My father has always been a big part of my life. When I was a teenager he took a job as a teacher at a college around two hours away from our home in Jackson, Michigan. Since we wanted to finish high school in Jackson he sacrificed and lived away from us for a time. I didn’t realize how difficult that must have been until I experienced the same thing coaching the Colts while my family remained in Tampa. However, even though he was living far from us he was still engaged in our lives and unified with my mom. He would always talk to us on the phone and spend many hours in the car driving to our events to remain connected. I always felt loved and that he was there for me.
Those are some of the things I think about when I remember my father. He was self sacrificing and always present. When people ask me, “How do you want to be remembered as a father?” I think it would come down to the following things.
Someone who was there for his kids.
Just like my dad was there for me I want to be remembered as being there for my kids. I won’t always be able to be physically present, but I want them to know that their dad is always available for them, particularly in their times of need.
Cared for his kids.
Fatherhood is a tough job because you have to put the needs of others before your own. Kids have a lot of needs. Growing up is a tough job and something that makes it a lot easier is a loving parent. I want my kids to know how much I loved them and care for them.
Did everything to help them out.
One of the most important ways a parent can help their kids is by preparing them for the future. I want to not only help them see how the decisions they make impact their future, but also have a vision for the type of person they want to be and what it will take to get there. Ultimately, I want to help my kids be the best they can be.