[This was never meant to be a grief blog, but all I really want to write about these days is my dad. Thank you for bearing with me as I get things sorted.]
Over the past few days some of my young people used the word ‘motivator’ to describe the work I do with them. Prior to this week I’d never associated myself with the term. You could even say I attached a bit of a negative connotation to it. Blame it on Chris Farley.
But you know who really was a motivational speaker? My dad. He actually traveled around giving seminars, and the seminars were packed. I sat in on many of them casually as a kid, and one time I went through one of his courses as a registered student. Here I am now nursing a bit of guilt that I can’t name a single one of his Twelve Keys to Success. But what I do remember is the feeling he created in the room. My dad could really work a crowd. He’d bring people to tears, and then have them in stitches just moments after. When he delivered a particularly poignant lesson, you could hear a pin drop. The audience hung on his every word.
Over the last couple of years, as he became increasingly ill and I got more deeply involved in youth work, we would talk about his work and mine. Dad would share some of the material he used and I would humor him because, really, our styles are so very different. What I admired was the passion he brought to his work. He could give the same seminar a hundred times, but it always felt fresh because he always did his work in earnest. He truly cared about people and wanted only the very best for everyone. He spent so much of his life professionally and personally sharing the tools he himself used to reach his goals and maintain a good attitude even through tough times.
Thank you for setting such a wonderful example for me, Dad. I am so happy that people can see the very best parts of you in the very best parts of me.