By Serena French
It didn’t matter whether you were in a suit and tie in your fancy office or in old clothes and BBQ apron grilling steaks in the backyard, you were my Superman.
You always encouraged me, no matter the task, to make the effort to do my best even if no one noticed because it would build character. So, whenever you told me you were proud of the way I conducted myself or handled a situation, it was like taking in a deep breath of fresh fragrant air. So sweet; I couldn’t get enough.
Whether I was in a school music concert or competing with my horse, I would always search for your face in the crowd and watch for your wink and nod. With that I committed myself to doing my best and, win or lose, in your eyes – I knew I couldn’t fail. It meant so much to me to have you there in my rooting section.
You taught me that some people haven’t had the same advantages, so to never forget that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and kindness. And I learned from you to be grateful for ALL the good that came my way. From your humble beginnings you became a self-made man with a dream of being a good husband, father and successful provider for your family. Even though no one helped you get to where you were, you never missed an opportunity to encourage others and do whatever you could to help them up the ladder or through hard times.
People loved being near you, to work for you or to be your friend, not because you were a “rock star”, but because you knew how to put people at ease. You were confident, but not arrogant. If you got something wrong, you were the first to laugh at yourself.
You said when I made mistakes, to admit it, take responsibility and do my best to make things right. Whether it was an apology, a do-over, or a negotiated compromise, you’d coach me on how to do that and said honesty was always the best policy. You told me to stand up for myself when I felt I’d been misunderstood, but to keep my cool and be respectful. Over the years, that advice has been the key for me in turning negative situations into more positive outcomes.
When I was a young adult, you also taught me when plans fell through and dreams got shattered, to remember I’d overcome and see a brighter day on the horizon. Yes, I’ve been literally and figuratively thrown from a horse and gotten right back on again, proving to myself I was not to be counted out – which created a little more confidence for the next crisis.
As a single parent, I often heard myself passing on your pearls of wisdom. Now, I’m a grandparent, and your words are still current and appropriate and being said by my daughter to her children. So, if you ever wonder if the world’s a better place because you were here; it absolutely is! And I will never let anyone forget what a wonderful man you were.
I really miss you Dad