With Father’s Day coming up, I find myself looking back at my childhood and thinking about the lessons I learned from my dad. I wonder, too, what I am passing on to my son–from that which my dad taught me.
October marks the 15th year since my dad passed away. And, sometimes, I still have a hard time coming to terms with that. It just doesn’t seem like it should be this way. He should be here, getting to know his grandson. But, unfortunately, life just doesn’t seem to work the way we would like it to sometimes. For good or for bad, I learned a lot from my dad–how to do things and also how not to deal with things (as a man and also as a dad).
I learned quite a bit from my dad. I guess the greatest gift/lesson he gave me was through his love and caring for children that were not “his”. It’s a great responsibility–to show them all the love and affection that you would give to your own flesh-and-blood child.
But, of course… The man I am talking about was not my biological father. He was my step-dad. He was the dad that he never HAD to be… and he stepped in to help my mother raise her 3 boys when I was 6.
So, he earned the title of dad; it was not just given to him by the birth of a child. It wasn’t a choice foisted on him; it wasn’t an obligation; but he did it out of love. He taught me that the title of dad is earned–through the many ups-and-downs of life; the good and bad.
He taught me to be true to the high standards FATHERHOOD should be set at–not “just getting by,” but doing the work. And, he taught me that you do it not because it is easy, but because it is hard. He wasn’t perfect, nor will I try to paint him in that light. We all have flaws: our warts.
But, he was there, doing the things a good dad should be doing.
I am sad that my son will not know his grandfather. He will only have my stories and my memories of the man I called “dad.”
Disclosure: I partnered with Oral-B and Life of Dad, LLC for the #PowerofDad Father’s Day promotion and was compensated for my involvement.