With Father’s Day not too far away, dads start to take center stage in our minds as we gear up to honor them on the third Sunday of June. Do you have a favorite memory of your dad? What’s the one thing that comes to mind when you think of him? When I think of my dad, I think of football. A love of football was definitely something he cultivated in me. We spent countless Sundays travelling from our small town in Washington, across the Cascade Mountains, and down into Seattle to watch the Seahawks play. The Seahawks struggled year after year when I was growing up. They just couldn’t seem to get it together but that didn't damper our enthusiasm. It was more about the time together than the actual game. However, boy did my dad burst with pride when they finally made it to the Superbowl. It was as if we had some share in their success. I suppose we did, those tickets and concession fees paid for some salaries – right?
If you’re of a certain age, you’ll appreciate the photo in this blog post. So many of my generation have a photo with one of these bouncy ponies. Dads probably welcomed the much needed rest from acting as horses themselves. Do you remember going around and around the living room on “pony-dad” or “pony-grandpa”? If you could get in a little kicking action, you might even find that dad turned into a wild bucking bronco. When you all collapsed on the floor, you knew you did your kid-cowboy job and broke the wild steed. Even today’s highly interactive electronic toys can’t top that!
Maybe your father wasn't the playful sort. Was he the disciplinarian who taught you focus? Or the hard-working provider who passed along a great work ethic? Or the sports dad who never missed your games? I mentioned my dad’s love of the Seattle Seahawks but first and foremost he was a businessman. He was a fearless entrepreneur. I so wish he was still around for many reasons but one is…I wish I could run some of my business ideas by him. He just had this amazing mind for business. It’s kind of fitting that Remembered Well was started in his honor and he was the first storyteller participant.
My dad was also incredibly patient. If only I’d inherited that trait! He could literally spend hours untangling fishing line and hook snarls created by overeager children. On the other hand, I would need to be physically restrained before dumping the whole rod and reel in the lake after about five minutes of that!
Maybe patience comes in different forms though. I do have patience when it comes to listening to stories. Hearing how each person carves out his or her own unique path in life is fascinating. So very different. So perfectly suited to who they are. Have you thought about asking your dad to share his stories with you? Surely there are some you’ve heard again and again, and some you share, but I bet there are ones you don’t know or have forgotten. This is feedback I’ve heard over and over from sons and daughters of former clients. Maybe the stories were shared at one point but things we hear when we’re children tend to go in one ear and out the other. They bounce out of our brains just like a pony on springs. It’s not until we listen, really listen that the stories stick. Plus, don’t you appreciate your parents more now as you’ve aged yourself? As you face new challenges and life's roadblocks, doesn’t it give you an appreciation for how your parents lived? The wisdom they hold from having persevered through what you may be facing is an inspiration.
This Father’s Day, if your dad is still with you, take a few minutes and listen to him share his stories. If he’s willing, record those stories. Nothing can compare with a dad or a mom sharing his or her heartfelt stories with you. I’m thankful for the recordings we have of my dad. Father’s Day feels empty without him but at least I can hear his voice again. And those nuggets of wisdom found in his storytelling will be just the thing I need to hear on a day when I’ll really need to hear them.
May you enjoy Father’s Day and use it as a lovely excuse to make many new and happy memories!