Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Today is Father's Day. I wrote about my own dad in 2006, and a little last year about fathers in general. But I thought I'd try to summarize some of the things my dad did that make him a great father.
  • He modeled his values to me. Does he preach these? No, he lives them:
    • Empathy: try to see thing from the other person's point of view. He didn't talk a lot about this, but when I remarked that something (a caterpillar?) was funny-looking, he remarked that I probably looked funny to that caterpillar, too.
    • "The people that made this thing weren't magicians. They made it; we can take it apart (and maybe fix it)." This isn't to say "I can do anything", but just a reminder not to give up too early.
    • Kindness: don't make someone feel bad without a really good reason. He was rather annoyed with a colleague who had ridiculed someone else. The deed was done; why make him feel worse?
    • Thrift is good, but never buy something you think might be stolen. It came out that a highly-paid individual at the office had bought a stolen TV set. He didn't have to tell me never to do that; his disdain for that guy stuck with me.
  • I wrote about this 3½ years ago, but Dad taught me to do things by doing them with me -- how to wash the car, how to overhaul the cylinders and adjust drum brakes, this sort of thing.
  • He always appreciates the food Mom prepares.
  • "I'm proud of you!" There are a lot of guys who never hear that from their fathers. I'm glad to say Dad said that to me many times as I was growing up, and he hasn't stopped. Not to say I'm so great, but he makes me feel like I'm great.
Odd that I think of these things now that the kids are all but gone. I like to think I've practiced them as they grew up.

You may have noticed that I don't write as much about my mom as I do about my dad. This is not to say she's not a terrific mom too! I suppose, though, that I think about Dad's example more than Mom's because he's the one I more naturally emulate.

Dad, if you're reading this, I hope the rest of your Father's Day is a great one!

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