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Good, Good Father: New Kendrick Bros. Film Provides Fresh Take on Being a Great Dad

Chris Carpenter - Director of Internet Programming

With Show Me the Father entering its second week of release this weekend, it is notable to mention the praise it has received thus far.

The highly anticipated seventh film from brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick received an A+ CinemaScore rating from movie goers exiting theaters last weekend.  It marked just the second time in 2021 that a documentary received such a high grade. In addition, it becomes the fourth Kendrick Brothers movie to receive an A+ rating, joining previous releases Courageous, War Room, and Overcomer.

The Kendricks’ first documentary focuses on several amazing true stories of what it means to be a good father in an age when many dads are absent from their children’s lives.  Along the way, this 91-minute feature takes viewers on an emotional and captivating journey that showcases the galvanizing effects of good parenting.

Serving as the film's centerpiece is the improbable and inspirational fatherhood story of former NFL player and coach Sherman Smith and Deland McCollough.  McCollough, currently the associate head football coach at the University of Indiana, decided several years ago to go on a search for his biological father.  What he discovered amazed him.  The man who had served as his college coach was actually much, much more than his mentor. Sherman Smith was his Dad.

I recently spoke with McCollough about his amazing journey to find his biological parents, what being a true father means to him, and a few practical steps on being the best father (parent) you can be.

You're a focal part of Show Me the Father. What made you want to take part in this? Could you share a little bit of your backstory?

When the story about how I discovered my biological parents came to the forefront, it was something that right from the onset became a matter of showing the faith aspect of how God had his fingerprints all over this story. My dad said this was a God thing and I'm 100% believing it. We didn't know the medium for reaching out and sharing our story. I didn't know who to call or anything like that. Opportunities were coming at us. I think God lined those things up perfectly for us to do various things. Being on ESPN E60 was the one that made the most sense as far as how our story got out initially.

Another opportunity came to the surface in the form of a movie.  That is in the process right now. But then a couple of years ago, I was approached by the Kendrick Brothers. And that was the icing on the cake, because it was something that from the very beginning was the route that we felt was most appropriate for what happened based on how God had orchestrated our whole story. Everything just fell into this perfect timing.

Based on your life story, what is your view of fatherhood? What does the word fatherhood mean to you?

Father to me is a verb. It's the act of being a father. Anybody can be a father biologically but that is a father being only a noun. Fatherhood to me is an act. Being involved, being there in all aspects of your child’s life.  That’s what being a father means to me.

Knowing your story, what lessons about fatherhood have you learned from your actual father? This could be Sherman or your adopted dad.

From my adoptive dad, I learned a lot of things I didn't want to do. The guy wasn’t around. So, from that I learned to be involved. If you say you're going to do something, do it right. You made a commitment as a father, and I get the whole marriage thing doesn't always work out. I understand that. So, from my adoptive father I learned what I didn't want my children to go through. From my biological dad, it wasn't like I grew up with him and saw everything. When I was with him every day, he was a good role model that I had in my life. My actual dad was there, he was present, he was on hand, he got to be a sounding board and mentor. He provided love. Those are the things that I saw, that I wanted to make sure that when I had children that they found that presence in their lives.

In watching this film, it's amazing to me what a mentor your biological dad was over all that time, playing for him and just keeping in touch with him afterwards. That's just amazing to me. Sherman Smith seems like a fine example of being a good mentor. Your thoughts on that?

I 100% agree because all my time with my dad, it was a two-way street. It never was I have all the answers, but just listen to what I have to say. He asks a lot of questions. Hey, what are you trying to do? What are your thoughts? So, it was a lot of back and forth. For me, his body of work spoke for itself. You saw that. It was obvious. To me, it was always he saw what I was doing. How can I help you get to a certain spot? And it’s not always as easy as telling my own kids that they should just watch what I'm doing. This is not always good because sometimes people don't know all the specifics and all the ups and downs involved to the point that a person in the right direction.

My dad always had an open door and was always willing to listen. A lot of times he would do more listening than talking. He wanted to know where I was coming from and some of the things I was trying to do. And from there, figuring out a plan without ever saying, “This is what you should do.” He would just give guidance to me. Through these experiences, he showed me what I tend to do with my own sons. From there, you just hope that the foundation that you've given them during the whole process leads them to the right conclusion.

How has the example that God has provided as being the perfect father impacted the way that you have raised your kids and continue to raise your children?

For me, the biggest thing is I never felt judged. I made a ton of mistakes. I still do. Raising my sons in this culture and just in my interactions with other people, I try not to completely judge people. So, in my engagement with my sons, there's things I want them to do better, but I don't want to be judge, jury, and executioner because God wasn’t that to me. If that is the case, I would have been executed a long time ago. That's the thing. As I work with my sons, I really try to be a glass half-full kind of Dad, perpetually, and always reinforcing my love for them.

So, when I start talking about my Heavenly Father, even though I've been slapped many times by life in various circumstances, God still ultimately showed me that He loved me with opportunities for redemption. Not only that, He continued to uplift me in my life. It was clearly God’s hand because some of the stuff I have been through and even some of my decisions, God has continued to see my heart and see me through.

After audiences have seen Show Me the Father, what would you like to see audiences get out of the viewing experience? What's your greatest hope for this film?

I want people to see ultimately the impact and importance of being a good father.  I hope they get to see all the positive aspects of it. As you go through the film, you will see good examples and bad examples of fatherhood.  But the good thing is that in every case, the people who are featured came out on the other side in a positive way. I would like for people to see the impact of our Heavenly Father in our lives. Although we may not see it on a daily basis I would like people to see the impact that good fathering can have on a child’s life. I believe being a father is a verb. It’s not just a thing. It’s something that you do. There's plenty of examples of that in the movie.

Even with my own father, not knowing he was doing it, he was being a father in a particular situation to me. And there he was because that’s what I was looking for. Obviously, I know my situation better than all the other stories in the movie. But this is what I would like for people to get from Show Me the Father. God is always there, and things happen in His timing. God has a reason for why He does everything He does. And at the end of the day, we can have some control over that too. There's examples of it in this film.

Watch a Trailer for the Latest Kendrick Brothers Release, Show Me the Father:

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