At some point in my early teen years, my dad gave me one of the greatest gifts I've received in my life. A gift that I have looked back on, referenced, and bragged about to countless people over the years. A gift that I have shared with other people who are parents that I know has been passed on to their kids. A gift that he entrusted me with and that has shaped so much of my life.
"Andy, there are things that I am better at than others. In the things you see me doing well, I'd love to teach you how I do them. But, there are going to be things you want to learn that I am not going to be the right person for you to learn from. And in those areas, let me help you find someone who does know and can share their experiences with you."
Looking back now, the humility to admit to your son that you don't know how to do everything but that you don't want that to hinder his growth or his curiosity is an incredible thing. Because of dad giving me the freedom to explore, I learned how to hammer a nail and build a fence from my neighbor. I learned how to go fishing from a friend's grandfather. I learned how to workout from my dad's bible study partner. I learned how to rebuild a carburetor from a guy whose lawn I used to mow. I learned how to spike a volleyball from someone on our softball team. I learned how to use photoshop from my best friend's dad.
But from my dad, I learned how to laugh and and learned it is okay to cry. I learned how to love winning and I learned how to lose with grace (even though it sure stinks.) I learned how to love your hometown team so much your hands hurt from clapping. I learned how to be the loudest person in the stands at a little league game. I learned how to be around a group of guys without having to beat my chest and I learned how to respect women. I learned how to be a friend and how to be a husband and how to one day be a father.
But most importantly, my dad taught me how to love.
I learned a lot from other people, and still do, because my dad gave me the eyes to see everyone I meet as someone I can learn from. But, my dad will always my first call if there is something I need help with. But that freedom to learn from anyone and everyone that he gave me is a gift that I can't ever thank him enough for.
So Dad, on a day where we are celebrating you, I want to thank you for your gift to me.
Happy Birthday Dad! I love you.