LEHI — Scott and Becky Mackintosh never thought Scott's lifelong dream of becoming a public speaker for teens would come true. While the couple have seven children who have taught them plenty of shareable life lessons, Becky didn't see how it could ever happen.
That is, until Scott decided he would teach his daughter a lesson in modesty. It all took place one Monday night when the couple's 19-year-old daughter, Myley, refused to change into longer shorts per her parents' request.
In an effort to demonstrate just how distracting short-shorts can be, Scott cut off a pair of his own jeans to wear during the family outing. He paired his Daisy Dukes with a "Best. Dad. Ever." T-shirt and called it good. Scott not only got a reaction from his kids, but eventually from thousands who saw the picture online.
"I had just put it on my Facebook," Becky said. "My son put it on his Twitter, and my daughter put it on Tumblr. That night it got 130,000 shares, so I was like, 'OK, you need to write the story.'"
That's when Scott agreed to write "The real story behind the short-shorts," which first appeared on Becky's blog. Although the picture had been seen by many, the readers didn't know why Scott had put the short-shorts on, Becky explained, which is a main reason Scott decided to write the post.
"It was after we posted the story behind the picture on my blog that it went viral," Becky said. The popularity began with a KSL interview, and the same day Deseret News ran the story. "Then the phone started ringing off the hook.
"Initially it was the funny picture that took off. But then when they read the story, it was a lesson of love," Becky said. "He did that because he loves his child. People are desperate to do that. He brought embarrassment to himself, not to his daughter."
Scott, Becky and Myley appeared on many national TV shows, including "Today," "Good Morning, America," "Inside Edition" Australia's "Sunrise" and CNN news programs, and they were mentioned or discussed by dozens of others.
"We would get a text message from someone saying, 'They're talking about you on TV,' or 'Jay Leno is talking about you,'" Becky said.
One of their most memorable appearances was on "Rachael Ray." When explaining the story and showing the viral picture to the show's guest host, Regis Philbin, Rachael Ray said, "I love this guy. I think he's my hero. ... I love that he turned the tables and came out in short-shorts." Ray then spoke with Scott, Becky and Myley about the experience.
"Definitely my whole life I've been taught — we say 'modest is hottest," Myley told Ray and Philbin. "So definitely my whole life I've been taught to dress modestly, so I think this was just a good reminder that maybe I needed. Now I think about it again more."
Ray eventually brought out Scott's short-shorts, which she had framed along with the phrase "modest is hottest."
"Because of what we see on TV, we often think everyone in the world is pushing for you to be less modest," Becky said, "but having the media picking up on this story with the focus on 'modest is hottest' shows you they're wanting better. It's been an eye-opener."
As for the reaction Scott has received, Becky explained that anyone who knows her husband knows this stunt wasn't too far out of his comfort zone.
"Scott's funny. For him to do this it wasn't shocking," Becky said. "To him, it's something that any dad would do to help his daughter. For him to do it, it was just natural."
Once their story went viral, many news outlets and national talks shows labeled Scott Dad of the Year, but the Mackintoshes are just grateful to be spreading a positive message throughout the world.
"It's been a blessing that all of these national TV shows have focused on 'modest is hottest' and a father's love for his daughter," Becky said. "She knows that he loves her."
Since posting the picture, the Mackintoshes have received many messages from both parents and teenagers, expressing their gratitude for the uplifting story.
"Most of the comments came from parents," Becky said, "but the ones who touched us the most came from teens and a few adults referring back to when they were teens, saying, 'I wish I had a dad that loved me that much.'"
Such comments have inspired Scott and Becky to pursue their dreams of public speaking and writing a book, both opportunities presented to them after the short-shorts story went viral.
New York Times best-selling author Bridget Cook has reached out and is helping Scott and Becky write their own e-book, "My Husband Wears the Short Shorts in THIS Family." Public speaker Chad Hymas has also worked with the couple to help them prepare for in-person opportunities to share their wisdom. More information about their pursuits can be found on the Life's Short Lessons website.
"We'll share our life lessons. We don't claim to be experts, just sharing our own experiences as parents," Becky said. "We have a sense of humor, but we are also very serious. Yet you have to laugh and roll with things when you are a parent. It can be overwhelming."
While it has all come rather quickly, and as a great surprise to Scott and Becky, who just recently celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary, they know they can't pass up an opportunity to continue sharing uplifting messages.
"Sometimes I feel like, 'No, I can't do this,'" Becky said. "But then I say I can do this; the world is wanting this."