Thursday, June 14, 2012


I wrote this for my father last year. I'm posting it again because nothing has changed:

Father’s Day is this Sunday and I thought I might take some time to to talk about my dad and share some of the things he taught me.
I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve heard my father raise his voice in anger. He’s not stoic and he’s not a wimp, he just knows it’s better to control yourself than lose your temper. This is a lesson that has served me well throughout my 30 years and has probably kept me from getting my nose broken on more than one occasion.

Respect comes in many forms and my dad is a master of all of them. He treats everyone equally and does his best to keep his personal judgments to himself. My dad was never the kind of guy who would sit you down for a father/son chat about this sort of thing, but I watched him set thousands of examples while I was growing up.
Stand up for yourself when you’re right, apologize when you’re wrong:
After patience and respect have reached their limits and the other guy is still an asshole, you do what you need to do. After patience and respect have reached their limits and you realize that you’re the asshole, apologize. The only exception to those rules is family. Patience and respect never reach their limit when it comes to family.

 Sometimes buying a boat is a bad idea:
We had a boat for a while, then we didn’t. I think this is self-explanatory.

 Fishing is always a good idea:
There were some fairly bad days in our house when I was a kid and my dad had a real knack for knowing when I needed to get away. Every once in a while he’d hand me a spade and say, “Go out back and dig up some worms.” I’d do it and we’d go down to a pond about a mile from the house. The entrance to the pond was down a stone and dirt road. To get there, you had to know to follow the train tracks and which patch of overgrown weeds to push through to get to the fishing spot, but we knew just where to go.
No matter how bad a day it had been, I always felt the weight lift when we got to those broken down tracks and by the time I hooked a worm and cast my first line I felt good again. So we’d fish, and talk about what it would be like to catch a frog and cook it, or what species of huge fish might be dwelling in the deeper parts of the pond (oh, if only we had a boat to get there) or whatever things fathers and sons talk about while they sit and fish. It wasn’t really about the fishing though. It was about a little boy whose dad was there, just there, on the worst days.
I could go on, I’m not sure there’s really an end to the things my dad taught me and I learn more from him and about him every day.
I’m a father too and all of those things that I learned growing up are the things I’ll do in my own attempt to raise my daughter.
I’ll always be patient, and when I’ve reached my limit, I’ll take a deep breath and find more.
I’ll treat the people around me with respect and I’ll teach my daughter to be a strong and confident woman.
I’ll make sure she knows how to stand up for herself and how to admit when she’s wrong, and she’ll grow up knowing that love of family trumps both of those things.
I will never buy a boat.
I will take my daughter fishing, or shopping, or wherever she wants to go. I will always be there when she needs me and I’ll learn to back away when she doesn’t, but I’ll never be far away.
Most of all, I will love my daughter as best as I can. I’m not perfect, (my dad taught me that too) but I will strive every day to be a good man and live up to the standard my father set for me.
Thank you, dad, for everything. I hope this beats Hallmark. See you Sunday.

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