Lessons from great Father

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Father: A man who begets, raises or nurtures a child.

The dictionary description of the word &uot;father&uot; is simply too broad when it comes to describing the endless job that our dads take on from the moment we are born.

I serve as a perfect example that, when it comes to fathering a child, nothing comes easy. Looking back on the past 21 years, I can see that when you’re discussing the impact a father has on his son, it’s not a one-way street.

My antics as a child allow me to take ownership of some of the gray hairs that now speckle my dad’s head.

But he has always been a patient and consistent force in my life, and even now as I work to shed life’s training wheels, it’s easy to see the impact he has had on me.

He was there when I broke my first bone, when I won my first track and field race, when I graduated from high school and college, and he’ll be there when I get married next month.

I have not always appreciated my father for the things he has done or said to me. Whether it was grounding me for lying or screening my homecoming and prom dates thoroughly, I was never able to understand why he was the way he was.

I was frustrated because it was obvious he didn’t understand who I was, he had never been me and he had no right to be the dictator that I thought he was.

I vowed as a teenager that I would never treat my kids the way my dad treated me.

But now that the phrase &uot;my kids&uot; looms ever closer in my own life, I couldn’t be more grateful for the example my father has set. I only wish I could have documented better the lessons that he taught me as I was growing up.

When I tried to narrow down those lessons, it quickly became obvious that my task was unattainable. Two decades of daily learning is a book I could never dream of writing.

There are three characteristics of my father, however, that I would like to encourage people to emulate in their own pursuits for a successful life.

First, always put God, family and friends before yourself. I can look back now and see that the last thought that ever entered my father’s head was &uot;What about me?&uot;

He still can’t sleep at night at his home in Colorado when he knows I’m out traveling down here in Alabama.

Second, be patient. Rarely have things been simple for my father. Whether it was at work or trying to support his family, there always seemed to be an angry co-worker or broken-down car looming right around the corner. And even though he sometimes comes home frustrated and ready to give up, I know he will get up in the morning ready to battle back.

Finally, never back down from what you think is right. Even when my father’s job and livelihood were at risk, he still stood strong for what he believed in.

So, as you get together to celebrate with your father this Sunday, or as you rush to get the sappy greeting card in the mail, I would encourage you to take more away from the holiday than just a full stomach from Sunday brunch and that awkward once-a-year father-son hug.

Don’t just thank, or be thankful, for your dad this Father’s Day. Instead, create your own list from the lessons he has taught you.

Remember the good and bad times the two of you have seen together. And above all, commit yourself to spending as much time as possible with your dad in the coming years.

If there’s one thing I will take away from this Father’s Day, it will be an understanding of just how much my father has influenced my actions and decisions.

I’ve always been told that I look just like my dad, and I used to be scared when I looked in the mirror and saw my father staring back at me. But now, aware of everything he has given me, I couldn’t be more proud.

Brandon Gresham serves as staff writer at the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at mailto:brandon.gresham@shelbycountyreporter.com