“I just wanted to say how much I get from your site. I’m a therapist in private practice and I also supervise therapists in training for licensure. Your writing has helped me reconnect with my Family System Theory roots. I share your writings with clients and supervisees. It’s also really helped me in my own “self work” – an important part of the process! Keep up the good work.” Anne Ferrell Leggett
“Have I ever told you, you are one of the most incredible people I have ever met? I am so fortunate that you (and your family) have had a part of my son’s life.” Lauren Ryan Cislak
“Anyway we don’t need you to fix things, we need you to fix us! Stick to giving us advice on our loves, hates, bossy husbands and cranky wives. I am an avid fan of yours living in Durban…….so is my 85 year old mother Thora, she is still taking advice from your column on how to live her life. You rock!!!”
Elaine De Fonseca, Durban
I have been following you for a while. Congrats on your two boys Rod, I can imagine you being an incredible father, you were always an amazing person and someone we could all talk to and feel safe with.
I still take pleasure in reading your column in the local paper… and tell my family that that wise chap once taught me.
“I attended the MMBC in Chatel, Switzerland the spring of 98. I don’t expect you to remember me, but you and your teaching was, and is key to my counseling and walk with the Lord. Thanks! You did an exercise with us and I volunteered. You told me to let lose but I didn’t as I would have gotten physical, throwing things around. We met after lunch and your grace covered me like a balm. I don’t know how many times I have used your open hand in helping people to understand how others treat them vs. how God treats them. I have wanted to IM with you on several occasions but didn’t want to bother you, as I know that you are busy but I read everything that you post and I am blessed by YOU and who you are and then by your ministry. I appreciate reading about you and your handsome sons and what goes on in your lives. Thanks. And again THANK YOU for being you. You have dedicated years of your life to training, to serve God and others and give away what you have received. I want you to know that you are LOVED by the Father and by countless others who you have served and loved!”
Cliff H. Estonia
Hope all is well with you Rod. Just wanted to let you know, I will be in Cleveland this spring doing an internship for my favorite chef Michael Symon. Thanks again for all you ever did for me. Things are finally starting to work out.
Thank you for your column that appeared in the Mercury today, 18 June. I have been feeling particulary sorry for myself after the death of my wife 18 months ago. The added responsibility of bringing up a family on my own and holding down my job as a school principal has made me feel this way. I guess it is just time to grow up and get over myself at the age of 48? You are so right. The only person who can change my life is me!
And it is YOUR letter, this morning, that makes the countless hours I sit at this computer worthwhile. Yes. It is deeply sad that your wife (anyone’s wife) will die at any age and it is deeply difficult to rear children and keep a job and mourn great loss — no doubt. You have a LOT of room for feeling sorry for yourself BUT….. it will probably not be helpful to remain there.
Thanks. Thanks. Thanks. When I come to RSA I would like to speak at your school either to students or to parents or two both. Please keep in touch. I want to hear how you are doing.
Rod E. Smith
Dear Rod Smith,
Thanks for your posts. Your posts have had an incredible result in helping to improve my understanding of men and relationships. Even more, I’ve really come to appreciate how great my life is in comparison to the situation of others. I guess the old adage of learning from other people’s mistakes has terrific merit.
I’m one of those lucky women whose father took the time to tell her all the lines guys come up with to use women. Keeping up with your blog has opened my eyes about emotional affairs as well. I have very little relationship experience in the area of dating. Therefore, I’ve come to regard your blog as setting out warning signs for emotional road-hazards. Can’t tell you how much grief I’ve been spared by taking your words seriously.
For example, a married male acquaintance admitted to me that he has had (or is having) emotional affairs with other women. He added, there are plenty of ways to be intimate without intercourse. Having read your blogs, I was on to him as soon as he admitted these things to me. I went from liking that fellow to actually having pity for his life and his wife. More importantly, I ran quick and far in the opposite direction.
I appreciate the profession you are in and have myself benefited from years of working with excellent therapists. Thank God for good therapists who have the courage and patience to tell their patients the truth.
S. E. Moore
I just wanted to thank you for everything you did for me during my crossroads time spent with you last week. It was such a memorable marker for my life…. a sure turning point for me! I knew that I needed a turning point and you helped facilitate that for me. It was exactly what I needed!
I am very aware that I needed to grieve the loss that I have had and that was a necessary season for me. You helped me to make sense of what could be and accept what could not be reasoned out.
Thank you for helping me see how to put closure to that part of my life. I appreciate so many words of wisdom that I was able to take with me.
But it didn’t end there, your blessing to my life will ripple further: you encouraged me to seriously think about, embrace, and step into the dreams and goals that have been laying dormant within me…to embrace my life…abundant life.
I have already started working towards some of the “heart-storm” ideas (I love that word, by the way). It is life giving and exciting to step into those areas of me. I had hope for my future, but now I also have excitement about my future. Thank you for helping me to see this.
I truly see that you have a gift and talent for facilitating healing wings and encouraging embracing abundant life. I truly wanted to do that!
During my time there, your way of working through life issues was very transforming at just the right time and season of my life. Thank you for investing into my healing and growth. Thank you for encouraging me in practical ways of “how to” pursue and embrace my life and goals.
Also, I really appreciate you transporting me from and to the airport and working out accommodations while I was there. That was very helpful! I know that you made a sacrifice with your boys to help me in this season.
Thank you so very much! Blessings to you and your sons!
“You helped me look at my past, current and future and challenged me to love my wife and daughter all the more. You are one of the best speakers I have ever met.” David, Korea
“Everything you have taught me is contrary to what I have learnt in the past.” Lisa, South Africa
“Thank you for the hours you have spent with individual students and staff.” DTS Leader, Scotland
“I have felt like I am walking in a heavy storm all week. You have challenged me to grow up.” Jongchel, Korea
“You are the most provocative thinker I have come across.” Joyce, Malaysia
“I had a great time getting to know you and Thulani.” Andrew, Indonesia
“I did not find it easy to connect with you.” Juanita, Costa Rica
“You said ‘Anxiety is more damaging than the Beastie Boys’…. I liked that!” Michael, USA
“I loved the teaching about confused intimacy. Thanks.” Elaine, England
“The material you presented is astounding and quite overwhelming. Right now I am more than a little perplexed.” Daniel, Colorado, USA
“Of course you are welcome (to come to Egypt). I thought it is not good (for you) to teach in Egypt. I don’t think they can accept (you). It’s a risk” Usama, Egypt
“First: Thanks for the enormous effort it is to gather up a little fellow of this age and travel many miles to share with us the truths of your experience and learning.” Jean, USA
“Your statement that unresolved issues between a dad and a son get passed on to the next generation helped me realize that I want to work with my own son to resolve what we can to break that cycle. You are blessed to have Thulani in your life.” Jim, USA
“It has been almost one year since I had your teaching in the Children In Need School in Seattle. I wanted to let you know how much impact these lessons have had in my life.” Brigitte, Brazil
“Thanks for putting up with us. Actually, it wasn’t really easy to put up with you.” Evelyn, Germany
“Thank you for saying many times we don’t have to agree. I will never forget you. You were the strangest, most interesting, most unpredictable teacher I ever had.” Lisa, Switzerland
“Freedom can be frightening in the beginning, but at the same time a big relief!” Susanne, Switzerland
“You would be a challenge for a woman to marry.” Bunty, New Zealand
“You are the first person to ask me sincerely what I want to do with my life.” Pippa, England
“I can’t remember a speaker getting so much reaction out of me.” Vivienne, Switzerland
“I appreciate (that) you can accept many hard questions and challenges from us. Your book helps me. Wendy, Hong Kong
“You have shown me much I want to make part of me.” Merete, Denmark
“You are like a controversial commercial on the screen.” Poh Moi, Singapore
“You have encouraged me to deal with my past in order that I might have healthy relationships in the present and future. I am excited about working through the tasks in your book!” Alison, Canada
“Your book is good. Thank you for reminding me that we serve a colorful God.” Nicole, Canada
“Though I don’t agree with all your teachings, I do respect your views.” Paula, Canada
“The Open Hand offered me questions to so many of the answers I had.” Sarah, Canada
“You have not only open hands but you also have an open mind.” Monique, Switzerland
“I tried not to be fully convinced by what you said.” Yorshu, Korea
“I am very glad that you came here.” Michael, Austria
“You are original and full of colours. To be honest, sometimes I got irritated and frustrated and even scared to tell you my thoughts about things because you seem to be so convinced bout your opinions. In other words you are often on the edge of arrogant.” Elsbeth, Scotland
“I like your face.” Elizabeth, Sweden
“Thank you for the challenge to focus on strength rather than weakness. I can summarize the week in one word: turbulence.” Minyoung, Korea
“Thank you for coming even if it was only for me.” Mamy, Madagascar
“As I listened to your teaching I realized I felt a burden gone. I am tired of being nice to people.” Eun Sook, Korea
“Very intense.” Theresea, USA
“Dangerous. This book could break up marriages.” Peter, UK
“A couple of years ago, you wrote a piece about adultery and the venom it spews. I was taken aback at your descriptions of couples so engaged; the pictures you painted were too vivid for comfort. I remember cutting that article out, carrying it with me for quite awhile, and whenever temptation reared, I’d pull it out of hiding and pray on it. Sometimes it saved me. Sometimes I was weak. I knew you were right back then. I didn’t want to acknowledge it.” Reader, USA
“Outstanding writing from your mind and pen.” Jim, USA
I have been meaning to respond to one of your articles from a few weeks ago. It was the one regarding someone who said you shouldn’t adopt. Well, that is balderdash! I applaud your adopting the two boys. I enjoy your stories of your life as their dad. I work as a child advocate volunteer and I have seen way too many homes where though there were two parents there was not nearly the attentiveness and love you show your boys. I applaud you. Melissa, USA
“This is the most helpful book I have read.” Shannon, Indiana, USA
“This time last year I attended a seminar you held in Durban where I was struck with insight about quite a few things in my life. I saw how I had allowed my husband to dominate my thinking (actually, I allowed him to steal my brain). Slowly, over the years he took complete control of everything and every time I said how unhappy I was, people told me to have more patience. Thanks for showing me that being patient with a cruel person just lets cruelty grow. After the seminar I made some very important decisions and in the past year no one has called me stupid, no one has shouted at me, no one has made fun of me in front of my grandchildren or neighbors. I can wear whatever clothes I want and I can talk to my sons, daughters and their children without his constant jealousy and interference. I can go to the mall and I can stay longer than I planned without his thinking I am having an affair. I am a person again. It took some time, but I have my identity back. My only regret is that I allowed myself to be trampled on for so long. Thank you, thank you.” Finding Myself, South Africa
“I was expecting a full on lecture of the same old blah blah about relationships I have heard a million times before. Instead what I got was a time of true enlightenment through the concept of the Open Hand. Now I am longing to see my parents because now I know how open their hands have been to me. Thanks for sharing your free time with us at Karaoke and Scrabble. Also, thanks especially for sharing Thulani.” Charity, USA
“Your meddling into another countries customs with your western views are absurd. People that have the holier than thou attitude that you display threaten American credibility over the world. You may have the right to free speech here, but you go to Africa for any period of time I wouldn’t take any bets on the value or length of your life as a meddler. Good Luck.” Anonymous Reader, USA
“I need to thank you for your column in the Indianapolis Star today regarding abusive relationships. Midway through your column you said something that I needed desperately to hear: that no matter how dysfunctional, how miserable a relationship is, there is no excuse for any kind of abuse.” Reader, Indianapolis
“You have very unique way of teaching. I want to be as funny as you when I teach.” Na Young, Korea
“You make all the mothers in the class decide they will never complain again about taking care of two children when they hear you take care of Thulani and Nathanael and your house by yourself. Thanks for your teaching; the school is lifted up. I was very nervous when you came. Someone told me that you are a good teacher but your material is unacceptable. This is not true.” Family Ministry School 2003 Co-leader, Jonathan Sook, Korea
“Your teaching makes me want to study family therapy.” Young Jae, Korea
“Thank you for taking the time to respond. I appreciate your advice. I recall reading your article a while ago urging one not to be bitter towards others even though one has been wronged. You said ‘bitterness will have your soul for breakfast.’ I found that article most powerful in managing my thoughts while working towards a positive future.” Nisch P., Kwa-Zulu Natal
“Thanks for saying ‘when you find your self you will find your size and you will find your voice and it will be beautiful. It was nice to finally meet the infamous Rod.” Vicki, Kiev
“I was at Open Hand in Romania this summer, clearing out a loft and I came across a copy of the Open Hand. I found it incredibly helpful myself and gave it to my Dad to read. My Mum, fed up with my Dad not reading it, and having read it herself, gave it away to some deserving friends for Christmas. How can I get hold of another copy?” Lucia, Scotland
“Your compliments made some tears flow.” Pat, USA.
“My book just arrived. It is most spectacular. Thank you for the years of devotion you put into your calling. I will certainly share the message written within the pages, through the my excitement of the message, but hopefully most as a living example.” Ann, Georgia, USA
“Your column today – Valentines Day 2004 – is one that will be kept to share with my children. I plan to have them read it now and especially when they start to look for a life partner.” Gayle, USA
“I am not surprised (that) many former pupils communicate with you. I read your column every chance I get. I think you are making a huge contribution to society.” Chairman, Glenwood old Boys Association, South Africa
“Thanks for quietly carrying on with your column in the absence of any feedback (from the editorial staff). Your writings have really matured, in my view, and usually hit the mark perfectly. You have become the unsung hero on our leader page (and it is) one of the most popular features among readers, judging from some of the comment of my friends. Have you thought of entering your column into any of the journalism competitions that run over the year? Devi Rajab, our Monday columnist, last year won the Vodocom journalist of the year award. The Mondi Newspaper Awards are coming up. If you are interested I will get my secretary Liz Swart to find out if your column is eligible. Please keep the good work – it is much appreciated.” Dave Canning, Editor, The Mercury
To The Editor The Mercury:
“One feature in your newspaper that I never miss reading is Rod Smith’s column. The advice he gives out can only benefit those that read it and judging by the responses to his columns, I am not the only one whose life has received added value through this medium. I recently sent him an e-mail asking for advice and was pleasantly surprised to receive not only an email back from him but also a phone call at his expense to provide and discuss a solution to my problem. Thank you for providing his services to your readers.” Chris Brown, Durban
“I have been reading your column and advice for approximately the last 4 years and have re-assessed my life and after two failed attempts at leaving an abusive marriage, I have eventually managed to get out and start to rebuild myself. The road is full of potholes and speed humps but with a lot of support from family and friends and a wonderful teenage daughter, we are slowly but surely getting to a better place. To all those out there, who like me read your column, hang in there and when the time is right things will fall into place and those true friends and family will stand by you. Thanks a million. Marcelle, Durban
“I read your column in The Mercury every day and keep promising myself to drop you a mail. We knew you in Glenwood School days. Do you remember Kevin J. who lost his Mom unexpectedly when he was in Grade 8? Well, as you may know my late husband John and I fostered Kevin and over the past twenty years has become our son in the true sense of the word. He is now married and has a beautiful baby girl Taylor; he has his own business and is a very committed Christian. I know that you helped him greatly 20 years ago through his trauma and I just thought you would like some news of your “old boys.” My beloved husband John was tragically killed in a car accident two years ago – that experience was naturally very difficult for all of us, but we count our blessings from the Lord and try to carry on. You would have been so proud of my two boys; they said the eulogy at their Dad’s funeral to a packed church. They were outstanding. Anyway, just thought you might like some good news rather that the sad problems you deal with such dignity. Laura Palmer, Durban
“If I am in a hurry you are the only thing I read in the paper!” Pat, Durban