Today my dad would have been 80 years old. He was born this day in 1931 and passed away at the young age of 62. I've been thinking since yesterday about what I might write about him and even now as I sit at the computer, words are hard to come by. Through the years as I've compared other fathers to mine, I've only found myself wishing their children could experience even a taste of the one I had--because of who and what my dad was to and for me. Many of my friends called my father their father, if they were ever in need or trouble. Our home was a safe haven for the kids in my class.
If there ever was an opportunity to use a model for fatherhood to a son, it was he. I look back on my childhood never wondering why I missed out on anything. He was the consumate father and man. A man's man. A son's father.
The last several years of my life have been spent raising 3 daughters and mentoring scores of other young men and women in ways that I was taught by dad. He gave me the example and shoulders to stand on while living that out in my own ways. I couldn't mentor the way I do without growing up under him and later being given other mentors in my late 30s through the present time. Virtually every day in my imagination, I see my father with those I meet as if he's there instead of me. The power he instilled in me has given me a stamina with others that often surprises me.
I always wanted to be like him when I grew up, yet he taught me I would never grow up being like him, but being me. That took into my 30s and early 40s to understand. I thought it was about success, but you don't have to grow up like your father or anyone else to have that. I found out it was through failure that I would learn who I really was rather than what I could do or be or imitate.
All I can end with is: Wow! Dad. You were, therefore I am.