A couple years back I took the opportunity to say a huge, public thank you on Mother’s Day to my Mom for all the many ways she has supported, encouraged and taught me over the years. I thought it only fitting to share on Father’s Day the many ways my Father has done the same for me. I don’t “go personal” very often in this environment and feel quite indulgent doing so, but feel more so a desire to tell you about my Dad.
My father didn’t teach me how to sew, but has been just as encouraging and influential throughout my life. While I sit here trying to express my feelings for my father, I struggle to find words that will convey the magnitude of my love and admiration for this wonderful, wonderful man.
My father is a man of precision and creativity. I’m not sure he would describe himself as creative, but take a minute to look at the designs he has created for various features around their house and you too would consider him quite clever. His precision is evident in a multitude of ways in his daily life. One summer he grew over a dozen different types of lettuce in his yard and kept a notebook with notes on each kind, so he knew which ones to plant again and which ones to discard. While visiting one afternoon, I was asked if I “wanted to go grade the lettuce.” I could only imagine what he meant and it was a joy to “grade” the lettuce plants with him. While we doled out B+s, C-s and a few As, I very much appreciated and learned from his methodical nature.
My father is a curious man. He is interested in things, always seeking to learn. One of my fondest memories of my father is the time spent walking to school in the morning and then meeting him at the end of our driveway each night and getting a few more minutes together, just the two of us, before the end of the day. My dad is always interested in what his children are up to, genuinely interested. He’ll ask questions about what we do, so he understands it more. This interest has always made me feel that what I’ve been doing is important. One day, when talking about running Bolt, he reflected on how it could be better than a hardware store (there’s a very fond appreciation for hardware stores in my family), in that while you’re continuing to order fabric over and over again, the fabric is always changing. It’s not like ordering the same nuts, bolts and screws whenever you need them. I have always appreciated his genuine curiosity so much.
My father is a man of integrity and honesty. If asked to describe my Dad, I think these traits are the first that come to mind. These are traits that I value so much and that both he and my mom have been conscientious to pass on to each of their children. To treat every person with dignity and respect is what I have learned from my Dad (and my Mom, but it’s my Dad’s turn in the spotlight). I very openly admit that I am not there yet, but aspire to do so to the degree that they are able to.
When I first talked with both my mom and my dad about opening the store, they each expressed such support and interest, I was honestly startled. I thought there would be more hesitation in their reaction, but they expressed such faith in my ability, it helped give me more of a push to tackle it. My dad has a business background. In the planning stage of Bolt, he reviewed my business plan, went around town looking at locations with me and respected my thoughts on it all. Although I came to this without formal business training, I always had the feeling from my dad that I could do it, I could learn to run the business. As the years have ticked by, he has always been interested in how the business is doing. He’s someone I can have business chats with and with whom I can express my dreams and goals for the future. He has always told me what a great job I’ve done. Hearing words like that from someone I admire and respect so much, has a powerful impact.
My dad is a humble man, not one to want any sort of spotlight on himself. And while I think about why it seems important to me to share these thoughts, only part of it is to shine the light on my wonderful father. The other reason is to illustrate how much goes on behind people we come in contact with on a daily basis. The people that guide us and influence how we behave, give us something to aspire to, encourage us. As I grow older and am now a parent, I remind myself of the influence I’ve experienced from people as present as my Dad and Mom have been in my life and think about what influence I can only hope to have.
Thank you so much Dad, for giving me fuel and motivation to strive to do the best I can do, to be confident that being honest and acting with integrity is always the best path and for knowing to work hard and go slow enough to genuinely appreciate all around me. I have so much to be grateful for. Thank you for teaching me that and being part of what I am grateful for.
I didn’t sew you a tie this year, but I hope you know just how important you are to me. Happy Father’s Day Dad.