Sunday, June 18, 2006
Happy Father's Day
This morning I called my dad to wish him a happy father's day and to tell him how much I wished that I could be there with him. Actually I would like to tell him a lot of things but when we're together we don't actually talk that much. No real reason for it and I am not sure why.
On my birthday this year I received a birthday card from my parents in which my dad had written that he was sorry that we had not spent more time together and that he wished that he had been able to give me more. My dad had nothing to be sorry for as it was I who moved away at 18 and rarely lived closer than 2 1\2 hours away for most of that past 33 years. When I see my parents they almost always mention that they wish they could have given me more. More of what I always think? You see, I KNOW that they are referring to money or possessions. What they don't seem to realize is that they gave me so much more that is infinitely more valuable than any money in the world.
Both my mom and dad gave me their unconditional love, even when I screwed up (and that was lot let me tell you!).
My dad always stressed that education was essential in establishing a good career. My dad always wanted for me to attend med school but I'd have none of it (something that I now regret!). My dad worked in the aircraft business his whole life and when I was a kid he was priveledged to work on the Saturn V rocket. He took me to work one weekend and I got to see the huge first stage. I was so proud and hoped that I could work on something like that when I was grown. I was always amazed at how smart my dad is and was always impressed with his natural mathematical ability. My dad has always been the smartest man that I know!
A few lessons that I've learned from my dad.
1. You have to work for you want in life. We weren't well off when I was a kid but we always had just what we needed, clothes on our backs and food on the table. For one reason or another we went through some hard times when I was a kid but my dad would just take a second job to get us through. He would work two full time jobs and I never heard him complain about it. I now have a work ethic that I believe far exceeds most people that I know and I got that from my dad.
2. Treat everyone with respect. I grew up in the south in racially turbulent times but I always saw my dad treat everyone, regardless of color or ethnic background with dignity or respect.
3. Help people in need. My dad just could not drive by someone broken down on the highway without stopping. My dad would lend money to total strangers, if they needed gas he'd take them to the nearest gas station regardless of how far away it might be and buy them a meal if they were hungry. This without regard to race, ethnic background, or social standing. Later in life my dad also volunteered countless hours working for Carpenters for Christ, a christian organization that helps rebuild disaster damaged homes wherever that need might be.
4. Take time to talk to strangers. My dad has this ability to strike up a conversation with just about anyone. When we were younger my sisters and I used to get embarassed that dad would just start talking to total strangers. We might be in a restaurant, at the beach in Panama City Beach, or waiting in a line at the movies. My dad would strike up a conversation with a total stranger and before you knew it the two had discovered some link, be it a common friend, past acquaintance, or common interest or hobby. From that point on they might talk another hour or so and remain casual acquaintances for years to come.
5. One last lesson the I sincerely hope that I can tell my dad that I learned from him is that no matter how far you stray god will always welcome you back. Always!
I really do hope that my dad gets to read this although the chances of that are a little slim. I'm not sure that he has even looked at the internet or the world wide web.
Dad, just in case you do get to read this you need to know the following:
I had a wonderful childhood.
While I never had "everything I wanted" I always had everything that I needed.
My parents always let me be myself and I like to think they were often proud for me. When I was in a band in high school my dad actually built a stage for us. When I was twelve my dad gave me a Vox guitar just like the one that John Lennon used for a bit. When I was around 15 my dad brought home a "nifty Honda fifty" for me. Gosh, I rode that thing until it practically fell apart! My dad taught me how to be self sufficient, making do with what I have. He passed on just a bit of his natural ability to be a gardner, a carpenter, a mathematician, a mechanic, a good husband, and a good father.
Happy Fathers Day ......to the most important man that I know, my dad.