“He didn’t tell me how to live;
he lived, and let me watch him do it.”

Clarence Budington Kelland, 1882-1964

Feb. 2004

Dear Dad,

I’ve told you before but not often enough how proud I am of you and how much I love you and who you are and what you have done for me. So much of who I am today is because of you — from listening to your wise counsel over the years, yes, but mostly from watching you in action. I suppose all those years of playing with your office equipment and supplies and writing notes all over your office with your cool pens helped lead me to where I am now professionally. As I organize things, delegate jobs and direct projects, I also glimpse you and your leadership skills rising up in me. Your cool-headedness under pressure and the ability to look at things logically and pragmatically, yet with a touch of compassion and heart, is what I probably value the most. All those years growing up, I always knew you were the real softie!

I also watched you over the years go through challenging experiences and deal with difficult circumstances. You taught me that life isn’t fair and life is difficult, but that isn’t reason to make excuses or blame the world — you keep plugging away and do the best with what you have, and cherish the small moments of life and love your family and serve your church and honor your God and don’t give up on any of those things even when sometimes they seem to give up on you.

Thank you for the sacrifices you have made over the years and continue to make for your family. I know you sacrificed a lucrative career and worldly goods for us. And then you struggled over the years to provide for us in a way that didn’t take you away from us. Thank you for that. Please know that we never once went without the most important things in life — the love of two parents who loved us and put us first in their lives, and the many, many, many wonderful family memories that will last forever. I am thankful now that we didn’t have fancy cars or fancy clothes or fancy vacations. We have fancy memories of a family that loves each other.

We had the coolest family vacations — hiking, camping, canoeing, visiting historical sights — and enjoyed the best times together…and continue to do so. All these things, and so many more that I could write a book about, make you a wonderful man and the best father for ME. And one of the things that I thank you for the most is the way that you adore my mother. Nothing speaks more loudly about your Christ-like example and compassion than the partnership you have with Mom and the family that together you have dedicated your lives to.

I thank God daily for you and for allowing me to continue to be blessed by your wisdom and wit and wonderful unconditional love.

I love you.