Friday, May 29, 2015

Dad showed character is more caught than taught

For fathers and even grandfathers, it's never too late to learn.


Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance. ~Ruth E. Renkel

As Father’s Day approaches, you begin to reflect on what impression your father has left on you. Whether good or maybe not the best, his imprint on your life has helped make you who you are.

My own father (Dan Erickson) taught me through his actions and behaviors. He showed me how to love and care for people who were hurting and he instilled in me a good work ethic. I knew my father loved me and I could count on him when I had a problem.

The Erickson family circa 1980s:
Shannon, Cathy, Doug and Dr. Dan.
My father wasn’t one of the bumbling idiots that fathers are sometimes portrayed like on TV. He worked hard, cared about his family and in turn we treated him with respect. This impression of what a father should be like helped me find a husband that had some of the same traits ... a father who will make his family priority while at the same time have a strong work ethic.

John Wooden once said, “Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating ... too often fathers neglect it because they get so caught up in making a living they forget to make a life.” This sometimes happens to fathers because the responsibility to earn a living for a family becomes the center of their existence. The priority becomes the work instead of the family itself.

If this is the kind of father you had, then you can still learn from that impression ... learn what not to do, learn how to manage both a job and a family and most importantly leave a different legacy for your own children.

For the fathers reading this who have made mistakes or made lesser things too important, there is still time to change whether you still have children at home or if you have grandkids. Fathers play many roles in the family and, in the article “The Importance of Fathers”, Dr. Stephen F. Duncan lists 10 important roles:

  • Spiritual Guide
  • Protector
  • Playmate
  • Teacher
  • Talent Developer
  • Provider
  • Companion
  • Trainer
  • Procreator
  • Servant

As you can see, a father has big shoes to fill. So as we approach the day to honor our fathers, let’s take time to thank them for their imprint on our lives. If they are no longer with you, remember how they have made you who you are today.

Shannon Brotherton is the loving daughter of Dr. Dan and Cathy Erickson.