My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me. – Jim Valvano
Father’s Day reminds me of a measuring stick. I use the day to measure my progress as a father from one year to the next. These are the three most important units of measure I use, along with the usual results:
First unit of measure:
Did I provide my children with the basic necessities – food, water, shelter and safety?
Second unit of measure:
Did I provide emotional support when it was needed?
I think so.
Third unit of measure:
Did I share a piece of wisdom my children will cherish?
I hope so.
The Most Important Legacy
With my children growing older and beginning their own lives, it’s less important that I focus on their basic necessities and more important that I put effort into sharing pieces of wisdom that will continue to shape their lives. Perhaps I can even offer some wisdom they will want to pass along to their children one day.
From the wisdom I provide, I want my children to learn from my successes, understand why my mistakes were mistakes and place their trust in a few of the paths I’ve already walked so their journeys can be a little easier.
I want to change the I hope so result to a Yes result; I want the wisdom I leave behind to be my most important legacy.
My Best Wisdom
Brandon, Caitlin, Emily and Emily – here’s the best wisdom I have to offer. Use it to continue creating your lives, and then share the wisdom with your children when they are ready to receive it:
- Forget regret.
Leave your mistakes and regret in the past. They don’t define your value, then or now.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
You are not alone. It may feel that way sometimes, but you are blessed with a family who will always extend a hand to help you up. All you have to do is ask.
- Believe you are worthy.
You are worthy of achieving whatever goal, hope or dream lives in your heart. But take caution: The closer you get to your dream is when doubt becomes the loudest. Replace doubt with the truth. And the truth is you are worthy to have your heart’s desire.
- Keep the faith.
When you feel weary from the effort and you are tired from being hit so many times, but the dream is still not realized, the one thing that tells you to keep going; to get up tomorrow, is your faith.
- You are what you do.
You are not what you think, or what you feel, or what you say, you are what you do. Actions speak louder than words. If you are unhappy with a particular part of your life, take a hard look at what you are doing to be happier.
- Perform one act of kindness daily.
Kindness breeds more kindness. Be an agent for kindness and watch your world change for the better.
- Embrace your setbacks.
You’ll never get everything you want. When disappointment visits, receive the gift it brings – experience.
- Marry your best friend.
There are many reasons your mother and I have stayed married for 28 years. One reason is we are still each other’s best friend.
- Enjoy your children at every age.
Find joy with changing the diapers; delight in helping with the homework; take pride when they are ready to leave and discover gladness in being their friend when that’s the only thing left to be.
- Boys – love your wives.
Never strike, insult or demean. Give your wife the biggest set of wings you can find and then help her fly.
- Girls – love your husbands.
Be your husband’s biggest fan and loudest encourager. Tell him, “You can,” when he thinks he can’t.
- Don’t waste days.
Savor everyday – even the days with the flat tires, broken furnaces and leaking roofs. The gift of today is the only one that is guaranteed.
Father’s Day 2013
This might just be the Father’s Day the measuring stick gets put away. Rather than measuring the kind of father I think I should be, I think I’ll start relying on the kind of father I know I am.
Maybe my honest transparency is wisdom enough for my children to understand that they don’t have to be perfect parents either – they just have to give their children the best of themselves. And when they do, the love, admiration and respect I have for Brandon, Caitlin, Andrew and Emily will be paid forward to their children.
I can’t think of a better legacy to leave.