Sunday, June 7, 2009

Just-in-time-for-Fathers-Day Contest

Thanks again to everyone who entered my most recent contest, which ended today. Below are a handful of my favorite entries. I wish I could post all of the stories that were sent to me, but there were just too many. PLEASE don't feel bad if you don't see yours here...they were all great!!

I grew up with a father who was an Air Force veteran, a grandfather who was a Marine, and a grandfather who was a soldier. Discipline was part of my life at an early age. My father always stressed hard work and discipline, not through words, but rather through work ethic. I watched growing up as my father worked 12 hour days, seven days a week, yet still found time to play catch with his son. He put up lights so we could shoot baskets, or even a simple game of cards...just to spend time with me. It took til years later to realize, that not only did he make time for me, but still managed to work on the house, keep the yard nice, and do the housework and laundry while my mother was at work. What I ultimately learned, was that being a good father and husband wasn't about the "work", but rather the self sacrifice of sleep to keep a contented wife, and the realization that children are only young once. Every event that he missed, he knew he could never get back, so to him...there was no sacrifice. Only Love for his family. I could never repay my father for the lessons of life by example, and I only hope that my respect for others and hard work will pay off as well for me as it did for him. May God bless my parents for the job they have done. Thank you Mr. Milne for the wonderful books. -- Troy P Zehnder


The one most important thing I learned from my father is how to truly love a person. Right now my father has to take care of my mother physical and emotionally. My father has lung cancer and has just finished chemo. Now this sounds to horrible to be true. My mother is physically unable to take care of herself and is in a nursing home. She has tried to come home several times but my father is too weak to take care of her demanding needs.
My father has always loved my mother and his five children. He worked a lot when we were kids but he always found a way to take care of each and every one of us. He always did it with a smile and never a complaint. He was never quick to judge but he always was there when we fell or failed. He wants only the best for us.
I became an unwed mother right out of college. I felt that I had disrespected my father and let my family down. But my father taught me to have respect in myself and a plan to pursue my dreams. My son is now 19 and I never let go of anything my father taught me. I expected him to be totally upset with me when I told him the bad news. Mom was the histerical one, dad took it all in stride.
He truly knows the meaning of the word (verb) to love someone. -- Karen Connor

One important thing I learned from my father was how to listen without giving advice all the time. My Dad was a good listener. He had time for all 5 of us kids. Growing up I thought I was the most special daughter of his. But one thing I always knew, was he loved me. He always had time for me. I could sit on the porch for hours talking to my father. He did not make my decisions for me. He knew how to offer advice while letting me make my own decisions. He supported me when I moved out on my own. He suggested it because he said as long as I lived at home, I'd never get married. I would spend all my time taking care of him. I was out 3 months and married and going on 30 years so he knew what he was talking about. I miss him so much now as I face a procedure and wish I could just sit and discuss it with him. He went through enough in his lifetime, he could tell me what to expect. -- Jane Squires

I grew up with a "unique collection" of dad's. I look back on my childhood with some fond memories of what it takes to be a dad and how each person plays an important part of our lives.
My original dad was there in my youth and loved to hunt and fish. I believe I learned patience by our times fishing. I think my chatter was not a part of his ideal fishing scenario, but he listened to me just the same. I don't remember catching fish, but liked being a part of dad's life.

My next dad was one who brought creativity and music into my life. We traveled and I was able to take accordian lessons for five years. ( I know you all are groaning as you read this, but I grew up watching Lawerence Welk every Saturday night) He was also a man who worked hard.

The third time seemed to be the charm for our family. My dad was a man who had never had children of his own and took on 15,13 and a 5 year old girls. I think the greatest gift he gave us was his integrity and when he said something he meant it. I look back and maybe did not always agree with his decision, but I knew he was always true to his word. He brought our family together in a way we thought impossible and we knew he loved our mother with all of his heart.

I look back on my life with the great things these men shared in my life with great fondness and affection, and grateful to each of them for their part in my life. It is good to look back on the way I thought about my family as different, and now see it through my adult eyes and cut them all some slack and allow them "mulligans". Just as I hope my children can do the same for me. -- Susan Ann Walters

My dad was born in the US but as a toddler he and his older brother were sent back to Japan to be raised in the old ways by his grandparents. He returned to the States as a teenager, not speaking any English. He graduated from a high school in California and got a job in a produce store. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, life as they knew it changed forever. My dad and his family's possessions were sold for a pittance of what they were worth and then they were interned in Arkansas. While there he was drafted into the army and worked in Military Intelligence even while his family were living behind barbed wired fences. My father passed away many years ago, but he was proud to be a Japaneses American and he taught us that if you work hard, you can achieve the American Dream. The American Dream was getting a college education, having a job, owning a home and raising a family. -- Diane Paetsch

My father was a plumber/pipe fitter and worked many hours to support our family. He is the father of nine children (three boys & six girls). You thought your family was large! We lived in the country in a small log cabin surrounded by redwoods with a creek as our backyard -- no joke. My mother stayed home to hold down the fort. To top it off, my mother did not drive.

One important thing I learned from my father growing up is giving back to the community and those in need. My father was constantly volunteering to help others (repairing fences and broken appliances, etc), while our dishwasher sat broken. It was not necessary to fix ours since we had many hands to accomplish that task!! We would accompany him on many of these adventures.

Occasionally on Thanksgiving, my dad would drive into town and pick up a lonesome soul and bring them back for dinner. My dad swears he brought Carlos Santana to our house in the 60's. Our home was often a refuge for homeless animals and a few stay individuals. Hey, what was one more mouth to feed anyway?

As a retiree, my father bakes homemade sourdough bread and delivers it to people. He even feeds the dough daily. He volunteers to cook at a local soup kitchen, the Elks Lodge and at various church functions. He never asks for payment for his services only money to cover the cost of the food. My dad's passion is fishing. He purchased a boat a number of years ago and goes fishing, crabbing, etc. whenever he can. He will often give part of his catch away to friends. He is very generous with his blessings.

My father taught his children to help others by showing us how to volunteer with a cheerful heart. He has been a constant example to his children of giving back. There is always someone less fortunate than yourself -- you just have to open your eyes and look!! -- Therese C. Wunderlich

My father taught me to be a giver. Not only would he remind us that it is more blessed to give than to receive he demonstrated it in his actions. I remember him always saying you can not outgive God. In a world of such selfishness I am thankful for this lesson my dad taught me. -- Scott & Beth Davey

Hi Kevin
I would like to share my story with you and your family. My Mom and Dad got a divorce when I was just starting my teenage years. Even though I was still in school, I had to get a job to help my Mother make ends meet. My older sister had already gotten married, but there was myself, two other sisters, and a brother. Because my Dad did not pay any child support. I have no good memories of my Dad at this time in my life.
I did not start dating until I was eighteen. When I started looking for husband I new that I did not want a man that was like my Dad was. I wanted a husband that was going to be a man that was loyal to his family. I wanted a man that would take time to be with his wife and children. A man that would help all of us in trying to make the rightt choices in life and be there to help guide when we mad the wrong ones.
I believe I found that person 34 years ago and I do thank my Dad for that. Because if I had not had the experince of going thru what I did when I was growing up I may not have made the right choice for the man I choose to marry. Exspecially thinking back now on all the guy that wanted to date me back then and knowing how their lives are now. I also want to Thank God for giving me the knowledge and insight to have chosen the man I am married to.
We have been married for 34 years (6-5-1975) and we are still loving and growing together with every day. I just wish that my Mother could have had the chance to grow old with some.
Thanks for this opportunity to tell my story or part of it anyway. -- Sheila Lytle

My Dad has taught me many things overtime in his 84yrs of wisdom and advice. Even thou his health is failing in recent months for his
mind is as sharp as a tack and still give me guidance everyday for let it be just a few sentences or showing me how to fix things around the
house of taking shortcuts to a long drawing situation. See, my Dad is a pratical person who believes in the bible, hard work, confidence, loyalty, caring toward his family and friends thru-out his life and learning all the traits that he offer has build me in the same mold and
very proud to call him, DAD. I know that the good Lord will be a calling for him that I will always cherish and behold all the memories that we shared together thru good times and bad that knowing he is always there in my heart. Love you Dad :)) your son, Gary

One important thing I learned from father.....hmmmm?? Let me see.....I have learned many things from my father in my 28 years on this wonderful earth but the most important thing I have learned is love. Through his unending love for my mother(and me!) I have learned what true love means. They have had their ups and downs sure but he is always there for her no matter what. He loves her unconditionally. He was in the military for 25 years and was gone more often than he was home but he loved her (and she loved him!) unconditionally through it all! I was married for awhile to a man who started out like my father but in the end chose a path that didn't involve me or his child with him. This broke my heart but if not for my father (and mother!) allowing me to move back home I don't think my kids and I would be here today. I now know that if I were to remarry again I would marry someone like my daddy and I would not settle for less and if I couldn't find unconditional love from a man (like my mom has from my dad!) then I will be content to live a life as single mom with the wonderful help of my father and mother. I know that this entry more than likely will not be a winner as it isn't something truly amazing but to me love is the most important thing you can learn from someone and IF this were to be a winning entry I would love to share you book with the most important teacher in my life: my father. So, Mr. Milne, I am entering this contest not expecting to win but to share with you my most important lesson from my father: LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL. -- Molly Edwards


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the opportunity to share my father with the world. While he always sat in the background and worked hard, he deserves the recognition. Thanks dad!