An eternal Father’s Day lesson. Listening, learning, loving, longing.
This past Father’s Day my kids called to wish me well. “Happy Father’s Day, Dad.” Music. Nothing better than the sounds and words of a loving call from your children. I would have given any amount of money for one more call at Father’s Day. The one I wish I could have made to my dad. He passed away four years ago. I miss him so much.
The grief of his death is over, but missing him never goes away.
I want him to see my success. “Hey Pop, look at my new book. Hey Pop, I’m giving a seminar in France in front of a thousand people. Did you read my column this week, Pop?” I always loved when he called to tell me that he saw my book in a book store. Or that he wanted to give an autographed copy to someone. Parental pride. Nothing feels better. Nothing feels better.
If you are a mom or a dad, tell your children you are proud of them. There are no words more fulfilling in the world. And every child aches for them.
If you have lost a parent, you know what “missing someone” means. The good news is that when I think of my father I smile. And when I use his lessons, or tell a story about him, I smile.
My dad’s lessons were not verbalized. This is not about “my father always said…” Rather it’s about what I observed. And about what I realized after his death that I never understood while he was alive. Almost as if his passing brought awareness. Awareness that has led to success. Business and personal.
As you read these observations, keep in mind that they are both lessons and honors. I am saying “eternal thanks” every time I use one of them. These are life and business lessons. They apply to whatever you are doing every day. And they provide a foundation upon which success can be built. Here’s an example. My dad was never late. He never said, “Son, don’t be late.” He just always showed up on time or early. Always.
BE CAREFUL: These lessons are simple at the core. But they provide the basis for actions that lead to reputation. Just like I’m saying thanks to my mom for drubbing manners into me as a youth. Every time I hold a door open for someone, I smile and think of her. People love manners. And they are noticed.
These are my father’s unspoken lessons:
Vices? Sure. He had a bunch of them. What’s your point? Everyone has vices. Even you. Once dead, vices are buried, goodness and wisdom live on. And vices have a plus side. As a son or daughter they teach you what NOT to do, if you’re paying attention.
Give yourself a Father’s Day gift. Write down all the good things you are learning or have learned from your dad or mom. Write down what lessons and habits you observe that you want to emulate. And the ones you will need to omit. Save them forever.
My father, my friend, I have learned the lessons, and I am a student till the end. Happy eternal Father’s Day, Pop.
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Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts internet training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org