The phrase “role model’ gets used very loosely in our society today. I hear young people list their role models as being famous celebrities, such as LeBron James, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga or even our president, Barack Obama. When I was in my teenage years to early 20’s, I used to really look up to Michael Jordan because he really inspired me, not only with his great talent, but his overwhelming desire to work hard and win. However, looking back at my life, I would have to say my biggest role model was my late father.
My dad was gifted in many areas. He could succeed in nearly everything that he would put his mind to. As a young boy, I used to attend his softball games and marvel at his natural athletic ability. He succeeded in many sports and his influence certainly got me involved in sports at a very early age. I always wanted to impress my dad when he attended my little league baseball games or when he took me golfing. We would often play one on one in our driveway and my dad would always win. I dreamed of the day when I could beat my dad and become as good as him. That really motivated me to become better at sports in my youth. I wanted to become as good as him.
He was also a very bright and smart individual. He decided to finish up his college degree sometime in his early 40’s and received academic honors from the university. Seeing him succeed in college made me try that much harder in my school work as well. I wanted my name in the paper for making the dean’s list just like my father. He also had a great ability in home improvement projects. I swear he could have been an engineer if he really wanted to. If there was a fix-up problem around the house, dad was there to fix it.
These things really pale in comparison to what my dad was like as a human being and person. In all the years that he was married to my mom. I never heard him yell at my mom once or put her down with some negative comment. They had a beautiful marriage and liked to do many simple things, like go camping or go on trips together. Their big date during the week was going out to breakfast at the local cafe on Saturday morning. The way he treated my mom is something I will never forget and will certainly be fresh in my mind if by some miracle, I ever got married. He set a great example to me on how to treat a woman.
Outside of the family, my father was always willing to do little things to help people out. He would always take time to help others in need. Shortly before his sudden death, he helped a neighbor clear her driveway of snow; a wonderful act of random kindness. He volunteered at our church and was a very active member and leader. My dad was by no means a loud and talkative person. He actions spoke for his lack of words. Believe me, those random acts of kindness are not forgotten in my mind. Seeing my dad help out others in need certainly has motivated me to do the same in my life. After all, I want to be just like dad!!
My dad passed away suddenly one night, however, his legacy is something that still sticks with me today. I will never forget the examples he set for my sisters and I by the way he lived his life. I cannot think of a better person to have as a role model than my dad. We all miss you!