Similar to our Mother’s Day post, we’d like to share a reflection for our dads today. As always, we hope you enjoy these thoughts, we’d love to hear a little more about your relationships with your dad, uncle, grandfather, or any influential man in your life below. Let’s celebrate the dedication of a father.
As you may remember from our Mother’s Day post, both of my parents are from Haiti, coming to the United States in their teenage years.
My father and I share a special bond as I tried to emulate him, to an extent, during my childhood. He first inspired me to begin playing sports. Growing up, my dad played several different sports, including soccer, tennis, and volleyball. As early as age seven, I can remember waking up early in the morning to play soccer or tennis with him, always followed by going breakfast at our favorite diner down the street! I owe my passion as an athlete to him, especially soccer. Through the years I have picked up additional skills and a dedication to additional sports such as basketball, track, and football and he, along with my mom would always be there to support.
I can go on and on about sports, just ask Sarah, but my dad also taught me the importance of hard work. Being an immigrant from Haiti, both my parents had to work to get to where they are now. My dad puts his all into everything he does and refuses to settle, whether in the professional setting or to side projects, like building an addition to our deck. From a young age, he instilled that work ethic in me. Have I been a hard worker consistently? Well no, to be honest. But my dad is a constant reminder that you have to earn what you what. I know I said something similar about my mom, but culturally there is a trend here: understanding the importance of a solid work ethic is crucial, especially as I continue in my professional and personal tasks.
Lastly, my dad has taught me how to do some basic handy skills around the house and how to perform simple tuneups on my vehicles. But more importantly he taught me how to treat others. My dad is one that will do anything for his family and that is something that has carried over to me. There have been countless things I have done for my family, or for others, that I have done even if I didn’t feel like it. There is something fulfilling about helping or serving others, from small acts of kindness to things that may require large amounts of time. All this comes from seeing my dad do it, and experiencing the same feeling he has by doing it myself.
Unlike Phil, I have two fathers in my life. My parents divorced when I was in elementary school. Most of my childhood was split between my mom’s house and my dad’s house, which wasn’t the easiest thing to deal with. Case and point, if a friend’s party or school dance fell on a night with my dad, I couldn’t go resulting in extreme moments of FOMO. But typically, the fear of missing out was replaced with moments of fun, excitement, growth, and development.
My dad, as most dads do, has these phrases that cause pain-inducing eye rolls. He likes to call them “words of pure wisdom” and constantly suggested that my sister and I write them down and turn them into a book. The majority of this advice didn’t really stick. But there were a couple life lessons in there that I have applied to my own life.
First is my love and understanding of professional sports. Growing up in New England, some may say I was spoiled. We have Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics, David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz, and the bears on ice, the Boston Bruins all during the 18 years that I lived in NH with my parents. Luckily for me, my dad loved it all. I distinctly remember him quizzing me during the NFL playoffs, and asking me why Paul Pierce was shooting free throws. He was an athlete for most of his academic career. From winning countless championships in his high school glory days to being the head coach of a high school football team, I was constantly around an active sporting event. Phil likes to joke that it’s a wonder I’m not more athletic. But this love of sports which oozes from my father allowed me to learn the way the games are played. I mean I truly know the basics of the game – something that can be somewhat unique for a woman.
Second is my openness and acceptance of others. It’s best characterized through one of my dad’s the little nuggets of wisdom I referred to before. Though his approach may have been a little mature for a pre-teen, the root of the lesson has stuck with me for years (please excuse my French here): don’t assume, it makes an ‘ass’ of ‘u’ and ‘me’. The meaning of this phrase is how I try to treat everyone I meet and know, from a co-worker of two months to a friend of 20 years. Treating others with respect, love, and kindness is occasionally lost on people today, especially with the development of technology. Not judging a person by what they look like, their social media profiles and posts, or even their words is a mantra I try live out every day.
Now, I’m lucky enough to have another great father figure in my life, and while they may know the rules of very different sports (soccer vs all the other ones), they have both taught me and, in my stepfather’s case exemplified, what acceptance looks like. Being from Costa Rica, my stepfather is of Latin American decent. Yet, he has shown, and is a clear example, of how hard work really does pay off. He also has treated me and my sister as his own children from the moment my mom and he made it official. I get the best hugs, great advice, and can laugh with him just as hard as I do with my own dad.
Bottom line, my fathers have instilled in me a value of acceptance and non-judgemental love for others. It’s because of them that I can talk to anyone and truly can be empathetic. Oh yeah, and because of my dads, I can hold my own in a conversation about how Brad Stevens is the coach that will make the Boston Celtics the new dynasty of New England, why the New England Patriots are statistically a better team than the Pittsburgh Steelers when looking at it data over the last five years, or why Tom Brady is acting like a diva during training camp. Wanna try me?
Thank you to our fathers for always being there to support us in everything we do. Thank you for being our teachers and examples of how to treat others. We love you!