The Joy of Parenting: Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

Dad with mom at their 50th Wedding Anniversary.
Dad with mom at their 50th Wedding Anniversary.

Happy Father’s Day! On fifty-three occasions you have celebrated this day as a father. I wonder what your memories are of our very first one. For the record, my memory of that occasion is a little fuzzy. Over the years, my respect for you has grown, not because you are more worthy but because I’ve come to recognize your wisdom.

Dad, you taught me many lesson about life. Its impossible to remember them all. But here’s a short list:

1) You taught me to love my wife, mainly because you loved my mom. There was never a doubt that you were madly in love with mom, never a doubt about your commitment and devotion. I always felt our family was safe and secure. It was a safe haven for the storms of childhood. Your example taught me how to love for a lifetime.

2) You taught me the difference between being a man and a boy. The basics of taking responsibility and owning my mistakes were great lessons even if I didn’t like them at the time. You taught me to avoid the path of least resistance so I might do what is best for my family.

3) You taught me the value of working hard. While growing up around a family construction business certainly provided ample opportunities for the hard part of work, it was the ethic of working that was most valuable.

4) You taught me to love my kids. The ways you stayed involved in my life, the days of “going to work with dad”, and a sundry of other expressions demonstrated your affection. I remember a Valentine’s Day card that simply said, “Son, I love you”. You signed it “Dad”. I still have that card.

5) You taught me to be compassionate but not a pushover. I watched you generously help many people but you taught me to have a healthy skepticism. I remember the time a man approached us and handed you a card that said, “I’m a deaf mute. Please consider helping me.” You gave the man a couple of dollars and he walked away. When he was about twenty feet away you yelled “Hey!” and we watched the man turn around and heard him say “huh?” It was a life lesson about stewardship and about helping in ways that really matter.

6) You taught me what it means to be truly successful. You taught me that success for a man is not what he leaves for an inheritance, the letters after his name, or the impressive job titles; it is in his legacy of being a man to his family.

Now, like you, I’m a dad and a grandfather too. I have tried to pass on many of the life lessons I learned from you…and learn the lessons you are still teaching me. I’m proud to be known as your son and as I have watched you deal with the ups and downs of life, I can honestly say that you are my hero. I love you dad.

Happy Father’s Day!  (feel free to use the “share” buttons below!)


Note: My mother passed away in December 2013. My dad and I share another experience: Widowerhood.

One thought on “The Joy of Parenting: Dear Dad

  1. I would say that is about the best tribute I have ever read and I can honestly say your father I know will be very proud and teary eyed when he reads it.

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