening, we’re about halfway into my conversation with Harrison Ross and his dad, Larry Ross, and we’re going to come back next week, episode 264. We’re going to go deeper into, man, the flip side of that conversation, the result of that courageous conversation that Larry had with his son, Harrison. And then we go really practical around several areas of fatherhood and several things that Harrison is doing that Larry’s like calling out that is making such a difference for his kids. So guys, join us again next week. As I mentioned in the introduction, Fathers for the Fatherless just opened registration for our Minneapolis event, the fifth year of hosting our event in Minnesota. And there’s other opportunities as well at Fathers for the Fatherless, f4f.bike. Guys, thanks for listening this week. Make sure you tune back next week because we’re going deeper and we’re going even more practical. Guys, thank you for choosing to be a dad who says, I’m not done learning. I’m not done pursuing the hearts of my kids. I’m going to be a dad who prays for my kids and continues to learn and continues to say, game on. I’m going to add life to the dad life. Have a great week, guys.