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The Ripple Effect of Wisdom

Father’s Day is a day to celebrate dads and all they do. Dads are sometimes underappreciated in comparison to moms and yet there are many tremendous dads doing the hard work of providing and caring for their families. Dads hold a special place. For those of us who have lost our fathers, Father’s Day is a day of remembrance.

In honor of my dad and because I desire to remember him during this time of year, today I listened to a couple of chapters from his story. I recorded him during his final days as a way of preserving as much of him as I could. He told many stories and they are priceless. Those stories would have been lost had we not recorded him. I'm very grateful we did. At the time of the recording, my dad didn’t have any great-grandchildren. He passed away years before that would become a reality. However, I asked him what wisdom he would share to that future generation. He shared two things in particular. One was for the parents of his great-grandchildren and that was to not just stop at one child. His suggestion was to have at least two. In his mind it’s better for every child to have a sibling. He was from a family of seven children so having someone to play with, tease, and confide in was never an issue. Privacy – that was probably an issue!

He and my mom had two children, my sister and me. They desired more but that wasn’t in the cards. I often wonder if my dad wanted a son. Although he never said so explicitly, I watched as he soaked up time with his grandsons. He was proud to take them fishing, hunting, and teach them how to use tools and tractors. My dad was somewhat traditional in his thinking about boys versus girls and yet, in the absence of having sons, my sister and I certainly learned how to swing a hammer and dig a fence post hole.

The biggest piece of wisdom he desired to impart to future generations was “Don’t be afraid to take chances.” He certainly wasn’t afraid to take chances and took big risks multiple times throughout his life. My parents were bold and it paid off for them. He wanted the same for all his kin. His philosophy was that even if you fail, you learn. You can always start over. This is a good reminder for me and what I needed to hear today. Even though my dad passed away almost 4 years ago, his words are relevant today and will continue to make an impact each time they are listened to in the future.

His legacy lives on in me, in his grandchildren, and in his newly minted great-grandchild. She will one day hear from him, in his own voice. In the meantime, I know that she is influenced by him every day because the family surrounding her was influenced by him. Each of us creates a ripple effect in the world. This Father’s Day is a chance to recognize the rocks who started the ripple – the fathers – who protect, provide, and love their families.

Happy Father’s Day.