B & K,
Do you remember this picture?
I do. It’s a custom-made framed picture you gave me about twelve years ago. It was the best Father’s Day gift I’ve ever received because it was made and personally handcrafted by both of you.
That’s not to say nothing else you’ve ever given me has been worthy of that consideration…quite the opposite, in fact. There have been many special gifts, like the hand-made cards, the photo books, etc. I have to tell you, though…this one stole the show. I remember it well because I needed Kleenex after opening it.
You heard me right. I teared up. Became misty. Got verklempt. Dads do that sometimes. That’s how you know a gift has extra-special meaning.
Surely we need to give credit to your Mom, as the genesis of the idea was conceived by her. She helped make the signs, took the pictures, picked out the frame, and put it all together. Mom really rocks at that kind of crafty stuff, you know. It’s a good thing because I’m all thumbs when it comes to the artsy-fartsy. I’m pretty sure she could create an exact 3D mini replica of the Eiffel Tower in fondant and cake frosting if she wanted to. She’s THAT talented.
This picture has been positioned on my desk from the first day you gave it to me. It has a special place of honor right next to my computer screen where I see it first thing every day. It outranks any other achievement award big or small that is positioned around it, and reminds me of the most important thing in my life: my children, your Mom…our family. Some days can get pretty challenging, and that very picture provides me with that needed refresher.
You could say it keeps me honest, in a metaphorical sense. Everyone has a motivation of some sort in their lives; something to keep themselves focused and in the right state of mind to complete whatever task is at hand, personally and professionally. Some want money, some want power. Others want status and material possessions. Many just want to know what they do makes a difference to others.
A lot of that depends on where you are in life, which you both are surely discovering as you get older. Granted, it’s hard for you to see what us oldsters call “the big picture,” but eventually, you’ll find out exactly just what that means personally to you. That’s part of the deal of growing up. Don’t be surprised if it changes a few times. It certainly did for me.
For example, I began blogging back in 2014. Why? Because I was invited to and thought it was a pretty good way to make connections and grow my professional visibility, or what’s called polishing your brand in business-speak. That’s because whatever profession you call your own, you’ll always be looking for that competitive edge over the next guy who’s doing the same thing. You’re known not just by what you do, but by the person you are and the work ethic you practice.
Fast forward a few years later. To date, I’ve written and published multiple posts for several sites and have established numerous contacts. A majority of my writings are about mine and other’s business experiences and professional considerations. Several are of personal regard that explore my own daily leadership challenges. In a lot of ways, it serves as literary therapy. I’ve looked back at the words I’ve published in the past, and it’s of particular interest to see how my methodologies have changed or stayed the same. Growth is constant for everyone, after all.
Through it all, I’ve tried not to be preachy, trendy, or pretend to be in possession of the magic leadership bullet you often encounter on networking websites. Largely, that’s because I don’t have that particular piece of ammunition in my holster. Everyone thinks they have the answer, but they don’t. You know the ones, as we’ve talked about them ad nasueum… articles like “7 Best Ways To Make An Impression” or ” Top 10 Methods To Influence Your Boss” or “ 3 Reasons You Should Quit Your Job And Become A Druid.”
Nope…..I don’t operate that way.
I’m far more content to tell the story, throw out some interesting anecdotes or statistics, and let the reader make the decision without being blatantly told how they should interpret it. Personally, I’ve found mental exploration and reflection to be the best way to learn from your mistakes. That’s how my Dad did it, and I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
What’s funny is that I’ve discovered something important along the way during this little literary expedition. Most of my work seems to carry a common intrinsic theme that many would not recognize. I’m not sure you’d see it either because it’s not “in your face,” but somewhere, somehow, both of you manage to creep into my writings. I may not mention you by name or make a direct reference to you, but it’s clear to me now what my inspiration has been all along.
All this time, I’ve been writing, in part, because of you.
I don’t mean that I’ve been telling a story about you, bragging about how wonderful my kids are to anyone who will listen or giving away the stories that make our family special. Besides, I don’t need a blog page to do that. That’s why I have co-workers and friends that tolerate my daily ramblings.
Every time I write, I ask myself, “Would my kids be proud to say my Dad wrote this?” Look back a few sentences. I wrote that “everyone has a motivation of some sort in their lives.”
No question, I write because I hope my articles and blogs can positively influence others. When you get right down to it, though, the important ones I hope to help the most consist of a constituency of two. For as much as I hope that my lessons to you have been of interest and inspiration over the years and are useful to you as you enter adulthood, know you have taught me several as well. If at some point – whether it be the present or a long time from now in the future – I can help to influence your life in a positive way…well…. then I think I have fulfilled one of the many requirements of the best title I have ever held: Father.
Strike that. Even better…being a Dad.
Happy Fathers Day 2020…and thanks for the inspiration.
Proudly yours and with all my love,