My father gave me the best gift I could ever ask for, apart from life itself; that was the gift of encouragement, and belief that I could achieve anything.
He never promised me that I would succeed in everything I did; in fact, he told me that I might fail at some of the things that I tried. I sometimes did. But I always knew that my father supported me in everything that I did, and he believed the best for me.
When I was younger, and in school, my father encouraged me to try to get good grades as any good father would. I remember turning in my first report card, my heart brimming to full with trepidation. With my hand shaking, I handed my father my report card. My dad clasped the frail piece of paper and patted his knee. I climbed aboard, expecting the worst, or at the very least a reprimand. My grades were grim at best, or so I thought from a man who was known for being an excellent student.
There in the living room, the two of us sat; I on his knee, and he sitting with his glasses perched precariously on his nose. The truth laid bare as I held my breath, waiting... two Cs, a B, and fortunately for me, an A-, in PE. What child did not excel in physical education?
My dad looked at me. ďSon, Iíll tell you this. Itís not the worst Iíve ever seen. But I know you. I know what I put in you, and I know what kind of brains you have. I know what you are capable of. And let me tell you son. I know what you are capable of. I know that you can get an A, if you want to. I BELIEVE in you. If you want to push yourself, you can. Itís up to you. I love you, and I support you. Life is tough. But not so tough you canít trust in the belief of yourself.Ē
Iíll never forget that conversation. The next time I turned in a report card, I had all Aís.
When I got my first job at the local hot dog stand, I found it not to my liking. I wanted to quit after my first day. I also wanted to save up money to buy a car. I remember sitting down at the table complaining that night at dinner. My father looked me square in the eye. ďSon, I know working is tough. Itís not all roses and sunshine. I also know that you want a car. Iíll tell you what. For every dollar you earn, if you stay at that job for the summer, Iíll match what you earn. I BELIEVE in you son. Or, you can quit. And, if you do decide to quit son, I wonít hold it against you boy. I really wonít. Itís not necessary to have a car right now anyway, and I am confident that you will think of some other way to make things work for you. I love you, and you are a smart boy.Ē I ended up staying on at the hot dog stand, half the summer, earning part of the money I needed, and then selling newspapers the rest of the summer. I never felt bad about my decision, and I did end up with a cheap (very cheap), but fully operable car.
My father was a terrific role model. I remember many people showing up at our home, late in the night, or on the weekends, popping in for advice from my father. I would always hear off in the distance, something like, ďI believe in you, Dan, donít worry about it. Things will work out.Ē
Father was a simple man, who was kind and caring. He was compassionate and content, and full of wisdom. He lived a long and happy life, passing away after watching his children raise families of their own. I know now know why my father always believed in us, and in those that he loved. As we gather today to remember him, let us remember to cherish his soul, and to pass on the joy and legacy that my father passed on to others.
In closing, I want each of you to know, that my father believed in each of
us; let us pass that on to the people that we interact with each and every day.