Dad – I Didn’t Know

There was a time that I didn’t understand the words you never spoke, the hugs that were seldom felt and the encouragement that was given in soft-spoken short sentences. You always told me that it was up to me to make myself happy and that I needed to find my own path in life.

You never threw a baseball with me or took me to the fishing hole. Yet you passed on the words of wisdom that fathers give to their sons to prepare them for the world they must face alone, and yes I came to resent you for that. You talked about believing in dreams and using my imagination. I didn’t know that your words held a much greater value than throwing a ball and that when the time came for me to make my way in life your words would echo in my mind. I can always hear your soft-spoken voice guiding my steps.

I know now that you were all the man you ever needed to be.  I know that your silence was filled with your own fears. I know now that those soft-spoken words that I needed to hear were spoken to you as well. I know now that there never was a baseball or a fishing hole in your life.

I know now that you worked the fields when you were a kid and never went past the third grade in school. When you were older you took a winter job in the city so our table was never bare. I know that you loved Mom, a love that lasted your whole life. She told me how much you loved me and how hard it was for you to find the right words.

There was a time I didn’t understand but now I can only hope to be half the man that you were. Now I know that you were all the man you needed to be.

Point Of View: It seems that we always expected more from our parents than they gave us and it always seemed to come to us later in life that they gave all they had to give. My dad’s words turned out to be the roadmap that I used on my life journey. We must be careful in life not to give our children what we feel we didn’t get and remember the things they did give us that live on within us every day. Dad, I am sorry. I didn’t know then that you gave me all you had to give.


Larry Tyler
Larry Tyler
Awaken the possibilities … then unleash them. After 55 years of successful retail management, I have returned to my passion of writing. I write Poetry, Storytelling, and Short Stories. As a child, I grew up on front porch storytelling. I would sit and listen to my Dad and his brothers tell these great stories that were captivating, and I always wanted to hear more. I wanted to experience the things they talked about. I started writing at a young age and reading everything I could get my hands on. At twelve years old I started a storytelling group and several of my friends became writers or poets. At 16 I hopped box cars and worked the tobacco fields, orange groves, picked cotton, and spent many nights around a campfire listing to life stories. Someone once asked me why I wrote. It consumes an amazing amount of time and I assure you it is not going to make me rich. I write so that my children can touch and feel my words telling of the ones that came before us and the stories they told me. These are the chronicles of our family and even though they come from my childhood memories and are deeply rooted in a child’s remembrance at least they may feel what it was like in the time before them and cherish the things the elders left behind. I am a Columnist & Featured Contributor, BIZCATALYST360 and I have The Writers Café, a group on LinkedIn that features Poets, Writers, Artists, Photographers, and Musicians . On Facebook I have two groups and one page; Dirt Road Storytelling, From Abandoned To Rescue Dogs And Cats, and About Life, Love And Living. As writers, it is true that we honestly do not know what we hold within us until we unleash it. When our words inspire others only then will inspiration return to the writer. I will spend my twilight years in search of the next story, the next poem, and the next image. I will take the time to enjoy my Wife, our Dogs, and Cats, and our amazing new home and I will always find the time to walk down a dirt road I truly hope is that I never have to read another book on Leadership, be on a conference call or see another plan o gram as these were the tool for what I did in life and not about who I am.

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    • This was a hard one, daddy was a quiet man, fortunately my aunt was not an filled me with great memories

  1. Larry~
    Truly a wonderful, earnest & honest … from the heart post.
    I have had enough laps around the cornfield of life to arrive at similar understanding.
    My parents did the best they could with what they had.
    They lacked education, resources and often family support. Yet, somehow raised 6 children … at times it felt like we raised ourselves ;~)
    They had many & deep struggles. Some we knew from a child’s perspective. Some we learned as adults. Some we knew not at all.
    When you think about it. Who really KNOWS their parents?
    (their dreams, challenges, disappointments)
    Important life lesson:
    From lack can come abundance.
    Gratitude in the face of adversity produces growth.
    Perhaps entrepreneurship: interestingly 5 out of 6 began their own business (at different times of life)

    I shared your wonderful inspiration on LI

    Added note:
    Read your bio: I believe in sharing knowledge so I wanted to mention & recommend this book:
    Turn the Ship Around by Captain David Marquet
    Here is a summary,Turn%20the%20Ship%20Around!,%E2%80%9Cleader%2Dfollower%E2%80%9D%20model.

    • Thank you for sharing such great insight. It means a lot to me. Thank you for the book suggestions. I guess I need to revise my profile. I’m retired now and not involved in business in anyway. Thanks again

    • Thank you for sharing such great insight. It means a lot to me. Thank you for the book suggestions. I guess I need to revise my profile. I’m retired now and not involved in business in anyway. Thanks again…

  2. Larry,
    What a profound apology…it’s so true we “expect” from our they have taught us what is “expected” of us..we learned from an early age what they expect of us….but they never told us what we were to “expect” from them
    In all my years I “justified” in my own head..what made all that they did acceptable… yes I see where they have had battles too…but as a parent myself…I have applied what I don’t want to be from the parents of me..I try not to expect…this lesson was hard..but I do anticipate…I may never receive what I need from them, but I’m truly grateful for all that they did give…I thank you for this article…it resonates with me truly. It’s a hard lesson, but when you accept and forgive both self and them…it’s just liberating and helpful be your own best friend.
    Sorry for blabbing… Your words have made me think
    Thank you and have a wonderful weekend my friend!?

  3. Great article! I think almost everyone could relate to this story at some level. We talk about how in life we can only do what the “tools in our toolbox” allow us to do.

    If we don’t have good listening skills– chances are our children will not feel heard or will not be great listeners either. I’m so glad you realize these fine points now. Thank you for being vulnerable– to share this with us.

    Traci Starkweather

    • Wonderful words. This is reality of life. Every dad gives his bests to his son/daughter we always would be to our parents, always. I still remember touch and feeling of my dad around, which I lost in 2004.

    • Thank you Ravindran. I understand that. it has been 40 for me and I still feel his presence and hear his words

    • Richard, I am so sorry for your loss. I will be lifting you and any loved ones up in prayer. Praying for you to be comforted and patient with yourself. Grief looks different and takes different lengths of times for anyone going through it. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. I hope these words offer some comfort. They helped me greatly when they were shared with me.

    • Thank you Maria for taking the time to read my article and give me your insight. We write so that we all may learn from each other

  4. Thank you Larry Tyler for sharing your wonderful tribute to your dad.

    Awesome thoughts in retrospect. Most often it is only when we start looking at life in retrospect, that we realize the beauty and preciousness of what WAS. I fully relate to your sentiments, and feelings of joy, sadness and yet appreciation for my own father fills my heart.

    If my Dad was alive he would have been 101 years old. He was the person who made me what I am today. During the peak of my successes in many countries, he simply pointed out the fact that with all the work, money earned, fame achieved and all that…I would not use even 70% of any worldly things I had gained. He planted the thought that if I share that 70%, I would find greater joy, happiness and multifold blessings in my personal life. In reality even after I am gone, there would be still be a lot of money not spent. Hence, the burning question.. why not share everything..and that is exactly what I did. Yes, my dad was the single most important factor that started my journey into the humanitarian field across the world and I do not regret a single moment.

    Yes, Dad, your thoughtfulness and gentle push has brought immense satisfaction and joy to the many people whom I have been privileged to touch in however a small way.

    • Thanks for engaging, Jonathan – Larry is a master at capturing poignant moments and memories, as he’s done so eloquently here. Ps. We miss your presence, my friend – stay close!

    • Thank you Jonathan very touching and deeply felt insights and feedback from you I am truly grateful to you for sharing your story

  5. I wish I could be able to say the same about my parents. I realise now, that my lack of parenting, lack of love, lack of education from them, made me strive to be better. They parented me in the only way they knew how. It wasn’t their fault, and I forgive them, but it leaves a huge hole in your life, and makes it hard to learn how to raise your own children in a better way, when you were programmed that their way of parenting was the only way. It’s taken years of my own poor parenting, failing my first children, to find better ways of developing relationships. You can’t undo the past, but hopefully, we learn from it, and evolve.