Saturday, June 20, 2009

Once a Son, Now a Father

Today's post is by my younger brother, my very first guest blogger. Enjoy.

Today is Father’s Day, and I am reflecting on both my father’s example to me and mine to my children. It is safe to say that my father is not perfect or bullet proof, as I thought when I was a child. However, he has taught me some valuable lessons and created some fond family memories. I look back on my childhood and greatly appreciate all of the family outings that he took us on. He instilled a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature. He was always fascinated with learning, be that his or mine. He still has a thirst for knowledge and an appreciation of the wonder of God’s creation.

I remember a moment of pride when I was eight or nine years old. Dad was building a house in Sun River, Oregon. During the summer he took me to work with him, but at this time I was still relegated to picking up dropped nails and scrap lumber, sweeping floors, and fetching tools. Dad had gone to retrieve his circular saw from the truck, and left me alone sweeping the second story floor. I had no way to dispose of the sawdust and debris once it had been collected into a pile. I found a sack of some sort lying off to one side, and a scrap of aluminum flashing hidden under a pile of sawdust. I decided to use the flashing to pick up the debris. This was not a satisfactory arrangement, so I took the tin snips out of Dad’s tool belt which he had left behind. After cutting triangular notches in two corners, I folded the flashing into a dust pan. Dad came back upstairs when I was finishing off the pile of debris and the conversation went something like this.

“Where did you get that dust pan?”

“I made it.”

“Really? You made it?”

“Yes. I borrowed your tin snips and cut the corners of this piece of flashing that I found.”

“Wow. You would make a good engineer.”

That simple comment, stated with pride in his voice, has stuck with me my whole life. He doesn’t even remember saying it. Here it is about thirty years later, and I AM an engineer. You just never know what seemingly small comment or gesture will be profoundly influential on your children.

The day I left for Air Force basic training was another instance of Dad being proud of me. He choked up when he told me he was proud of me, wished me luck, and gave me a crisp, firm handshake before I boarded the bus. Note that he did not hug me. Men don’t hug, they shake hands. That day I ceased being a boy and became a man, an equal.

With all of my mistakes and short-comings as a father, I just hope that I can influence my children positively and profoundly. I want to provide them with enjoyable family memories by establishing our own traditions and going on our own family outings. I hope to instill a love of learning, common sense, and responsibility. All of these things I inherited from my father.

Thank you, and Happy Father’s Day, Dad!


The Texican said...

Had me buffaloed there for a minute, but I recovered and decided not just to scan, but to read all the introductory information. Bubba did a fine job. Pappy

Keanan Brand said...

Tex - Glad you read it. Neither I nor my brother gave our father cards this year; instead, he has a copy of this post. Better than a card any day.