There is nothing more impactful on a family then a good man as the father figure. I am not taking anything away from women. I have a great mother and some really inspiring grand mothers as well. However, since today is father’s day – I want to give the man his due.
I am sitting in my Grand Father’s office, for which I have been working this last week. He past away several years ago, but if you sit here quietly and just look around you can still feel his influence. Is it the slow click of the clock down the hallway? Is it the smell of the wood paneling? Is it the various books on topics such as being a great toast master, fly fishing, literary classics, and how to tell a good joke?
I was talking with one of his son’s last night (my uncle) about some of his life experience. He was commenting on the lessons that he learned in being an electrician touring with a couple of rock bands in the 70s. How to manage people, how to convince people that no task was impossible if everyone worked together. He shared a funny story of how he handled an irate client on a loading dock of a theatre in which the show was about to start. Funny how his mannerisms and they way he told the story was almost exactly like my Grandfather would have said it. Completely different topics, but same delivery.
That got me to thinking of how my father influenced me, and how that influence happened. It is not like he sat me down one day and told me, “Guy, here is how you act, step 1….” However, over time and throughout my life I got examples, saw him interact with others, heard his commentary. I understand what was important and what was not important through the lens of his take on family and society. He got a lot of that from his father, nothing deliberate, nothing specific. Just a slow and steady influence that helps form who we are.
I was looking at a picture of the family taken two decades ago. My wife and I were there, no children yet. However, the entire family was there. The only person gone in that photo was my grandfather. As I went through each person in my mind, I realized just how powerful an influence one person can have on generations of people to follow. Is that on purpose? I do not know.
The funny thing is that my first real memories of my grandfather are when he was just about my age now. Probably he was sitting in this very office working on things that were important to him at the time. I was not around during all the development years. I was only around when he was finally gaining some benefits from his hard work in his 20s, 30s, and 40s. From age 50 on, he still had a lot of work todo, but he was able to spend a lot more time doing things with family and for family. I do not think he had many moments, where he thought about the family that he was building, however build a family was exactly what he was doing. So here I am in exactly the same position he was when I came on the scene in this family.
That gets me to thinking about building a family and having generational influence. My kids will not remember my grandfather much. They did get to meet him, but never really got to be influenced by him. They are going to get some influence by my father, but for the most part it is me that is going to be the primary influencer for my kids and their kids. I have spend the first half of a century trying to build a good living and life style for my family, but as I sit here thinking, I am wondering what the second half a a century should be focused on? Perhaps generational influence is not such a bad motivation!
If that truly was my motive, then how and what would I change? What would I focus on in the next 3 to 4 decades? Interesting and thought provoking question. Just like my grand father, very little in the first half of his life is known or remembered by his grand and great grandchildren. It is what he did and was about in the second half of his life that had the impact.