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Lessons From Dad Run Deep

Father’s Day has always been very special to me. In fact, it is extremely special since both my grandmothers died very young, as did my mother and mother-in-law. While there were several nurturing aunts, my grandfathers and father immediately became the primary role models in my life.

As a second generation American, I was always fascinated by the stories each granddad would share about the countries they came from, the challenges they faced to get to America, and the emotion they would show when they described becoming an American citizen. The families they started and the lives they led always inspired me. While neither had a formal education, they were extraordinarily knowledgeable about things that mattered, spoke numerous languages, could fix any household item and the house itself, and always saw every day as an opportunity. They not only talked about these things, but also showed them by example. I was always an apprentice learning something, often not willingly, as well as not truly learning how to do “it” exactly right… but it would be an education that I’d later rely on and appreciate.

My dad, who will be 87 this June, is very similar in his ability to share his knowledge of repairing the family car, putting on a roof, or building a driveway by hand with me and my two brothers (no sisters). All of these times are more than the task itself. They are quality times with people you love and admire.

Some of the best times I’ve had with my dad have been spending time working on a landscape project or going to a NY Giants game— just sharing the experience with only a few words spoken over hours of joyful time. This lifelong mentorship has instilled in me a desire to share my life experiences with my own son (and daughter), both in their 30s now. Outside of my Roswell family, whether I’m serving as a surrogate father at the local elementary school for a child on “donuts for dad” day or reading a story to a second-grade class on grandparents day, these experiences have a tremendous impact on my life and hopefully also on that child. 

This is also a primary reason for being an active member of my church men’s group. Through our activities, we help each other as well as all members of our church and the community by distributing food at assisted living communities, cleaning up our adopted mile of road, or sprucing up an elderly person’s yard in the spring or fall. Mentoring, perhaps a little. Caring for others, within a group of men, absolutely. I can honestly say that I would not be the man I am today, if not for the men in my life, then and now. God bless them. Always.

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