I wrote this post a few years back, but the sentiment behind hold no less weight today than it did when I first published it.
As I sat at my desk thinking about my father, I remembered his resume that mom sent me to fix up. I had read through it a few times before thinking of ways to rearrange the formatting and beef up the content, noting how modest my father was in conveying his occupational expertise. When I tried to talk to him before about updating the details he became elusive and a little annoyed.
Normally, that behavior would be frustrating but I understood what he was thinking since downplaying accomplishments and talents is a hallmark of his. As such, the resume sat dormant, relegated to a few gigabyte of information in a hard drive somewhere, until I thought about it as part of my Father's Day reflections. Looking at it as a son, I realized how much I've learned about being a man through the few short lines outlining my father's professional life.
HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA 1967 Randolph-East Mead High School
A good education was something always recognized by both my parents who both attended college, but were unable to finish. What I really learned from my dad in this short snippet of information, however, was about sacrifice. Even though we lived by modest means, my sisters and I never went without. We always had what we needed to include a private education that my father worked hard and sacrificed his time to earn for us. Today I see so many fathers who won't sacrifice even an afternoon of their own time for their kids and yet I had a dad who gave up time, money and opportunities year after year so his children could have the best he could offer.
Journeyman electrician with experience working alone and supervising other workers as a general laborer, material handler, and conduit installer, as well as operating forklifts, manlifts and bucket trucks. Over 600 hours of classroom instruction, now a teacher in the electrical program.
My dad is hands down the hardest working guy I know. He's approaching retirement age and yet I still hear stories of how he runs circles around younger guys in a profession that is physically demanding. A lot of guys his age are content to waste as much of their time as they can drinking coffee and BS'ing with co-workers about the ills of society, like why they can't get disability to help them pay for another dozen donuts. While these guys are running at the mouth, my dad is doing his job and theirs, and doing it quicker and more accurately than they. Because of this work-ethic, he's been offered chances for more responsibility, but he keeps turning them down - not because he's afraid of it, but because my dad prefers to get a job done right and have something to show for it rather than get bogged down in the politics surrounding it.
BUSINESS OWNER 1971-1995
Co-owner of family business, a lawn, garden and agricultural supply store. Duties ranged from warehouse/grinder man to President of Corporation. Company grew from one location with annual sales of $360,000 to six locations with annual sales reaching $3,500,000.
From almost the time I was born until just after I left home, my Dad worked in a family owned and operated agri-business. He and his brothers started it after their dad - my grandfather - got laid off from a factory job and needed a place to work. My Dad was the youngest of the five brothers, and yet he took charge when the time called for it. It had to be uncomfortable, and there always was an easy way out, but my Dad stuck it out. He was loyal to his family and to his employees.
One of the hardest jobs I ever had was working for my father in the business. I say it was hard because Dad wasn't about to let me be "the boss's kid." I used to hate it, but I later realized what he was teaching me. Not only that, I learned what it meant to set a positive example. Dad was a favorite of all those he worked with. He was personable, sincere and fair. I don't know how many times I watched him unload an entire truck load of fertilizer, or corn, or dog food in the middle of the summer. While others sat in an air-conditioned office, Dad would be sweating in the back of a rig, even when he was president of the corporation.
SPECIAL FORCES RECON TEAM LEADER 1968-1971
United States Army Laos & Cambodia: Completed two tours during the Vietnam War, led classified operations as a team leader and was honorably discharged. Awarded the BRONZE STAR for meritorious achievement in ground operations against hostile forces.
These few sentences don't convey the half of it. Even today, with the books and movies coming out, Dad remains low-key on his service as a Green Beret in the Army. Dad never had to say much for me to realize how important that funny hat perched at the top of the bookcase was and how much it symbolized. As I got older and fished out more and more stories from him, I new what I wanted to be when I grew up.
There were times when no one was around that I would take his beret and practice snappy salutes in front of the mirror. When you're a kid, what you see is the adventure and danger, but what I came to realize after I became a soldier myself is the cliche behind that kind of reasoning. What my dad (and many like him) had was a desire to be a part of something bigger than himself, and yet to express that sentiment openly would in some ways blunt the sincerity behind it. To talk of being noble is only talk. The true definition of it only comes through action without an expectation for recognition.
This showed to me how I am to act in every situation. As I've talked with my Dad about some tough circumstances in my own life, he has remarked that he wouldn't even know how to deal with what I was going through. However, the truth of the matter is, I wouldn't know how to deal with it either had I not had the example my father set for me in how to act honorably, even when you make mistakes.
4 Children (1 Son, 3 Girls), all happily married 10 Grandchildren (4 Grandsons, 4 Granddaughters, 2 Step-Granddaughters)
I know these aren't the typical distinctions for a resume, but they are the right criteria for the man I'm writing about. I've heard my dad lament more than once over the belief he didn't do enough, but the fact of the matter is he (along with mom) did all he was capable of doing, which is a great deal compared to an average guy. What he's done has paid off with a happy set of kids, and grandkids, as well as one swell wife. My father, like all dads, had his moments of imperfection, but but no one will ever say he didn't work his hardest or put his needs ahead of his family's.
Cards have their place this time of year. In a card I get to express to Dad my appreciation and love for him and then it goes into a shoe box where it will spend the future with many year's worth of other cards from me. With a blog, however, I get to share who my dad is with the world, and, at the same time, I also have the chance to express my appreciation and love for the man greatly responsible for making me who I am today. Thanks Dad. I love you.