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21 Jun, 2020   |   

Lessons We Learn From Our Fathers

In Celebration of Father’s Day, we reflect on what lessons we have learned from our fathers

Father’s Day in the United States is celebrated every year on the third Sunday in June. This year, Father’s Day is celebrated on June 21, 2020. This is also consistent with the U.K. and Canada. However, many other countries around the world celebrate their fathers in various months throughout the year.

In honor of Father’s Day here in the U.S., a few Up with People staff members wanted to share some lessons that they have learned from the father-figures in their lives, whether they are a biological father, a host family father, a grandfather, uncle or guardian. Regardless of how you view them, we can always learn a lesson or two from them.

Celebrating father's day
Lauren and her family with their father

Lauren, Marketing Coordinator

“When my mom and dad first became a couple in the 60s, my dad was a part of many protests that were happening at the time in Washington D.C.. He drove buses back and forth between the camp and protest sites. After returning home, my mother was shocked at the person she was looking at. He was dirty, smelled terrible, had tattered clothes and as my ma says, ‘wore fairy boots.’ Coming from a strict Sicilian and full-fledged Catholic family, this was not going to go over well with my grandparents. My father knew that he had to become the man she needed him to be. He cleaned up his act, and his clothes, and went back to college to eventually become the Director of Operations for BAE, a company he worked at for over 40 years.

My father has taught me that it’s important to go after exactly what it is that you want. He wanted to fight for peace and civil justice, so he made it happen. He wanted to earn the privilege of being my mother’s husband, so he did what he had to do for the woman he loved most. At the end of the day if you want something bad enough, you will figure out how. You always will.”

Laura, Database Manager

“Measure twice – cut once.”

Eric, Senior Vice President and Artistic Director

“My father has turned down several job assignments which would have sent him on the fast-track towards a promotion during his 30-year career in the Air Force. Yet, he still managed to become one of the youngest Brigadier Generals in the Air Force. He did this because he believes that family is more important than a career, which is a fundamental component to my own family dynamic today.

My dad always says, “Character is doing what’s right when nobody’s looking.” He also says, “Don’t fart in a crowded elevator,” or at least I think that’s him. Maybe that was me teaching my boys a lesson last night.”

Celebrating father's day
Amy with her Father

Amy, Community Relations & Event Specialist

“My father was an athlete, pilot, coach, and teacher.  He came from a modest background and had to work hard every day to achieve success.  He was positive and encouraging to his three children, and believed we could do anything we set our mind to.  He always said, “You can do it,” while teaching us how to throw a ball, come to a stop on ice skates, paint with the grain, learn to drive a car, or solve a difficult math problem.  He was gentle and patient and kind as he helped us navigate life’s obstacles.

One March day, he was jogging with his track team, mentoring and coaching young men, as he did every spring season.  They were headed toward the goal post on the field. He encouraged his team by saying, ‘You can do it!’ Those were the last words he ever uttered.

His big and loving heart suddenly stopped and he died before he hit the ground.  I hope those people continue to this day, as I have, to strive for success and believe in themselves, with that sage advice ringing in their ears.  They are simple, but powerful words. Thanks, Dad.”

Alyssa, Admissions Advisor

“In any given situation, see the hourglass half full, rather than half empty.”

Ken, Vice President for Cast Programs

“I learned from my dad to say what is on your mind or what needs to be said, but choose words that make sense. Ask the person if there is an understanding and be patient if there isn’t. You can always try again.

I also learned from  him to keep what you might use again, but be sure you can find it when you need it.”

In honor of Father’s Day in the United States, what lessons have you learned from your father or father figure in your life?

Celebrating father's day
Megan with her father

Megan, Annual Giving and Stewardship Programs Manager

“My dad continuously reminds me that I can only worry about the things that I can control. I can’t worry about other people’s thoughts, words, opinions or actions. I am only in control of me. Sometimes, his words resonate so well and other times, they completely frustrate me to no end! However, he continues to amaze me with his never-ending knowledge and wisdom so I usually listen in the end.”


You’re my son
And my life is blessed because of you
You’re all that a father could hope for
One day you’re gonna see
You have no greater fan than me
And I wanted you to know how I feel
‘cause I couldn’t be prouder to say: “You’re my son”

You’re My Son © Up with People

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