“You’re a good papa.”
The 7-year-old son in the movie PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS whispered this to his father, Chris Gardner, as he tucked him into bed at the homeless shelter they frequented while Chris, played by Will Smith, struggled to build a better life for them. His father's story became the foundation for his own.
Our stories live in our bones. In our cells. In our hearts. In our minds. In our guts. In our memories. In our mothers. In our fathers.
This Father's Day week, as I was picking out a card for my dad, one that will honor him and what he means to me, it got me thinking about how entrenched he is in my own story, and about how our actions, decisions, attitudes, beliefs and our very lives, are a culmination of all of our stories as well the tales of our greatest influencers, including the good, bad and ugly.
I love this scene in the movie - found on YouTube - where the dad teaches the lesson: “You got a dream; you gotta protect it.” This movie recently came up in conversation and it got me thinking about fathers and how the most relatable father figures possess some of the most important qualities in good leaders and, for that matter, good people. I know my Dad does.
A good father figure:
- Provides a stable and sound environment
- Is a supportive teacher
- Sets guidelines
- Lives by example
- Respects other's opinions
- Is trustworthy
- Is a good listener
- Uses steadfast judgment
One of my favorite father figures from literature is Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. He was a strong, compassionate man who never passed up an opportunity to teach his children valuable life lessons. To his daughter Scout he said: “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” I love that. Trust your conscience, young Scout.
We all innately have father and mother energy inside of us. And, it’s the use and balance of those mother and father attributes that make for effective living, in every area of our lives.
Remember it, teach it, and live it.
Happy Father’s Day!