A Letter Of Appreciation For My Dad – Life, Money & Other Lessons
With Father’s Day this Sunday, I’ve been reflecting on what my dad has meant to me. I’m so grateful to have had a great dad (and family) growing up. It’s helped set my life up for success.
And continues to be a major source of positivity.
Unfortunately, I now live 4,300 kilometres away from my parents and don’t get to see them as often as I’d like.
As the years zoom past, I know that window of time together is closing.
With that in mind, I thought I’d step outside the traditional blog post today. I’ve sent this letter of appreciation for my dad to him to open on Sunday but thought I’d publish to Making Momentum as well ahead of Father’s Day.
This is a slightly edited version of that letter of appreciation for my dad on the life, money and many other lessons I’ve benefited from him over the years.
Happy Father’s Day Dad!
Sorry I can’t be there for Father’s Day this year. However, I know you’ll get to enjoy a nice cedar plank BBQ salmon, roasted veggies and a few craft beer.
So cheers to you!
Over the years I didn’t always make it easy on you and some of those grey hairs were expedited by the stress I caused. On a positive note, George Clooney could only wish to pull off the salt and pepper look half as well as you once he hits your age.
Speaking of age, with age comes reflection and I can wholeheartedly say, thank you so much. Thank you for everything you’ve ever done for me and will continue to do for me. As I’ve gotten older I’ve had the chance to better process the “job” you did with me.
Below is just a small sample of the things you’ve shown and taught me, directly or indirectly.
You set life up for me and I owe much of the man I am to you. I know you don’t like admiration or appreciation but it’s well deserved so just take it.
Much love. Always thinking of you,
Master of Emotions
Stoic but thoughtful. Calm but engaged. Patient but stern. Passive but aware. You know how to manage your emotions in any situation.
It’s a trait I admire in you and wish I could do a better job mirroring.
No matter if it was the most relaxing meal on the waterfront or a hectic family issue when I was a troublesome teenager, you always had the proper emotional display.
When I crashed your car, you positioned it as a learning experience for me as opposed to tearing into me. You knew the proper balance of leniency versus authority.
Plus you had killer dad jokes. Corny but always delivered with great timing.
A Curiosity About The World
Your lifelong subscription to National Geographic was a seeding launch point in my curiosity about the world. Those yellow magazines would show up monthly and from as early as I can remember you made sure I got my hands on them.
When I was too young to understand the concepts, you’d show me the pictures and read the highlights of the article to me.
After I got a bit older, you’d leave them on my bedside table.
Those magazines lead to a thirst for more and spawned my chase of World War 2 history, wildlife documentaries, world leader’s literature and a desire to keep learning and see the world.
I’ve had my own Nat Geo subscription for 6 years. And have watched more documentaries than I could ever keep count of.
A Travel Bug
The combination of those National Geographic subscriptions, your stories travelling the world in the late 70’s and our family summer camping trips have forever planted a travel bug in my personal compass.
Those magazines, and subsequent deep dive into World War 2 and Roman/Greek history, even pushed me to take my own 3 month European backpacking adventure.
Those family camping trips every summer were such a highlight of our childhood. I know it was a press financially for you guys but you always made it a priority. I gained such an appreciation for the great outdoors of Western Canada (and the United States). I learned to swim, fish, mountain bike, build a fire, cook my own dinner, pitch a tent, enjoy the world free from tech and reaped so many other benefits.
I’ve since swam and fished in dozens of lakes all over Canada from that inspiration you sowed in me. Hiked to mountain peaks and had heart-stopping run ins with grizzly bears, black bears and handfuls of moose.
Since you and Mom have been retired, no longer financially burdened by any of your 3 kids (sorry), you’ve had the chance to once again rekindle your own travel bug. Strolling the cobblestones of Europe, swimming in the Mediterranean, stepping foot into the jungles of Central America and journeys around Canada.
I’ve visited 19 countries to date and know that number will double (hopefully triple) by the time my own travelling days come to a close.
I need to keep pace with you…
Side Hustler (Before I Knew What Side Hustling Was)
I hadn’t heard the term “side hustle” until a few years ago. If I’d have known it earlier in life, I’d definitely have dubbed you a side hustler.
You found new earning opportunities outside your 9-5 to supplement your income. Despite having the summers off, you filled those hours with work. You had evenings off, instead you tutored, refereed and coached sports.
You worked hard for your family to give us the best life possible. We didn’t have much extra money but I know those side hustle funds went towards our sports, family trips and giving us a little taste of the finer things.
…and then you kept hustling.
That helped lead to you and Mom getting mortgage free ahead of schedule and allowed you to take advantage of the empty nest after we were all gone.
That work ethic and side hustling mentality is now something I embrace head on.
Lived Within Your Means
You side hustled to make things better for the family. But more importantly you and Mom always lived within your means. Those means were tight some years but I definitely noticed the stresses of money become better managed as I got older.
When I was 13 or 14 and asked how our family friends had a boat or how they afforded that house, you bluntly told me they couldn’t and shouldn’t. But you also told me that you don’t judge them or cast any negativity towards them for that.
You explained the general concepts of lifestyle inflation and prioritizing the important things. Spend where you want to spend and for our family that didn’t include boats or the biggest house on the block.
You didn’t keep up with the Joneses so that you could give us life experiences, put a little money away for university and set yourselves up for success once the nest emptied.
I made my own money mistakes in the earlier years but now with a bit more experience can look back and respect the money decisions you made.
Enrolling Me In Youth Sports
You gave me the opportunity to test and learn every sport under the sun. You never forced anything on me and let me choose my own path. You even coached a handful of those teams along the way.
The net benefit I’ve gotten from being involved in youth sports from age 4 all the way through highschool extend well beyond the bounds of the physical gains or fun I experienced.
Friendships and lifelong memories. Moments of triumph and the feeling of crushing defeats. First-hand experience of learning the opportunities available from hardwork and commitment. The chase of a common objective. Sportsmanship and inclusiveness. Leadership and support.
Those lessons have paid countless dividends as I’ve matured through post-secondary and into my career. The personal and professional development from those sporting years are priceless.
You spent an inordinate amount of money and time to give me that opportunity.
Appreciation For Good Beer
Last but definitely not least is the taste for good beer you helped instill in me. We’ve cheersed craft beers together at dozens of brew pubs, inside and outside North America.
When you thought I was old enough to have a beer or two (…sorry I’d already been having 6 – 12 some weekends at that point), you ran me through a masterclass on beer.
Domestic vs. import. Pilsner vs. saison. IPA vs. amber. Stout vs. lager. Craft vs. watery crap.
I’m so thankful you introduced my taste buds to the good stuff.
It’s not the healthiest hobby but you only live once and I am so glad we can share that hobby together. It gives us a common interest and passion to build into the time we get to spend with one another.
Respected & Revered
At your retirement dinner it was so evident just how respected and revered you were by your friends, family and peers. Countless people shared such a positive outpouring for what you’d done over your career.
You impacted thousands of kids lives. You were a member of the community. The positivity you put into the world will be paid back tenfold as those impacted do the same.
Even today when I come back home and get the chance to have a beer with you and your old fart friends, it’s clear just how much they appreciate you.
I can only hope to accrue half that respect as progress through my life.
See You Soon
This is only a small sample of an endless list of appreciation I could share with you. It wasn’t always easy and there have been ups and downs. But one constant was you and the support you’ve given.
That 4,300 kilometre distance is a killer on being able to see you, Mom and the rest of the family as much as I’d like.
But I’ll be back soon and look forward to a bike ride, beer and some laughs in September.
Until then…just keep being you, it’s what you do best.
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