Life is filled with “Firsts” and this June I experience another one. This is my first Father’s Day when Dad is not around. On July 28, 2018, at the ripe old age of 92, and after having lived a very full, productive life he left this world for his eternal home in Heaven.
A dad is different than other people that impact our life. The day after Dad’s passing our pastor, Clois Smith met with my Mother and two sisters. He asked us kids to describe Dad in just a word or two.
My youngest sister, Cindy said, “Daddy was my best friend. He was always there.” Jan, the next oldest commented how he was also her friend. She revealed he had been a mentor in the business world and had pushed her to get her degree. As I listened I heard two daughters trying to describe their father. Their comments acknowledge the special relationship girls have with their dad.
Clois turned to me and said, “Bill, how about you, how would you describe your Dad?”
Without missing a beat I said, “Well Dad was certainly not my friend. He was my Dad and that holds an even loftier position than a friend. “Many times a friend tells you what you want to hear. A friend will BS you — wanting to make you feel good when times are tough. “Dad didn’t mince words and always told it like it was — even when I didn’t like what he said.”
It is a challenge being a dad. I know it has been for me with my daughter and son. I’ve commented before that a father starts out behind the emotional, physical and bonding curve when it comes to a relationship with a child. I understand the connection between a father and daughter. Maybe it is as simple as the difference in sexes, but have never felt competition between my daughter and me.
I didn’t see it between my Dad and sisters either.Having a son offers a whole different set of challenges, even when a dad doesn’t want there to be. A father and son relationship may be just as easy to define, but is challenged to accept roles and changes during a life. It might be that simple and it may be more complex.
A father really doesn’t want to compete with his son, but for some reason the son wants to compete with the dad. It could be
desiring that fatherly acceptance and approval. It could be a lack of experience and maturity by both at that specific phase of life. It is hard to argue with success and my Dad was successful in so many ways.
Professionally he was one of the hardest working men I’ve known. He certainly pushed the hell out of me in the years I worked for him developing real estate and beyond. This served as my foundation as I was the beneficiary of his experiences. In the outdoors, Dad was a hell of a shot and had great hand/eye coordination. He was an early mentor on the water at the helm of a boat as well as a good fisherman. Because of him I developed a passion for 4-wheel drive vehicles and off-road adventures.
I have lots of memories of Dad and cherish each. Some are funny as they recall a time I was growing from a boy to young man and then on to middle age. It was a time of growth for Dad too as he came to accept my abilities. It was then he became more
of a friend, but still remained Dad. This month we celebrate Father’s Day. Spend some time outdoors with your Dad.
It creates memories you will be able to share later.
Until next month: Pursue all of your outdoor activities in a safe and ethical manner.