A father’s influence…
When I think of my dad and all that he’s gifted me in life, they are the things you cannot package with ribbon and bows. They cannot be purchased and cannot be given without first possessing them yourself. They are the things that mold and shape a life, for life and who you’ll be within it.
A self made man:
Though with little formal education in his young life, he charged to the top of every employment he sought.
When I began junior high and taking classes like algebra, where he had no experience, seeing me struggle, he’d take my book, study it and teaching himself would then sit down to teach it to me.
And, when he decided to pursue law enforcement, he approached it with the same tenacity. He got his GED then pursued a college degree. Being a teenager myself at the time, he often took me with him to audit his classes. Afterwards, he’d take me out to eat where we would discuss the lectures and our thoughts on it.
He entered the police academy and graduated the president of his class, beginning a career that he would again, drive to the very top.
When my father bought any new device, the things that we all normally would toss into a drawer, the instruction manuals, he would sit down with and read from cover to cover, saying that anything worth doing, is worth doing right.
My father gave me a curiosity and desire to know and learn new things, the belief that I could and that knowledge should never cease. He gave me understanding and application of things like psychology, abstract and critical thinking, problem solving, logic. He have me a love of poetry, literature and fostered in me, creativity. And he gave me success in everything I’ve set my mind or hand to do….by doing them right.
His conduct within the home:
Growing up, my father was the clear head of our household. He did not lead our home by the power of force but with a calm reserve and confidence that simply commanded a sense of respect. A leader who leads by example, treated others respectfully as well. Even conflicts were managed without the frey of volume, personal attacks and cursing but rather with the calm clear logic of discussion. He was always fair and based decisions on what best served the needs of us all.
He was and is a man who thinks things through, examines an issue in 360°, patiently listens to the thoughts of others and when he didnt have an answer for something, made a point of finding one regardless of the effort it might take.
As a disciplinarian, he was never severe, incredibly patient and approached with the same calm reserve. He never laid a hand on me. He never needed to despite my deserving it. His quiet disappointment was all that was needed.
A father to an only child who happened to be a female, he was protective, maybe overly so but knowing the world at large that I would one day venture out into alone, sought to shield me from it and extend my innocence for as long as possible. Without realizing it at the time, this too was a gift. But, the most important gift was that I knew I was loved and he gave me a sense of value and worth….I was something worth protecting to him.
While he knew he could not prevent me from making mistakes in life, he did everything within his power to delay them and ensure those mistakes would not be life changing, life long or devastating ones. He gave me the gift of time, to grow and gain some maturity, character to accept accountability for my choices and the grit to deal with them on my own, not expecting others to clean up my messes..
I do not ever recall a single cuss word falling from my fathers lips as a kid! Though I know he had an entire adult life outside of my presence, I too am aware of how he conducted himself within it. He conducted himself with character and dignity, cautiously aware of the influence I would take and adopt from his behaviors and the things he wanted to instill in me. He told me once as a teenager that as a parent, aside from food, clothing, shelter, he didn’t owe me anything except one thing for the rest of my life…..to never make me ashamed of him. I never have been once.
My father taught me to have a quiet inner strength, to view things with a wide lense before solidifying an opinion, thought or belief. He taught me how to be thoughtful, to respect others and how to respect myself. He gave me dignity and the skills I would need to give solid counsel to others, especially my own children.
And to this very day, he gives me the gift of the safe place that he is..
As long as my dad is here, it doesnt matter the miles or moments between us, there is at least one person in the world with whom I will always have value, worth. I’ll feel protected and sheltered in the world.
When storms of life surround me or the cruelty and abuses of the world become too much, have a refuge in this world to run to.
And, regardless of the strength of storms I choose to weather on my own or how much of lifes pains and betrayal I choose to bare alone, I know the fortress of him stands just in the distance.
All these gifts I’ve recieved from my father, gifts you cannot wrap with ribbon and bows, are but a fraction of the gifts he’s given. But, if you could, it would be a novel and the tag would read —Love Dad
Fathers, I encourage you to move with presence and purpose within your children’s lives. You are more of an influencer than you may understand, an influencer who molds and shapes the people they become and equips them with gifts to last a lifetime.
Happy Fathers Day to all of you Fathers out there.
Always with Love – Laura