Sunday, June 15, 2014

Kindness, Honesty and Father’s Day

As I sit typing this, it’s very late at night the evening before Father’s Day. As with any Father’s Day, I can’t help but think about the amazing fathers in my life – my Daddy, my stepfather, my father-in-law, my grandfathers (including my stepmother’s father) and my husband.

If you know me even a little bit, you know how much I value both honesty and kindness. I hold these two values above just about any others. Both of my children are whip smart and funny and personable, which I think is wonderful beyond words, but I tell them that what makes me the most proud of them is their kindness and compassion. And from friends and family and colleagues and random strangers and trusting forest creatures, I always ask for honesty, even if what someone needs or wants to (or simply should) tell me isn’t pleasant, and I offer the same in return.

I learned these values from the fathers in my life. Every one of these fine, brilliant men epitomizes (or epitomized) these traits. Any one of them could have been just as successful in some aspects of their lives – or possibly more successful – if they had been less kind, less honest. But every one of them chose this path, and for that I’m forever grateful. They not only insisted that my sisters and I behave with compassion and truthfulness, but they demonstrated these values every day.

These dads all know (or knew) the value of telling the truth, no matter how difficult that truth is to share. And for that, they were and are trusted. They have credibility. And to a man, they knew that compassion and a welcoming, caring soul aren’t signs of weakness but rather of great strength, and that such kindness, when shared, helps create strength in others. Taken together, kindness and honesty become even more powerful than either trait alone. And each of these men hold, or held, power beyond measure, because they are and were the kind of men in whom people – including my sisters and me – entrust their hearts.

So on this Father’s Day, I want to thank these men for exemplifying the kind of person I want my children to be… the kind of person I hope I am and that I strive to be.

Thank you, Dad, and thank you, Mike.
Thank you, Papa Jack and Grandpa Herbie and Papi.
Thank you, Bill.
Thank you, Shawn.

I love you all. Happy Father’s Day.

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