I distinctly remember the moment I looked down and saw my father’s hand coming out of my sleeve. Until then, I had always thought I was my Mother’s son. Since then, I have found myself thinking I am becoming more and more like my Dad every day.
Is it the age, I wonder – me catching up on the staggered track of life – or does it have more to do with the fact that I am now a Father myself? More and more I find myself saying the things he used to say, doing the things he used to do, and marveling at how much smarter he seems now than he was then.
My father was a strong man, dynamic, and dramatic. A man of firm conviction, he expressed his opinions frequently and forcefully. For him, everything was monochromatic, black or white, right or wrong. There were no shades of grey or extenuating circumstances.
He walked into harm’s way daily for 20 years to put food on our table and seemed fearless until the day I came home with 7 stitches in my lip and blood covering my shirt. Before I could tell him what happened, he erupted like a volcano.
I remember the moment clearly because it was one of those ‘aha’ moments. My first reaction was – “Why is he yelling at me?” Then I realized he wasn’t yelling at me. He was yelling for me. He was yelling because he was afraid – not for himself, but for his son.
More than anything my Dad wanted me to get an education. At first I thought it was because this was something he had been denied. Now I know it had more to do with a Father’s desire to see a son reach his highest possibilities. My son taught me that lesson.
Daily for 18 years and change, I have watched my son grow. There is no way to describe the delight I take in seeing him discovers who he is meant to be and what he is capable of doing.
All will win, my father would say. All will lose. Win or lose take you best shot, let the chips fall where they may. Get up and go on. Never give up.
Win, lose, or draw, always try to do better, always try to make things better. Remember it is when we are tested that our true character is revealed.