THOUGHTS IN THE WAKE OF FATHER'S DAY.
I have been blessed with great abundance in my life. Super Bowl games & White House dinners. Mushroom hunting in the Vienna Woods & factory scouting in the Chinese countryside. Political, professional & personal adventures galore. And more friends & allies & loving family than one man deserves.
And yet, the greatest gift of my life has been to be a father.
It is the only thing I have ever known I wanted - with absolute certainty - and it has always been the role with the richest rewards.
I am sending this note to all the men in my life who are fortunate fathers as well.
Perhaps, like me, you too always wanted the blessing of children; or perhaps you've simply discovered, after the fact, the truth that no personal accomplishment, no financial investment, no political victory, no high-growth start-up, no major sporting event, and no extreme travel adventure will ever mean more to you than your own son or daughter's simple presence in your life.
Don't be distracted by the sleepless nights, dirty diapers, emergency room visits, check-out line meltdowns, little league tantrums, report card shortfalls, social circle drama, fashion miscues, illegal substance experimentation, 1st date & 1st kiss & 1st sex stress, car crashes, and shouting matches up staircases or through slammed doors. Don't be fooled by the noise of life, because in the midst of all of it our little human beings, our precious babies, they grow up into full-size adults - trees rooted firmly in the soil of our making, watered both by our values and our everyday examples.
And I promise you will learn one day, if you haven't already, that there is no joy greater as a father than to sit in the shade of these trees we've planted in the world. These young miracles, who god willing, will live well beyond our years and will fill the world with the love we've invested in them. I know yesterday was Father's Day, and if you were lucky, you were the center of attention for a moment or two.
But don't be fooled. Father's Day was not really about us. Being a father is always about them. It's always simply about showing up, about being present, and about witnessing the lives of our children. It's about the gift of everlasting love and responsibility WE RECEIVED on the day our children appeared in our lives - whether by birth or marriage or adoption.
So in the wake of Father's Day my advice is simple — thank your wife or your lover, thank your own parents, and then find a quiet moment to stop and look your own children straight in the eyes and thank them for the immeasurable, infinite joy and love they represent in our otherwise meager lives.
And I dare you not to cry from the sheer beauty of it all.
With love & admiration for all my fearless, faithful friends & fathers.
PS. This is a Tackk - so you can easily share your own thoughts on fatherhood simply by adding any sort of content directly below in the comment stream.