Yesterday was Father’s Day – a day set aside to recognize the impact men have on the lives of their children. Like most dads, I spent time with my boys, watched a little of the U.S. Open (a bit of a tradition in my house), and grilled up some steaks. All in all, a very good day.
To me, however, Father’s Day means much more than the traditional celebrations. Like many people, my wife Sandy and I struggled to get pregnant. In fact, over the course of five years we endured the following: two “normal” miscarriages, two ectopic pregnancies – one of which threatened Sandy’s life, and lost a baby at 22 weeks. After working with several doctors and taking many tests, we were finally blessed with our twin boys, Drew and Mitch. It was truly the most difficult – and most rewarding – journey of my life.
Today, those boys are young men of 13 who straddle that hormonal line of puberty as gracefully as possible. On any given day they bring me joy, thought, frustration, laughter, irritation, and pride. In other words, they are reflections of me and our journey through life together.
As they continue to grow, my sincere hope is that I have imparted the following lessons from my life to them:
People are generally good if you give them the chance
It’s important to take chances – a life of regret is not worth living
Work hard – not because you have to, but because it brings you pride in knowing you’ve done your best
Not every moment of every day needs to be filled with activity. Learn to not only enjoy silence, but embrace it to fuel your creative thought.
Doing things for people, especially spontaneous acts of selflessness, is one of the greatest joys in life
The world owes you nothing. If you want something, you must work to get it and work even harder to hold on to it.
Focus on people – look at them squarely in the eye, pay attention to them, and listen not only to their words, but their heart
Learning to show people you love them through actions is far more important than uttering the words, "I love you."
Have the courage to be your own man. In the long run, you’ll be much happier learning from your own mistakes than paying the price for going along with the mistakes of others.
Know that you are loved without reservation and nothing will ever change that
By the same token, I’ve learned quite a bit from them – mainly what it means to be a father:
Tossing around a baseball/kicking a soccer ball and talking solves almost every problem
A silent hug in a moment of sadness can say more than words ever could
The two words “Daddy’s home” screamed at top volume is easily the greatest salve for a difficult business trip
Teaching you to do things – simple repairs, grilling food, and mowing the lawn – has taught me patience…in abundance
I realize this has little to do with marketing, branding, or the promotional products industry. Some might even argue that this blog isn’t the “right” vehicle for this Father’s Day missive. However, look again at those lessons and tell me that the vast majority of them only apply to fatherhood.