“Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever.”
My Dad is one of those men who has had incalculable impact on my life. I chose today’s quote because even though we might not talk every day my Father is always with me. The lessons he taught me from a very young age have formed the core of who I am as a man, as a leader, as a husband and as a Father. It is quite likely that not a single day goes by that I don’t do something, consciously or unconsciously, that is a direct attribution to my Dad in some way. This morning though I want to express my gratitude for three specific things that my Father taught me.
First, my Dad taught me from a very early age that EVERY person was to be valued and treated with dignity, honor and respect. It didn’t matter where a person came from, how much money they did or didn’t have, what race, religion or creed they belonged to. People were to be honored and respected. Period. I can think of dozens of stories from my life where Dad exemplified this through his actions in how he treated others. It wasn’t just words, he lived this out and taught me a valuable lesson through his actions. Some of those actions I observed became the bedrock of my own beliefs.
Second, my Father taught me the value of hard work. He grew up on a dairy farm and truly knew what hard work was. I remember his great stories from the farm and life growing up in rural Georgia in the 1950’s and 60’s. The stories all sounded fun but the most profound lesson that he passed on was when he taught me, “Son, on a farm the cows have to be milked seven days a week, 365 days per year. There are no days off on a farm. You have to take care of the animals that take care of you. Never forget that work doesn’t stop needing to be done simply because you are tired. When the work is done, you are done.”
Third, my father was hyper-engaged with my brother and I growing up in life. We went camping, fishing, hunting, boating, shooting, did Ju-Jitsu together, worked together on projects to earn money, etc. If there was something to be done or experienced it was the three amigos of my Dad, my brother and myself. Dad gave himself completely and fully to his boys and never put himself first in any way. Dad didn’t do things for us, he taught us how to do things. I have incredible memories of life growing up experiencing the world with my Dad. We didn’t have much money but we were rich beyond measure. My Dad wasn’t a helicopter parent in any way. He worked HARD. He worked a lot. But the hours that he had to give were given 100% to myself and my brother.
On this Father’s Day I am so appreciative of the lessons my Dad has taught me, and continues to teach me, through his actions, words and support. He is the silent guide on my shoulder and I am eternally grateful for his influence. Happy Father’s Day Dad…