Saturday, June 25, 2011

Father's Day - Part 2

(Continued from June 18, 2011) ........

15) The dad, a long-time computer guy long before computers found their way in to homes, told the son to get a computer, because he would need it for everything in life within a few yeas. The son refused. The dad then showed up at the son’s work one day with a huge computer – paid for by the dad. The son used it for years before upgrading a few times – the dad was right!

16) The son, for many years questioning the wisdom of his father, later in life learned that the dad had been far beyond his years in wisdom. Interestingly, the same scenario is unfolding with the son’s children many years later.

17) In the son’s neighborhood, ALL boys owned a BB gun. One day the son, an expert marksman in his own right (at least that's his story!), fired a shot at a garbage can – a normal occurrence. The dad was on the other side of the can and the shot scared the dad. The BB gun was instantly and permanently retired on that day!

18) In later life, after the dad was making a very good living, the dad told the son that there had been times during which the family had not been able to afford shoes for the two kids. Funny, the kids always had new shoes and everything else that they needed. The son never knew that funds were low when he was a little kid.

19) When the son bought a new front door for his own home, the dad asked the son how he would install it and he offered to help. The son declined the offer for help. On the next day, while the son was struggling with the directions, the dad showed up and installed the door. He just knew.

20) The son, watching his dad’s health get weaker with the job, watched his father’s face light up when he held the son’s baby daughter – moments that the son will never forget!

21) In the dad’s final summer, the dad and son bonded again while completing home projects together at the hours of the mom and dad.

22) When funds were quite low (although the son did not know this), the dad took out a loan to purchase a brand new Buddy Rich drumset for his son – the exact drumset that the son had always wanted! 35 years later, the son still owns this drumset; it is still in perfect condition; and the son’s son uses it now, too. Oh, and the son used the drumset to put himself through college and make a few extra bucks for married life.

23) Played catch almost every single day after work during the son’s formative years - this gave the son needed confidence to excel at baseball.

24) Coached the son in bowling – the son later went on to win the highest average in the league award several times, mostly because the dad showed a great interest in his son’s weekly battle with the lanes.

25) The dad, knowing that he was going to die in the hospital, refused to tell the son that he was even ill, so that the son would not worry; so that the son would keep working and not take time off; and so that the son would not see his dad in a suddenly frail state. However, at the moment of death, the son, 25 miles away and not even knowing that his dad was ill, knew that he had just lost a friend, a huge supporter, and his dad all at once.

O.K., with all of that unselfish fatherly love bestowed upon a son, you might think that the young man might become spoiled!! Well, ..... I don’t know ..... do you think that I’m spoiled????

That’s right! Those 25 items describe my own dad, but they only scratch the surface!

To the best father in the world – THANK YOU, DAD! I REALLY MISS YOU! If my kids someday consider me to be as great a parent as you – my life's mission will be completed. Thank you for the lessons on being a great parent!

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day - Part 1

Well, tomorrow is Father’s Day, the day on which tons of neckties and books are liberally given to dads all over the land! So, what are 25 of the top one million things that a father can do for his son (the son who will someday be a dad)? Well, spread over the next two weeks, here they are:

1) Coached his son’s T-Ball team when the child was only 7-years-old and encouraged and coached him while the son went 33-34 at the plate, after following his dad’s advice to hit everything toward 3rd base, because nobody at that age could fire the ball to first base in time to get the kid out!

2) Managed his son’s baseball teams at age 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, and 14. Had to miss managing the 10-year-old season due to a work commitment in another state – a season that the father and son always regretted.

3) Always expected more from his son in practice and games than he expected from the other boys. While the son felt somewhat pressured, he credits his dad’s driving him with his making the all-star team as the shortstop!

4) After the son continued to believe that the father was “too tough” on him in practice and in games, the dad agreed to step down as his son’s manager for the first time.

5) In one of his first games with somebody other than his father as the manager, the kid, now 15-years-old, pitched the 2nd no-hitter of his career. After the game, the son was barely able to get his father’s attention. The kid’s feelings were hurt. Later, after asking the dad for the reason behind the blow off, the kid learned that the dad had been near tears and would have broken down in front of everybody had the two spoken right after the game.

6) After refusing to get the kid another dog (the first two dogs had passed away within months of coming into the home), the father, after being away for 10 weeks and missing his son’s 10-year-old baseball season, allowed the son to get another dog – a magnificent collie who would become a buddy to the father and son.

7) After the magnificent collie passed away years later and after the son moved out and got married, the father got another collie.

8) After watching his son make two egregious mistakes in a basketball game in front of what seemed to be about a thousand people, the dad used the next morning to berate his child for his poor play and for embarrassing the family and the team. While the son thought that this treatment was harsh at the time, the son later realized that the ‘chewing out” had awakened him toward a quest for excellence in all that he did.

9) The dad wore a suit to work every single day – a trend that the son had decided to follow for his own career.

10) Although he had resisted purchasing a swimming pool for his children, the father eventually gave in; bought a pool; and the whole family used it as a gathering place for family fun for years.

11) Refused to let his son swim on game days until after the game, because the pros did not swim on game days.

12) Early on told the son that he would be going to college and he would earn at least one degree. There would be no discussing the matter. Nobody was more proud than the dad when the son walked across the stage to receive his B.A.

13) Demanded that the son perform regular tasks around the house, i.e., taking put the garbage, shoveling snow, etc. However, when the son started taking care of the lawn on days of 95 degrees, the dad told the son to slow down and not work so hard - apparently the dad believed that his years-long message had gotten through too well!

14) Even though the two had a breakdown in communication during the son’s final year of college, mostly due to the father’s stress at work, the dad later became a nightly visitor at the apartment of his son and new bride.

(Please come back next Saturday for the conclusion of the Father's Day Top 25!)

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dad - Take Your Medicine! - Part 2

(Continued from June 4, 2011) …… During the next 7 months, with the dad returning to full health, all of the family’s activities returned to normal, including bike riding, rollerblading, exploring in the backyard, vacation, and, well, Katrina and her dad were as happy as could be (the mom, too!) that all was back to normal!

Then ….. one Saturday morning about 7 months after the dad started to heal, the dad woke up and realized that he was devastatingly beat tired. No symptoms or sickness, just a day on which the dad knew that he would need to sleep a lot more to catch up from the previous weeks of activity. Not a big deal to the dad. At about 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning, he told his wife that, even though he had been awake for only a few minutes, he would be going back to bed to sleep for a few more hours.

Katrina, upon noticing that her dad was still sleeping and suspecting that he was getting sick again, entered his dad’s room to wake him up and ask him to go for a bike ride. The dad told her that he was beat tired; he would need to sleep for a while longer; and that they could go for a bike ride later. 8-year-old Katrina, quite concerned for her dad, said O.K. and left the room.

At around noon, Katrina came back in and told her dad that he needed to get up, as the day was getting away from him and she knew that the dad wanted to go bike riding and that his favorite college football team would be on TV soon (Katrina knew that the dad would never miss a game of his favorite college football team!).

The dad again told Katrina that he was tired and would need to sleep more. Katrina asked him if he were sick and the dad told her that he was fine, but he needed to sleep more.

Katrina, becoming almost deathly afraid that her dad was about to sink back into poor health and maybe even die (remember, these are the thoughts of an 8-year-old), went to her room to pray and cry. She later told the mom that dad was sick and that he needed to get to a doctor. The mom tried to assure her that the dad was fine and that he just needed to sleep.

Katrina persisted so, at about 2:00 p.m., the mom and Katrina went to the bedroom to check on the dad. As they awoke the dad to check on his condition, the dad insisted that he was beat tired; he was not sick; and that he would get up soon.

The mom was convinced that the dad was fine and she told Katrina that all was well. However, Katrina was not convinced and she even suspected that the parents were trying to keep the bad news from her.

At about 4:00 p.m., Katrina, knowing that the dad should have had two doses of his medicine by now, asked the mom if the dad had taken his medicine. The mom said probably not, as he had been sleeping all day. The mom assured Katrina that the dad would take his medicine when he awoke.

Katrina, not one to wait around on the health of her dad and fully remembering what his condition was like before the medicine, immediately went to the kitchen, poured a glass of water, got two of her dad’s pills, and headed for the bedroom.

Katrina woke her dad and told him that he had to get up right away to take his medicine. The dad said that he was fine and that he would take his medicine when he awoke. Katrina said that he had to take it now, per the directions on the bottle.

The dad, instantly recognizing for the first time that Katrina was concerned that her dad was getting sick again, took the medicine with Katrina watching.

The dad told me that he saw a visible sense of relief within Katrina, as she believed that all was now well with the ingesting of the medicine. Within an hour or so, the dad, who usually did not sleep that much, arose from his nearly 14 hours of sleep to eat, get dressed, and go outside for, … you guessed it…. a bike ride with Katrina!

And there you have it, the love of a daughter for her dad to the point that she worried; prayed; kept on the dad to get up; and then finally insisted that he take his medicine might have provided the greatest gift of all from a daughter. She was only 8-years-old, but she took the bull by the horns to make sure that her dad would be around for a whole bunch of years by having him take his medicine!

By the end of telling this story, the dad was somewhat overcome by tears and his wife and I comforted him. He had been alive and had done just fine for about 30 years or so without Katrina. The fact that a little girl who had been created 8 years earlier had such a deep love for him as her dad was almost too much for the dad to take as he retold the story.

At some point, the mom and dad headed for the car. They asked me to tell Katrina to head for the car after she was done packing up from the concert.

About 10 minutes later, Katrina came to find me to ask if I knew the whereabouts of her parents. I told her that they were in the car waiting for her. Suddenly showing concern, Katrina asked if everything was O.K. with her parents. Resisting from telling her that she just might win the award for daughter-of-the-year, I simply told her that, “Yes, Katrina, everything is fine. In fact, everything is terrific!”

With a gigantic smile and a somewhat sense of relief from Katrina, she headed for the car to join her favorite parents!

So, how about you? As we prepare the descent to Father’s Day, tell me about the favorite moments when you realized that your kids were special!

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dad - Take Your Medicine! - Part 1

Several years ago, I had a student named Katrina. Katrina was an excellent student, very appreciative of all things in life; made friends easily; and seemed to be destined for a terrific life!

One evening after a concert, I was telling her parents how well that Katrina had been doing in class and that I thought that she would make an excellent teacher. Her dad told me that Katrina had always been a very giving person – always concerned for the welfare of others. I told him that I wholeheartedly agreed.

The dad told me that she was the most special girl in the entire world. He seemed to get a little misty-eyed when he said that, but I could not figure out why. I had already had hundreds of these types of conversations with parents, but none that so quickly induced wet eyes with a father.

He asked me if I had a few moments to hear a story about his daughter. I told him yes, so he began this terrific story:

When Katrina was 8-years-old, the dad had been suddenly stricken with an affliction in which he lost about 40 pounds in 3 weeks; could not eat or drink without getting violently ill within seconds; had undergone several medical tests; and the doctors could find nothing wrong. In short, the dad believed that he had gone from a healthy and vibrant dad to one who was quickly on his way to checking out … permanently!

Katrina and her dad had a wonderful father-daughter relationship, as they did everything together, including bike riding, talking about friends, exploring the world, etc. In fact, despite his busy schedule, the dad always made time for Katrina. Yes, Katrina thought that her dad was the best dad in the whole world and the dad thought that Katrina was the best daughter in the world!

To see her dad riding a bike at break-neck speeds and rollerblading around the rink one day to becoming frail and unable to eat or drink only three weeks later had a devastating effect on Katrina. She loved her dad and she was willing to do anything to keep him alive. Of course, she was only 8, so her options were somewhat limited. All that Katrina could do was to be available to assist the mom in any way possible and pray.

At any rate, after three weeks of watching her dad glide quickly to what seemed to be a certain demise, the dad’s doctor sent him to a specialist. After hearing the symptoms, the specialist surmised that he knew what the problem was, but he also wanted to check for cancer.

After running the normal tests, the specialist determined that the dad was suffering from a treatable malady with medicine and that the dad should be as good as new within a few weeks!!! The doctor also explained that, had the dad not come in for the tests, his situation would have continued its quick downward spiral toward the end!

Wow, what a relief for everybody. It now seemed like the dad would be able to grow old with his favorite daughter and that Katrina would be able to have her dad for many years to come!

Well, the dad began to faithfully take his medicine three separate times per day and, just like the doctor said, he somewhat quickly came back to health with a renewed vitality. While his health started to get better right away, his energy and strength took a little longer, but by about the 8-week mark, the dad was as good as new. In fact, since he did not put all of the weight back on, he looked and felt better than ever!

(Please come back next week for Part 2)

Paul W. Reeves