Saturday, June 14, 2008

To my Dad on Father's Day

Dear Dad,

Tomorrow is Father’s Day again. I thought about buying you something, but frankly there’s little you need and even less that you have room for. So instead I decided to give you some of my thoughts. Growing up I knew you loved me. Now that I’m a Dad too, I understand a whole lot more about what a great Dad you’ve been.

As a kid, you made a lot of time for me. You spent time with me, you answered my questions, you involved me in your activities, thought up special activities for me, and made me feel loved. Remember watching “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” on the Late Show in that cottage we rented in 1976? Maybe you don’t, but I do. Or the time you sent me walking through the bush for a half-hour with your .410? Or that camping trip on the Kukagami Lake Road where the horse flies were so bad we had to eat and sleep in the back of the station wagon? Do you remember showing me how to take the mechanism out of a tap before you solder it on? Or when you showed me how to identify a nut that has a reverse thread? Or when you showed me how to read stock market quotes? I remember all of them.

I also know that you’ve been proud of me, even when you didn’t fully understand me or what I was doing. In some ways, we’re very different people. I love books, whereas you read to learn the specific facts you are interested in (like the stock market quotations). You can fix just about anything, while I know how to phone the repair man. I spent a lot of time in university, mostly financed by you. And when I had decisions to make about my education, you still managed to provide good advice. Remember in October of my third year, when I wanted to quit? You told me to keep plugging until I really couldn’t handle it anymore, and then quit without looking back. Well that piece of sage advice cost you about $20,000 because I finally did quit after my eighth year!

Over the last couple of years, my job has become a lot more demanding. This has really helped me appreciate how hard you worked over the years. The tough working environment, the shift work, and picking up extra shifts whenever you could. A friend of says that if a man if going to be a breadwinner, he should bring home the whole loaf. Well, you always brought home the whole loaf. We always had a decent house, good food, everything else we needed, and some really memorable vacations and Christmas’s.

The Bible says in Hebrews 12:9, “we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it.” I guess the idea of this verse is that it’s no fun getting a spank, but later when we are mature we look back and see that it was for our own good and so we come to respect our fathers more. I don’t think I got spanked very often, but I did get discipline (and some spanks) as required. And I guess you found the right balance, because in retrospect I respect you for the way you raised me.

I could talk about the ways you taught me right from wrong. Or your patience. Or the sense of humour I seem to have inherited from you. Or how you taught me to be financially responsible (“Shawn, just because you have the money in the bank doesn’t mean you can afford to buy it”). But I think I’ll draw this to a close. By the way, I’m posting this on my blog rather than just sending it to you by email because I want to share the kind of Dad you’ve been. Maybe others will see your example and be inspired. I know I’ve been.


P.S. – you also did a good job picking out a Mom for me!


Post a Comment

<< Home