In honor of Father’s Day, I wrote this story to my Dad to say thanks for all of the things that he did to help me get to where I am today. It is a story but it foreshadows where I want my life to be someday in the future and it certainly represents how I feel about him and what he’s done for me.
I thought that I would share it with you all, and a Happy Father’s Day to all father’s out there who do so much for their sons.
To my father:
It was a cool, sunny fall day and my Dad and I had just finished cleaning the yard and we were sitting on the front steps resting. I was only 13 at the time and I knew that I was changing, but I didnt know what to expect in the future. So, while we sat on the steps, I turned to my father and asked: ?Dad, what does it mean to be a man??
He smiled at me, put his arm around my shoulder and said:
Son, to be a man means many things. You have to strong yet compassionate, firm yet forgiving, wise yet humble, but most of all; you always have to be true to yourself. You have to be a good father, a good husband and a good friend. You need to be a warrior, a teacher and a coach. You also have to realize that sometimes the hardest thing to do is nothing, that nothing gets done unless you do it for yourself, and that the greatest moment in your life is when you hold your newborn son in your arms.
You?ll have to learn that strength comes in many forms, and most often having a strong body isn?t as important as having a strong mind. You need to be a thinker, a provider, a protector and a leader. You will come to understand that truth, honor, justice and reason are ideals that every man should strive for. It may seem impossible to be all these things, but it?s hard to be a man. It would be easy to be lazy, passive and weak, but men do not shy away from hard work or challenge, they thrive in it, in fact, they need it.
There may be times when you may think that you are alone on your journey, but there are men out there who can help you to be great; you just have to seek them out. Remember son, never settle for average and always be the greatest you can be at everything that you do. Once you understand that all you want is an opportunity, all you need is happiness and love, and that you alone have control over the outcome of your life, then you?ll become a greater man than I am.
When he finished speaking, he turned to me and kissed me on the forehead and as I watched him get up, I noticed that he wiped a tear from his eye. I sat there thinking about what he said, and when my Mom walked by she asked me what we were talking about. I told her, and when I was finished, I asked her - Why did Dad cry?
She told me that when Dad held me for the first time, he looked at me, smiled and said:
Right now, holding you my son; it is both the happiest and most frightening moment of my life. I?m so proud to have a son, but I don?t know what to expect in the future or if I will be a good father. I hope that one day you?ll grow up to be a great man, and that I will be the one who gets to teach you. I love you son.
Many years have passed since that cool, fall day. I think about what my father said to me that day, especially today as I look down at my newborn son in my arms. I have tried to learn everything that my Dad taught me, and is still teaching me, about being a good man. I can honestly say that he was right about everything, except that I dont know how any one could be a greater man than him. When my Mom told me that Dad was scared, I did not understand, as my Dad wasn?t scared of anything. However, as I hold my son, I realize that I?m more terrified now that I ever have been in my life. I have this nagging fear: "Will I be a good father, and will my son grow up to be a great man??
My 13-year-old son has just finished helping me clean the yard, and we sit down on the front steps and rest. I glance over at him and I see that he has this confused look on his face. He pauses for a moment and then he turns to me as says: ?Dad, what does it mean to be a man?? At this moment, my wife walks by and my son turns to her and asks: ?Mom, why is Dad crying??
I love you Dad, Happy Father?s Day and thank you very much for helping me become the man that I am today.