My father took on an important role when he married my mother. With my mother having two boys from a previous marriage, my dad became my brother’s real father. As a child, I didn’t know anything about half brothers, sisters, or even stepchildren. All I knew was that we had a loving family of five and parents who loved us unconditionally. This is the moment I came to believe that my father had a choice to be the man he is today to his family, and that we all have choices in our lives we have to make.
As I became older I realized that it’s easy for some men to walk out on their families. I’ve seen it happen to my neighbors, friends, and even my own brother-in-law. The important thing is that our father never did. Not only was he dealing with the stress of running his own construction crew, but he had to carry the burden when things became tough by doing it himself. After twelve hour days, he always found time to spend with us.
I remember in grade school I would wake up and my dad would be gone. I knew he was at work, but I wanted him home. I knew he would be home at six o’clock in the evening and we would study my spelling words. I was one of the best spellers in grade school. His taking the time to help me with spelling helped me as I became older. Even though he was a busy man, he made a choice to study with me with no interruptions.
My father taught us about how choices can have an effect of ongoing life. He would tell us why his family was so important to him. In 1980, he had lost his older brother Gary to Leukemia. He not only lost his brother he lost his best friend. They always had each other’s backs when things became tough, only to realize now that his brother wasn’t going to be there anymore. He tells us to stay as close as we can to family and try to talk or see them as much as we can because they’re not going to be around forever.
Who’s to say my father would be the same man he is today if his brother had not passed away. Nobody really knows what the other life brings, when there’s an end, but I know my father means well and works extremely hard for his family. “The day will come,” he told us, “when I’m not going to be here any longer, so I want you kids to be happy in the choices you make.” He told us we have choices in life, and it is up to us to make them. I know that I will try to make the best choices I can to live an honest and happy life. Thanks to my father I know what it means to have an honest and loving family.
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