This I Believe

Leslie - Centennial, Colorado
Entered on November 14, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Ever since I can remember, I have had this everlasting memory of my father telling me how to do things right. Whether it is in a loud or soft tone, he would tell me how to do my chores properly, how to do a math problem, or how to say something correctly. “It’s May I not Can I,” he would say. This used to make me so frustrated with all the lectures because I thought I could do it right, when I really couldn’t.

My understanding of my father grew as I matured, and I realized that those lectures came from his stress from work. He’s a pilot, and he doesn’t usually get that much sleep. Then, when I was twelve years old, I learned more about my father and his youth. I put the connection together that he does not want us to make the same mistakes he did. I remember quite clearly his response when I asked him why he didn’t stop at that stop sign and he said, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

One Christmas, I was resting on his shoulder and I was listening to his conversation with my grandpa. He thought I was asleep. During that conversation I could hear the troubled sound to his voice while he said to my grandpa how he was angry about missing a third of his family’s life and how he wished he could change it, but couldn’t. It was that day that I fully took into account how noble and brave my dad is. He makes a sacrifice for us every day he goes to work. He’s off in different countries while his family is home growing up without him. From then on, I understood that my dad wanted to be part of our lives so badly, but chose to do his job, to give us the better life. When he came home he wanted to teach us his knowledge, so we could remember learning from him as well as my mom.

From growing up, I have had to have patience with my dad. With that patience came an understanding of life deeper than I could have learned at school. Love is what my dad works for. He loves his family; wife, sons, daughters, all. Love calls for patience and understanding. This, I believe.