“The older I get, the smarter my father seems to get.” – Tim Russert
That’s how it goes, right? When we’re young, our dads don’t seem so smart or so cool. They go to work and come home, watch some sports, play hoops with us on the weekend. We think, “Dad’s a nice guy” but it’s not that often that we’re like, “Holy cow! Dad’s amazing! Can’t wait to be just like him!”
And then we grow up and learn about the world.
Holy heck, Dad becomes a lot smarter and a lot cooler.
Because while we were just seeing parts of the father routine as kids, we didn’t realize that Dad was teaching us how to live a good life. The whole time we were yawning, Dad was rocking life. Think about these three simple and worthy values we learned from our fathers:
1.) Show Up
Fathers go to work and they provide for their families. (As do moms!) Did that mean that Dad felt great every day at his job? No. But he went anyhow because that was the responsible thing to do. He promised to do it and so he did it. Some days were better than others and that was okay. Every day didn’t have to be perfect, but Dad promised he would show up for his job and he did. And that went double for family life. He promised to show up for his family and he did.
2.) Speak the Truth
Nothing can get The Stare from many dads faster than a lie. The truth is important to many fathers, as it should be. A man’s word is his bond. And if you say it, you better mean it. Lying was a fool’s game and not to be tolerated. Dad insisted we speak the truth.
3.) Have Each Other’s Backs
Good fathers teach us about teamwork. You take care of your brothers and sisters and they take care of you. Dad often enforced this rule in the house. “All for one and one for all” might be a line from Alexandre Dumas’s “The Three Musketeers” but it’s also a line in the sand for many dads. You cross one member of the family pack and you’re taking on the whole pack. This team sticks together.
When I look back now at what I learned from my father, I think, “Wow! He’s one smart guy!” But it was experience and life that gave me the filter through which I could see these and so many other things I was learning from my dad and the other dads in the world. So, this Father’s Day, we salute the Dads who lead us, love us, and teach us how to be good human beings. As we get older, we appreciate them and their values more and more.
Thanks, Dads! We love you!