Passing It On
A Father’s Day Tribute
Dad was “country smart”; the kind of smarts the world could use a bit more of right about now. He could scarcely read a newspaper (I suspect due to an unidentified reading disability), but his mechanical aptitude and “hands on” intelligence were off the charts. He could “fix absolutely anything that broke” around the house.
And between his ears he contained the wisdom of the hills.
So when Dad said to me one day, “I’m gonna live forever, Benny,” I knew he wasn’t talking about heaven at the moment.
Dad went on to say, “I’m gonna live forever, Benny, because I’m gonna live through you. Then on through your children. Then my grandchildren. It ain’t ever gonna stop. Unless …”
He knew I’d ask, “Unless what, Dad?”
“Unless you stop lovin’ each other. Love lasts forever. Nothin’ can kill it, unless you quit passin’ it on.”
So to the best of my ability ever since, I have strived to do so … through my children and my grandchildren.
Indeed, Dad taught me many things that I didn’t know he was teaching me until later on in life. Sometimes much later.
One of the things he taught me was a sense of fun. I got that right off. Most everything I do has a strong sense of fun and mischief attached to it. Dad just couldn’t seem to walk across the floor without “stirring up some fun”, as he called it. I feel very safe in saying he lives on in his son very well in that regard.
But the perhaps the best thing he taught me that only came to me later was “a sense of self-sacrifice” for my own children and grandchildren.
Over the course of my own life, I have found myself giving all I could to my own children; time, opportunity, love. Not less and less, as they’ve grown, but more and more. If they ever truly needed something (it doesn’t matter what it was), I found a way to give it. And I think they will vouch for me that I always gave with an “open heart”. I never “kept score” of what they owed me. I just gave.
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