The Father You Can Be

The card arrived in the mail the day before Father’s Day. Hallmark’s eloquent words would have been enough sentiment, but Dad’s handwritten words of encouragement to his son-in-law on his first Father’s Day, made me swallow back my tears. 
Without fail, those cards came each year until my Dad passed on. Being a good father was something my dad learned the hard way.

Today, divorce and single-parenting are common, but in 1937, not so much. As a young boy, Dad moved from everything he knew in sunny Chico, California—with its paved, tree-lined streets to a dusty farm in Eastern Washington. He wouldn’t see his father again for 15 years.
When his mom remarried, his step-father became the only dad he’d have—an honest, hard-working man. He was dependable too—something so needed when your childhood has been broken.

We all have broken places in our lives—Dad didn’t talk much about his losses, but he sure tried to make up for them. I especially noticed this when we had our own kids.

My dad&#…

Three Words I had to Learn

“Why do you think I wasn’t selected?” I had slid into his classroom after school because I knew this teacher was brutally honest.
“Not everyone likes you.” He was referring to the faculty selection committee.
My approval addiction was rearing its ugly head.
He went on, “You know how to succeed, but you haven’t learned about failure. Better learn it now or life will teach you.”
He was right.

Just over a year later, I listened to the keynote speaker at my high school graduation.... a prosperous businessman. He congratulated us for our hard work and said we’d be successful if we continued to work hard. Yes! I knew how to work hard. Success would be mine.
Went to college, worked hard. Found my best friend, Tom. When I turned 21, I married him. Success assured.
And then my high school teacher’s predictions happened. Life brought failure.

Fail: Delivering firewood and newspapers didn’t cover our bills, moved out of college housing, lived in a tent.
Now I knew what my teacher meant. I didn’t know …

Desperate and Determined

Looking over my shoulder into the shadows I sensed someone was there. There had to be somewhere safe to hide. Someone was following me; I ran swiftly ahead in the dark.