By: Jay Scott
Father’s Day takes on extra meaning for me this year because I lost my father this year on March 11. Ironically, because of the pandemic I was able to spend some extra time with my father in his last months because of my ability to work remotely. We had many amazing conversations over those weeks we spent together. I was lucky to have him as my father and as one of my role models growing up. It got me thinking about things I’ve learned as a son from my father and things I’ve learned from as a father to my kids.
Here are four things I learned from my father and kids:
1. Being a reliable and hard worker is a very important life skill.
My father was always up early so he could get to his job as a machinist on time. I remember he would always be gone before I returned home from delivering newspapers at 6:30 am and he would come home in time for dinner. I like to think I am a hard worker.
2. Words spoken, especially to kids, matter.
My father always coached us in sports, especially baseball. In my father’s last months we heard from people who are now grown with their own families, how much my father touched them through his coaching. I was quite amazed as I never thought about or realized that a coach, let alone my father, could have that kind of an impact on other people outside our family. It taught me that words spoken, especially to kids, can have a lifelong impact on them. So I need to choose my words wisely.
3. Life is about being together, not material stuff.
Some years back our family was traveling. The first two nights we stayed in fancy hotels with enormous hotel rooms. The third night we stayed in a run down motel in the middle of nowhere. We were actually the only people staying in the motel and after checking in, the person working there told us to grab some videotapes to watch and that they were leaving for the night. We had a roll-a-way bed that barely fit in the room wedged between the other beds. Guess what? Our three boys loved this motel better than the fancy hotels because our family was squished into this tiny room together and we could watch movies all night, no distractions. It reaffirmed to me what life is about - being together with family and not material stuff.
4. Be grateful for the things you have; not unhappy for what you don't.
I can very vividly remember a middle of the night trip to the emergency room for a bloody nose that wouldn’t stop. We put my daughter, Alex in the back seat of the car and buckled her in for the drive. Alex, who was dying from cancer, was content with a box of tissues, holding several to her nose in an attempt to stop the blood from running. As I was backing out of the driveway, I turned to Alex and said, “Alex, I am so sorry.” She looked back at me and simply said, “For what?” I responded, “For this, and for everything you have to go through.” Without hesitation she replied, “If there is one thing you should know about me by now, it’s that I am grateful for the things that I do have, not unhappy for what I don’t.” And that was pretty much a show stopper moment for me, putting things in perspective about what is important in life.