Faced with the task of finding my father something that wasn’t Led Zeppelin related this year for father’s day, I thought I’d write a blog post instead.
I wonder just how long it will take for him to realize I’ve posted this and for him to actually read it … haha, let the guessing begin! (by the way, click on the image above for a song that always makes me think of my father every time I hear it … sorry about the photo, it’s all I could come up with in a pinch)
So, what’s it mean to be a father? I had a vague idea of what I thought it meant to be a father, but at the same time, I had no clue until my first child – Jacik – was born. We’ve all heard it before and I won’t pretend to be any different, but you truly know what it’s like to be a father once you’ve held your first born child in your arms and you look down at them and come to the realization that their world is solely dependent on you. That overwhelming feeling of responsibility that floods your very being for this little person’s life is astoundingly impactful and will change your state of mind forever. You look at them and think, “oh my, I…I…I can’t believe that I had a part in creating you and the fact that you’re here, right now, blows my mind…you’re perfect in every way and I’m in shock that you’re actually here, in my arms…I will do everything I possibly can, to keep you from harm, to keep you safe and secure…I love you so much already and you’ve only just come into this world five minutes ago…I hope I never let you down” Those thoughts among many others whirl around inside your head as you beamingly look down at your child. You immediately have thoughts of who they are, who they might become, what they might do, and are already filled with a sense of pride to be able to call them your own.
I owe everything I am to my parents. When I think of being a father, I always turn to my own and look to him as my biggest source of inspiration. I’m not sure that he would take as much credit as he deserves, but it’s because of him that I am the man I am today and the father I want to be. You never understand just what your parents are trying to accomplish with you as you’re growing up. The lessons that they teach you along the way without you ever realizing it are priceless. While I’ve learned many, I thought I’d illustrate some of those lessons that I’ve learned from my father as a sort of “thank-you” to him:
Growing up on a farm the idea of “working hard” was something that seemed to just be the norm. Granted I went through my entire life with ridiculous allergies which kept me from a lot of the “farm” work that my brothers handled but the idea of working hard and pitching in was always prevalent. But it wasn’t just physical labor, my father always seemed to stress that everything you do, you should work hard at – also known as “giving it your all”. Aside from school work I’d say that I’ve tried to take this idea to heart and have been working hard all my life at many things.
If you see someone that needs help, then help them. It’s that simple. I’ve never witnessed my father not lend someone a hand when he knew they could use one. So often we see people struggling with something and we notice that many are quick to turn the other way and hope that someone else helps them. I know that my father is not that kind of man and he didn’t raise his children to ignore those in need. Whether that’s helping to carry something to someone’s car, picking up the slack at work or being a good listener … people need help and it’s pretty awesome to lend a hand when it’s needed.
Care about the right things.
Sure money can make things easier, but you don’t have to be wealthy to be rich.
Play your music LOUD.
Many dreams come true and some have silver linings. I live for my dreams and a pocket full of gold.
– Led Zeppelin | Over the Hills and Far Away
If you’ve ever been to my parent’s house then you’ve seen the large speakers in the corner of the front room. Needless to say, music has always played a big part in the Tetrault household. My father has had those very large speakers since his days at Culver and my brothers and I have grown up listening to all kinds of rock and roll throughout the years. I guess I never quite knew just how much I loved having music playing all the time till I had a house of my own; now every weekend while we’re home just hanging out with the kids, I find myself wanting to turn up the music up, just relax and take in the memories being made.
This is probably one of those key lessons passed down from generation to generation because I can vividly remember my grandfather, Rodney Tetrault, persistently instilling in us the idea of respectfulness. It’s not just about showing respect to your elders but showing and giving respect to everyone you meet, no matter who they are. That way when you go to earn respect you’ll get exactly the same kind you’ve shown.
Good manners are key.
Please and thank you can help you go a long way in your life.
There’s absolutely nothing my father wouldn’t do for his wife, children and the rest of his family. He would drop anything at a moments notice to be there when you need him most. That dependability is something every good father shows and I hope that I’m building that reputation.
You might call it the TV remote, but I grew up calling it the “Gizz-Whizz”. He who holds the magical “Gizz-Whizz” controls the TV viewing for that evening.
Don’t be too old to play.
We all work and it can definitely make us tired. But don’t forget to enjoy life and remember to have fun. I don’t care how old you are, if you’re a father and you have kids, play with your kids. Get up off the couch and actively participate in their lives. They’ll love it and thank you for it again and again the older you get.
Be open to conversation.
I can remember getting up from the table after eating dinner and running off to play while leaving mom and dad behind. They could sit there for an extra hour talking – about what, I have no idea, but being able to carry a conversation is key. I’m not suggesting that the lesson here is to be a social butterfly but being able to verbally communicate.
Stand up for what you believe.
It’s no secret that I tend to challenge authority, but I want to give a quick example of something I did during my youth just because I was trying to make my dad proud. I had a science teacher in high school (a biology one to be more specific) who started to teach the idea of evolution and how we all came to be from apes etc. Well, at this time I was heavily influenced by my faith and was troubled by the fact that the teacher never brought it up nor suggested that there could be other ways we came to be. Well needless to say I raised my hand and muttered a few comments on how I felt that she was wrong for suggesting that there was no other way we could’ve been created. She was so taken back by my unwillingness to just succumb to what she was teaching that she sat me down outside of the classroom in the hallway. Moments later the principal came walking by and I explained why I was out there and well, let’s just say that the lesson on evolution was a quick one.
All my life I wanted to be just as artistic and creative as my parents. My father, in particular, had a lot of sketchbooks that I would just look through at night in my room. Little doodles of Dennis the Menace and all sorts of things that I remember thinking that they were just awesome. But drawing is just one facet of being creative. My father is creative with many things and I like to think that if anything I’m definitely succeeding in that department.
Being emotional is OK.
Guys can cry – and I definitely do my fair share of it. Having kids will change your perspective on showing emotion without a doubt.
Love your children no matter what.
I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life and if it wasn’t for the love and support from my parents I doubt that I would’ve bounced back from some of those mistakes. The day my father stood out in the garage and told me, “I’m sorry that I can’t fix this…that I can’t make this go away for you” was the day I knew what true unconditional love for your children must feel like – and that was before I even had children of my own. Even though I was the one that had screwed up, I was the one to blame, my father was still apologizing to me because he didn’t want to see me in the pain I was in. That moment was overwhelmingly powerful and something every man should experience in their life – to know just how much your father loves you.
So here’s to you dad. Thank you for providing for us all our lives. Thank you for picking us up when we’ve fallen down. Thank you for showing us how to stand up for what we believe. Thank you for acknowledging that it’s ok to cry. Thank you for never being too old to play. Thank you for teaching us to work hard for what we want. Thank you for helping us and others. Thank you for making sure we understand what it means to show respect and how to be polite. Thanks for being the father that I hope to be. But most of all, thank you for loving us so much and being the best father 3 guys could ever wish for. I’m not sure anyone could ever write a book on how to be the perfect father, but if they needed a decent outline your life would be a great example.
I LOVE YOU – HAPPY FATHER’S DAY.