Why is it usually the case that the most positive collection of thoughts ever spoken about a person are shared after the person dies? We always hear such kind words spoken at a person’s funeral. Why do we wait until a person is gone to speak uplifting words about them?
What would be so hard about telling people the thoughts we might share at their funeral while they are still alive? Why don’t we tell another that we look up to them or how much we appreciate them while they are still here to hear it? If you choose to wait, you may be too late.
Sunday is Father’s Day. Some of you reading this grew up with fathers who modeled for you the life that you needed to live. Others grew up without a father figure or with a father who might not have set such a good example. You have had to overcome a poor role model and to make conscious decisions not to follow your father’s example.
I am most richly blessed to have grown up in a home with a great father figure.
My Dad was honored several years back when he retired from teaching 40 years at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. There was a surprise dinner in his honor attended by VIPs from around the world. He was honored with a book written by his friends and colleagues. At the dinner, several individuals talked about him and his many accomplishments over the years.
My mother spoke and his grandchildren did a joint presentation. I was asked to speak on behalf of his four children. I asked my brother and sisters what they wanted me to share and then I put them together my own thoughts. It was a real neat experience to be able to speak about him to a distinguished group of his cohorts and his family members.
With my father sitting at the front table just in front of me, I was able to tell him how much his kids think of him and to thank him for pouring himself into his children over the years. To be able to pay tribute to him with him in the room was really a neat experience. I was able to tell him he is a hero to me and to thank him for all he has done for us.
Although my Dad’s influence has touched lives around the world, his impact on his children here at home is immeasurable.
A few years ago in searching for a Father’s Day card, I came across a message that represented my thoughts so closely that I wrote down its message before giving the card to my Dad. The card was titled, “For the Best Dad of All.” Here is how it read:
“I’m going to rely on this card to help me out a little bit. To help me remind you how much you mean to me and what an important role you play in my life.
“You see, I realize that there’s a big gap between the few things I have said to you and the many things that I would love to say. I hope this card will help me narrow that gap, because I really want to share these thoughts with you...
“Dad, I think you already know how special you are to me, but just in case you forget that once in a while, I hope you’ll remember this card. It’s here to remind you that I love you far beyond any simple words I can say.
“I want you to know so many things that my hugs and smiles have tried - over the years - to tell you. Things about gratitude, closeness, admiration, and hope. Whenever it seems like the world is short on heroes, I think of how much I look up to you. I’ve got my very own hero, and I always have. It’s you, Dad: the one I turn to for guidance and wisdom, for reassurance and support. I appreciate it all so much.
“Thanks for being someone I can talk to and share my soul with. Thank you, Dad, for your praise and patience, for teaching what you could and letting me learn a lot on my own. You encourage me to believe in the best. And to keep walking tall. That’s a quality I hope I’ll always have, because it will always remind me...how close I am to you...the best Dad of all.”
My Dad cried after he read the card.
I am proud of my father. I will carry a part of him within me every step I take for the rest of my life.
My challenge to you today is to share with your father thoughts you would share if you were speaking about him after he passes. What positive comments would you share to a group that gathered together in his honor? What of your father’s gifts and talents would you highlight for others if you were asked to speak on his behalf?
Speaking your comments to your father would be a very meaningful way of sharing them with him. I would encourage this. If you are unable to share directly with him, take an hour of two from your busy schedule and handwrite your thoughts about your father in a letter to him. And while you are at it write a letter such as this to your mother.
For some of you, it’s too late to share your thoughts. For others, you don’t know when it will be too late.
To all of you fathers reading this, Happy Father’s Day!!!
Just a thought...
Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org:email@example.com or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.