My father wasn't perfect, who's father is. But one thing I know as an adult, no decision he ever made, even ones that I may disagree with to this day, was ever made to benefit him or out of a lack of love or caring for me. I wish my daughters could say the same about me someday.
Let me tell you three ways he got it right...
My father always told me that if my teacher and I had conflicting stories of a problem in their classroom, he would always believe the teacher because the teacher doesn't need to lie to get out of his punishment. Sound logic that the teacher in me wished more people understood. From an early age he taught me respect.
My father worked in a factory for over 30 years. He paid for my sister and I to college. As he always said, he did this so we would never have to work in 120+ temperatures he had to suffer through in the summers. He worked hard and sacrificed so our lives would be easier, yet at the same time expected us to work hard for what we wanted.
My father wanted me to feel like I earned whatever I received. When I was young, I played baseball and I was AWFUL. They stuck me in right field, the purgatory for little leaguers. My dad would assist the coach from time to time (whenever he wasn't working nights). One day, our second baseman was out. When the coach was getting us ready for warm ups, he told me to go out to second. I had never even practiced playing infield.
After warmups were over and before the game started, my Dad pulled me aside and said, "Coach asked me what I thought about you playing second tonight, I told him not to put you there because I help out with the team and he said that he thought you have been improving a lot over the past few games and that you earned it."
From that night on, I was no longer awful in baseball. It became my sport, and I practiced it and played it through my senior year in college. It's funny, as a coach there have been several times where I am about to give a player more playing time and their parent emails or calls me to complain that I am not giving their child a chance. Or the parent who averages out their child's final grade and sees that they are one point short of an A- and pleads their case (my child has done several of your extra credits) when you were planning on giving them the A- for that very reason even without the call or email. I feel badly for their child, because he/she will never know that they earned the playing time or the higher grade.
What will do more for a child's self-esteem and confidence, that they know they did or didn't earn it, or that their mommy or daddy was the one who got it for them?
I am proud of everything I earned, and it wouldn't of happened without parents who guided me, encouraged me, but who wanted ME to work hard for anything I earned.
Over the years my parents gave me great birthday gifts, new bikes, new baseball mitts, etc.
The greatest gift is the honor of being born on the birthday
of the man I respect more than any one else in the world.
Happy Birthday Dad!