I’ve been brewing over starting a series I want to refer to as Kind & Generous. This is where I would write about the folks who I have great admiration for, their generosity with themselves, and the kindness and selflessness they’ve extended to so many. These special folks have made a distinct impression on me, and I want to share how their kindness and generosity can be inspiring to so many, whether it’s on the global stage, the local stage or just the stage to my heart.
I can think of no better way to begin this series than with my dad. This man is my first hero, and continues to be a hero to me today. I’m convinced it’s been his mission to inspire and love our family, both as a whole and individually. And I would submit that he’s been extraordinarily successful in that mission. So I begin with a letter to my dad.
You have been extraordinarily generous and even selfless when it comes to our family (mom, sister and brother), including financially, as an encourager, always challenging us to be our best… I could go on and on.
Regardless of what was going on with you and your job, you’ve always taken time to teach and encourage me in making sure I migrated from training wheels to two wheels on my first bike, with homework, which from time to time I’m confident required quite a bit of patience, teaching me to drive (also a test of patience!), and even writing me at least once a week when I went off to college. That meant so much!
Your generosity and selflessness blows my mind – and one memory stands out so clearly to me which shows this. You always made to choice to run beside me and be an encouragement when I needed it, challenging or encouraging me to make sure I didn’t allow myself to become overwhelmed, whatever the situation…even today. Remember when I was running track in the 7th grade – the big community track meet? It was such a hot day – full summer in the ATL, temperature in the 90s. I lined up and we were off! As we went through the 4 laps which made up the mile race, you were calling out encouraging words to me, and I was doing okay – not last, but most definitely not first. On the last lap, about half way through, I started to fade – and in my mind was wondering if I could make it. All of a sudden I could hear someone really cheering me on – YOU of course – saying, “you can do this – we can do this!” From the other side of the fence, you ran next to me – and when “we” crossed the finish line, you greeted me, gave me a big hug, told me how proud you were.
Dad – that’s how I’ve lived my life – you cheering me on, greeting me with a hug, believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. And not only that – your sense of humor, which anyone who knows you finds so special and unique to you, has helped me, and us, get through some really tough times. As Natalie Merchant puts it in her song “Kind & Generous” – I want to thank you – I love you, I feel so blessed and lucky to have you!
So let’s close in song….don’t worry, I’m not the singer, as we both know I can’t sing. But I just can’t resist ending in song.