One of the best compliments I have ever gotten was when my friend, Martha, told me how lucky I was to have a Dad like mine.
My Dad taught Martha how to swim in our pool. Martha was 19….and grew up without a father or a father figure. My Dad was in the backyard one afternoon during my senior year in high school and overheard Martha saying she wished she could swim. His response: “You can…..let me help you”. A few hours later….Martha swam across the pool on her own. He was the kind of guy who liked helping people. And he began by helping his own kids. My advise to all Dads who want to be a “GREAT” Dad?
- Tell your children they can be anything they want to grow up to be…..Astronaut, Fireman, owner of a company, teacher, artist…whatever. All they have to do is want to be that and work hard to become that person. I remember my Dad telling me and my brothers that any one of us could someday be the President of the United States (hey, it used to be a great job) if that’s what we wanted to be. I remember my brothers laughing….and saying….”Lisa’s a girl…she can’t be President”……and my Dad’s response: “She can be President if that’s what she decides she wants to be”.
- Make sure you tell your kids you love them….even when they screw up. I admit…I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. My Dad was always there to tell me he was sorry I had made the mistake….and always there to try to help me figure out how I could fix my mistake. Sometimes the mistakes I made weren’t fixable….and during those times he held my hand and just listened….cause that’s what I needed at that time…and that’s what your kids will need to you do. They WILL make mistakes….just be there for them and sometimes….all you can do is listen.
- My Dad taught us to always tell the truth….no matter how hard it was. And he always told us the truth…no matter how hard it was to hear.
- My Dad taught me that sometimes it is easier to lose than to win….because sometimes winning doesn’t mean you really won. You will know when these situations come up.
- My Dad NEVER screamed at my Mom or hit her….your children follow your example.
- My Dad went to church and made us go with them. Knowing there is a God comes in handy when your kids make mistakes.
Today I will go to visit my Dad and put flowers on his columbarium with my Mom, brother and brother’s family. I miss him….He died two years ago today. But because he was a GREAT Dad….I am a better person.