Building a Legacy

Dad and girlsIt’s often said that being a mother is a thankless job, but I think that being a dad can be too, and maybe even more so.  Think about it… what gifts for moms are advertised?  Jewelry, dinners out, spa days.  And dads?  Hair trimmers.  How many “I love Dad” tattoos have you seen?  Mom rules that class.  But dads need our love and gratitude too.  My theory is they’d like those hugs just as much, but stand back to let mom get them because that’s just what a good dad does, he puts others first, quietly assuming his role of protector and provider.

So in the interest of giving dads their due, I’d like to share a tribute I wrote for my dad’s birthday a couple of weeks ago.  I had planned to read it at his surprise party but regrettably by the time I worked up the courage everyone was gone except our immediate family (hope this makes up for it!)

I’d like to wish my dad a happy 70th birthday, and thank him for being the great father, husband, grandfather, brother and friend that he is to so many.

My dad has enjoyed many successes in his life so far, but to me his most important success is the legacy he has created for our family.  I’m proud of his personal, professional, athletic, and philanthropic accomplishments, but even more proud that he has taken those and leveraged them into lessons that shaped our family through two generations so far, and more to come.  Dad, thank you for making that your life’s work- to make an impact on our lives.

Through your legacy,

You have taught us to overcome; that the circumstances of your life don’t define you or hold you back; that you can choose to complain about it or do something with it.  That with hard work and big vision, you can go from being a poor kid who came from nothing to a VP of Finance.

You taught us gratitude; pointing out to me and Dennis that which never occurred to us, that it was by the grace of God that we were born into good circumstances; we could have just as easily been born into a famine stricken country or live in one of those burned out buildings near Yankee stadium.  How it must have killed you when I said it would be more convenient to go to the games if we lived there.

You taught us to pay attention to the world.  To love our country and think critically about who’s running it.  That we need to know and understand the times we live in to make informed decisions and be instruments of change.  Those Sunday night dinners talking politics and life have made my life richer; and the lives of our children as well.

You taught us about work, about doing our best and striving for excellence.  Working hard whether someone was watching or not.

You taught us to give, that you didn’t get where you were without the help of others, and paying it forward was the right thing to do to help others around us; that the material goods we have here on earth are to be shared, and to welcome others into our homes and lives.

Finally, you taught us love and respect.  You may have worn a “male chauvinist pig” tie back in the day, but you always, always show mom love and respect. You taught me that I could do anything I put my mind to, and that being a girl shouldn’t hold me back, at a time when it was a new idea. Your actions spoke louder than your tie.  You love us when we are rotten just as well as when we are good.  You were and are always there for us when we needed an ear, a lesson, or sometimes a bail out.  And you taught us that love does not give up on each other; that you are here for us through the tough times as well as the happy times.

So Thank you dad, for making your greatest success one that will impact our family for generations.  I only hope we can carry it on too.  Happy birthday!


Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!  You make the world a better place.

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