Dads are often the unsung heroes of the household. And a reputation as the disciplinarian seems to follow our fathers more often than not. But in our household, discipline was a shared task, and with four boys, my parents ran a tight ship. There was no room for nonsense!
I'm from a generation of being seen and only speaking when spoken to. I'm grateful to have been raised with manners and an unwavering understanding of being gracious, never greedy, never disagreeable. Building character was about doing our part and sharing in family duties. Chores were a cherished responsibility to teach the importance of hard work—a virtue my father felt was paramount to being a solid citizen. Weekends were always work first: gardening, painting, repairs, and garage cleanup.
But it wasn't all work and no play—Dad always made time for recreation, too! Pop was a wiz at yard darts and horseshoes, his favorite summer pastime. I can still see him in his weekend-wear: off-white, straight-legged jeans covered in a plethora of paint colors from his many projects. At the time, I truly hated those jeans because I was fully committed to bell-bottoms. I found his splattered pants embarrassing, and no surprise, Mother held the same sentiment.
Dad wore them to the hardware store like a badge of honor. "Who are you trying to impress?" Mom would muse. As I look back, he was far ahead of his time. I now long for those worn, torn, paint-covered canvas pants, for I'd certainly be the envy of street-style photographers today. Can you imagine the flurry of comments on Instagram?
Contrary to his crazy pants, Dad had great style and taste. His collection of cuff-link and tie-clasp sets was a continual source of conversation among family and friends. Never one for conservative designs, Dad always went for the most contemporary. Those statement-making sets were my favorite Father's Day gifts for him, and selecting them was as much fun as seeing his enjoyment when wearing them. My great fondness today for French-cuff shirts and cuff links comes from my early introduction to this sartorial style.
If an apple doesn't fall far from the tree, then I am clearly my father's son. I was pretty horrible at horseshoes, better at yard darts, but brilliant when it came to dressing in style. And I have to admit that now I'm also pretty handy around the house!
Thank you, Dad, for giving me the greatest gifts: molding my mind to think boldly without compromise, understanding the importance of being compassionate and caring, and never forgetting that hard work is a virtue that always holds its value.
To all of the dads who have been our foundation and inspiration—thank you for your support, your strength, your love.
Happy Father's Day!