Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thoughts on Fathers

W ith the exception of the newest medical advancements, we all have at least one... Of course I am speaking of fathers.

Now understand that I have the best Dad that ever was or ever will be. My Dad has always been there with wise advice or a well-placed wise-crack, whichever the occasion demands. When we were children, no matter how busy he was, when he was home he was there for us. He taught my brothers and me how to think, but never what to think. If we had an idea to share or a point to make, we were free to speak our minds and the ensuing discussions were always boisterous, but never belittling. As a result, we carry on this tradition to this day and it still makes for some very loud table conversation. His only real failure was his misguided attempt to help me with my math homework once, but he hasn't failed me since. [Well, there was that one time when he tried to throw me off the Empire State Building and to this day he denies it, but I know the truth.] Anyway, that aside, no one could have asked for a better Dad.

So that's my dad in a nutshell, but I am willing to entertain the idea that there might be other great dads out there too. And maybe one of them is yours. So let's honor our fathers [or that special fatherly person who influenced your life], and share some great stories about why they are the best.


AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Nice tribute. I'm glad you're open to the idea that there are other great fathers out there too! ;-)

Mine falls into that category. The one thing he always taught us was to always strive to improve yourself. He started as Air Force enlisted ($78 a month), and then spent the rest of his life doing things like working a second job or going to college at night to slowly but surely work his way up into the middle class. And he always made sure we had what we needed to get a good education and to become successful.

Like yours, he also never told us what we needed to do or what we needed to think, but he taught us how to make those decisions for ourselves.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. If I may borrow a line from Tel'c of Stargate SG-1, there has been at least one virgin birth, i.e. no father. . . "Darth Vader."

And that didn't turn out too well.

Anonymous said...

Great article, Bev!

My dad and I went through... I don't want to say "rough patches," but we never had tons in common and he worked crazy hours when my brother and I were little. But while I inherited many of my characteristics from mom's side (like my sense of humor... so blame her!), I do recognize that I inherited plenty from him and his side, including my work ethic, punctuality, and tendency to take inhumanly-sized bites out of my food. :-)

He's not the most talkative, whereas I can babble for hours about nothing. One of my greatest fears is disappointing him but as long as I'm productive and supporting myself, then everything will be okay.

And thank God he and mom are still together (read: crazy) after all these years. As I slowly approach 30 and my friends settle down, all I can think is, "How do these guys do it?" I guess I'm not ready to put someone else's needs ahead of mine yet... one day.

Unknown said...

Bev: My dad was a tough old Prussian. But he taught me self-discipline, the need to strive, and how to handle family crises. I've felt over the years that he was distant in a way that made me wonder if he cared for me. I made a point of always letting my kids know how much I love them. Sadly, just as we were starting to get close again for the first time since I was a small child, he passed away just before my fifteenth birthday. I never got the chance to say "thanks" for being a great provider and a great teacher. Some time after his death, I began to see things or be told things by my mom about how many things my dad had done for me but never took credit for because he didn't want me to be "soft." He was a creature of his times and his background, but many times I've wished I could have acknowledged those generous things he did for me that he didn't want me to know about.

Tennessee Jed said...

My Dad was a great scout leader, baseball coach, and teacher. I always felt he probably sacrificed his career a little to be there for my brother and myself.

One great piece of advice: Stay in your first job at least a year so you don't get a reputation for moving around.

The classic, though was when my brother and I were little, he explained why it was critical to completely obey him. Suppose we were walking along and a huge container of horse manure started to fall on us. He would yell to warn us, but we had to instinctively trust what he told us to do.

My dad passed away in 1999. We scattered his ashes from the top of Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid in the Adirondacks he so loved. Not a day goes by that I don't crack a smile remembering one of his jokes.

Tam said...

My dad is relatively small and relatively quiet, but somehow, this father of 4 girls intimidated the high school boys who came around the house. I suspect it had something to do with the gun cabinet situated in prominent view upon entering the house, but even so, he had quite a presence despite smallish stature. He taught us to be responsible and independent, to value education, and to cultivate our personal relationships, especially within our families. He is faithful to God and devoted to his family, and a great example to all of us.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Your dad was Kaiser Wilhem? I should have known when you said your family came over in 1918! LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Tam, It sounds like he had his hands full! But it sounds like he did a great job.

Scott, My parents are still together too and I'm very thankful for that. I think there are a lot of lessons to be learned in how they've worked together over the years to make it work. And I cringe when I hear people say, "it's not exciting anymore" after a couple years. Excitement is a horrible basis for a relationship.

Jed, Excellent advice. I know people who started job hopping right out of lawschool (usually after 10-11 months). After two of those, no one would hire them anymore.

rlaWTX said...

I miss my dad.

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