Kites, shoe strings and stars: or the secret to why my Dad rocks

Kites, shoe strings and stars: or the secret to why my Dad rocks

When I was about four years old, my dad took me out one afternoon to a nearby park. We flew kites that day. The sky was blue and the wind speed just right. My parents both worked a lot, in order to help make ends meet. So a day together was important. I said, ” I’ll remember this day forever.” Well, I have remembered it for nearly forty years, which I’m sure is much longer than “forever” was to a four year old.
My dad taught me how to ride a bike, and tie my shoes. He taught me my multiplication tables (or tried to in one marathon session the night before I started third grade and we realized I needed to already know them). He taught me to drive, which only now that I have my own teenage daughter to teach, do I understand what an accomplishment of patience this was. He showed me constellations and plants and birds and flowers. He explained inert gases and chaotic molecules. He demonstrated how to make chemical reactions, and safe, colorful fire. He taught me to be thrifty with my money, to work hard, to save. Dad encouraged me to be independent and have hobbies and skills and always seek to learn more. By example, he taught me how to be punny, and is largely responsible for my own dry sense of humor. He inspired me to be well balanced, and to never burn bridges (particularly with employers, ’cause you just never know when you might need them), to consider my choices, and to speak boldly when necessary.
Perhaps, most importantly, he taught me that I was important and worth his time. For all the material that he shared with me, the real lesson was that I mattered. I’m glad I learned long division and difference between a male, a female and a juvenile bird, but really what I learned was how to be a good parent and a good person. Because the best gift my dad gave me was being there. He taught me that the real trick is to simply be present, to feel the wind on our faces, the warmth of the sun on our backs and to take time to watch kites fly.


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