When I was a child, the Internet had not yet been invented. People still bought and passed down encyclopedia sets. Libraries still had card catalogs. Doing research for a paper meant spending hours in the library looking up the information and then making copies out of a book. But I have always had my very own source of information: my dad. My dad is the most interesting, intelligent person I know. I don't recall ever asking a question he did not know the answer. And as I have established, I ask a lot of questions. When I look at my Darling Spirited Boys I understand where they picked up this inherited trait.
My dad has always done things his own way, regardless of whether everyone else was doing it another way and regardless of what anyone else thought. Many would call my dad outspoken and intimidating. This is because my dad is not afraid to speak his mind, which I admire and classify as an attribute, one I have inherited. My dad always stands up for what he believes is right, which usually means standing up for the underdog, the downtrodden, the forgotten, the unpopular. It is not only through words but also in action that he has taken up many causes and done whatever he could. Watching my dad, I learned to take up for the bullied and mistreated.
I remember as a child in grade school having to choose a current event for class each week. It was my dad's job to help me find one. He would go through our Time magazine and pick a few and then explain each one to me; then I would have the final decision. We would then discuss the article. It was never a piece of local news like who was running for mayor or a new business opening up. The current events we chose were on the national, sometimes global scale. Topics like the cold war; Reagan's policies on this or that; an issue on Wall St, etc. Looking back I always wonder what my teachers and fellow students thought of my current events. By the time I got up to give mine, I was well-versed in whatever the topic was. It never crossed my dad's mind to lower the standards to some bit of trivial, elementary news story. I think this helped me to strive to gain knowledge across the spectrum of current affairs, and enabled me to discuss any topic with any person.
To my dad, an education comes from all experiences, not just the classroom. When I was in grade school, my mom went back to college to further her degree. On certain mornings, it was my dad's responsibility to get me and my brother ready and take us to school. My dad also had a group of friends that met for coffee at the Kettle restaurant on that particular morning. So, my dad would take us with him. We would get hot chocolate and toast and sit and listen to the men's discussion. Invariably, we would get to school late, which never bothered me or my brother. This went on until our teachers got wind of what was going on. But honestly, it is the memory of the restaurant and listening to the men that remains with me, not whatever was going on in school. I have always felt that the world is a classroom, and in my experience I have learned just as much if not more outside the classroom – much of it from my dad or because of my dad. My dad taught me to think critically and learn as much I can from every situation.
My dad is quite educated and professional, but he is never afraid to be silly and fun. When I went away to college he routinely sent me memos about little happenings with our cat or my family, always with hand-drawn illustrations. He now does that for my Darling Boys; except many times their memos are in the form of an email. He never fails to make the Darling Boys howl with laughter. He loves to cook, never with a recipe; with excellent results, I may add. He paints beautiful watercolors; he writes; he builds; he fixes; he grows; he has even brewed. He never stops learning or dreaming. There isn't much he cannot do. Still to this day, if I have a question about something, I call my dad first.
This apple did not fall far from the tree in many ways, unsurprisingly. The surprising part to me is how very near the tree the little grandson apple fell too. The very first day of Darling 1's life I thought he looked like my dad. As Darling 1 has grown, it is apparent it isn't just his physical appearance that matches my dad. He talks like Grandpa, acts like Grandpa, thinks like Grandpa and has Grandpa's sense of humor. Over and over, I am amazed by the similarities. And maybe, I just have not realized how much I am like my dad, and thus how much Darling 1 is like me.
My dad is ever proud of his children and grandchildren. He never ceases to believe in our endeavors and supports us without question and without fail. Again, my brother and I are very lucky to have a parent that encourages and loves us like that. Dad, I love you, and I thank you for all the unconventional education you have imparted over the years.
Happy Father's Day to all the dads and grandpas out there. Call your dad, and tell him why you love him. Don't forget to fill out the Motherly Law survey. Over and out…
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