I’m having a contest with a dear friend of mine to see who can read the most books across a diverse genre including: WWII history, the pandemic, biographies, politics, religion, thermodynamics, and physics. I came up with the last two, although I’m not quite sure why. When we finish a particularly interesting book, we will get together and discuss it. Our conversations sometimes turn toward our dads. His is 97, lives alone and still drives a car. Mine passed a few years ago at age 85. Both were instrumental in our lives. Perhaps a Father’s Day tribute is in order.

My dad had a quiet reassurance about him, and he was always there

I had a morning paper route as a young kid, which meant I was up and delivering papers before 6:00 AM Monday through Saturday.  At the top of the hill on Pine Avenue I delivered the last paper and headed for home.  There in the distance was the silhouette of my dad in the kitchen window cooking a hot breakfast of French toast or pancakes.  I knew I was almost home.  I knew I was safe.  Beyond anything else, my dad made me feel safe, and that’s one of the most important things a kid can feel.   

My dad had a knack for saying just the right thing at just the right time… 

I sat in the car staring out the window watching the kids who had arrived before me shoot baskets.  I was nervous.  My first basketball camp, my first time away from home and I was in the 7th grade.  My dad didn’t say much on the way to Jack Donohue’s Basketball Camp.  But I think he knew that I was nervous.  He glanced out the window and watched the kids shooting, too.  One of them missed a shot. 

“He missed,” my dad said.  For some strange reason, I wasn’t nervous anymore. 

My dad could put my mind at ease without saying a word… 

He had this reassuring wink that told me everything in the world was going to be OK, and searching the stands for his wink was a big part of my pre-game ritual during my high school basketball career. 

My dad taught me many invaluable life lessons –

  • “Under pressure, simplify”
  • “People have different priorities”
  • “Always look at things from different perspectives”

There is a humorous story that accompanies each of these life lessons.  Humor was perhaps my dad’s greatest gift. 

I think it was Groucho Marx who said, “The man I admire most was my mother.” Humor really is a special gift.  I learned many important life lessons from my mom, as well. The importance of having self-confidence, of competing with honor, and being honest, above all.

A Happy Father’s Day to all… To those who still have their father with them, give him a big hug if you can. Thank him for what he taught you and for the sacrifices he made for you. For those whose father has passed, cherish the memories. For those who might be distant or estranged from their dad, I pray for God’s grace and forgiveness.

I always wanted my dad to be proud of me and I hope he is. I hope I can pass on some of his life lessons to my children. Perhaps we can all pray for the strength to create positive life lessons with whomever crosses our path today. Might we also pray for the inspiration to be the dad or mom, or individual, God created us to be.

Michael Kayes, CFA

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