“My Father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”
Jim Valvano said those words. No words ring truer in my ears. My father wasn’t a monetarily wealthy man. He had charm, but, wasn’t particularly good-looking (sorry mom). He wasn’t successful in business nor was he innovative. He had many vices and didn’t always lead by example. From outside of our family looking in one might never know how truly great a man my father was. My father’s greatest gift was he believed in people and he believed in me. These are my memories.
First, I am a perfectionist (yes I drive Tempo nuts sometimes). My father fed that trait, not by driving me, but rather by showing his support for everything I did. To illustrate, he coached my little league sports teams and spent endless hours showing me how to throw the perfect spiral. He worked hard to ensure I had the best education possible and that I learned the value of hard work. I could feel his inner strength as one feels the warmth of the hot desert sun.
“A father is a man who expects his son to be as good a man as he meant to be.”
Second, my father was a very generous man. Not for tax deductions nor public adoration, simply because that is who he was. Dad was generous even when no-one was looking. For instance, I recall occasions when he’d look at me on Christmas or Thanksgiving mornings and say to me “Let’s go for a ride.” We’d load up the car with food and other items and off we’d go. Many of the families of the men that worked for the company, where my father was a supervisor, were poor. Their homes were the stops we’d make on those holiday mornings, delivering small gifts with the sole purpose of doing something for others. No reporters, no witnesses. Just simple acts of kindness that put smiles on faces. My memory serves as the only archive for his acts.
Finally, Dad truly believed in me. He believed in my intellect, my drive and my perseverance. For example, Dad once told me, “Son, the only thing keeping you from doing or being what ever you want is you.” I was young at the time and didn’t quite understand the meaning of those words. Looking back, I think he was telling me that I have all the tools for success in the world, if only I would try. I think he was telling me that in his eyes I was perfect and he believed in me.
Therefore today, I find my self in the fourth quarter of my life, watching the sun set on my performance. I can only hope I proved worthy of my father’s trust and belief. That I was the example to others that my father was to me. I pray my family looks past my many faults, seeing in me what I saw in him; for I am my father’s legacy.
Fair Winds and Following Seas “Big Rob”.
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