Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tribute To A Passionate Father


Tribute to A Passionate Father

When I was a young boy my father would call me “sweet” and kiss me just as he would later do with my two sisters and brother born after. He has been a hugger within and outside the family. He wept when we lowered our old collie dog “Rex” into a hand-dug grave in the backyard, the first death in the family. He was visibly moved by tearjerkers on TV.
It was only later that I learned how remarkable these simple facts of my family’s early life were in contrast to the way many other boys grew up and were “handled” or not handled at all.
Even more remarkable when taking into account that my father’s father had abandoned him to a life with a hard working single mother, and a sister vying for attention from that same single parent.
Not a large kid like me (I was already 6’2” by age 14), he became a scrappy street kid on the Depression-era streets of Los Angeles. At 18 he sent away for iron weights and became a body-builder for life winning the title of “Best Back” in the city of Los Angeles in l947.
And he has continued to be very goal driven in building his own commercial rental business after a career in public school and college teaching and administration where he helped thousands of students achieve their potential. Recently he completed yet another college degree resulting from decades of taking Spanish, German and French classes. He says it keeps his brain active.
Still, all my dad's outward musculature and success could not fully protect or subdue the sensitivity of the heart.
In my dad’s era there was not much room for a man to fully own and express his feelings. As a matter of fact it could be quite dangerous to do so in a demanding and often dehumanizing male performance society. And that’s still a fact in many a boy and man’s life today.
But because of my dad’s obvious failure to conceal his pathos and compassion at home, I became the lucky recipient of a bigger picture of what it meant to be male, to be fully human. Today more than ever, I treasure that and the riches it has contributed to my life and life work with women and men. I am blessed with many close men friends from different walks of life. Part of my life’s work is helping us see and realize our full humanity as men, expressing a full range of feelings as we share experiences. And it’s about supporting myself and other men to discover that genuine success is defined by our own internal measuring stick based on our true passions and interests. My dad did the best he could to raise me to follow my dreams despite any of his owned fixed ideas about success and accomplishment. 

A few years ago I was also blessed with the discovery of The Passion Test, a simple and powerful process for getting clear about what’s really most important to each of us and living that fully. Not only does it confirm that when I do what I love everyone wins, it confirms what my dad has known all along, when you live your passions you are unstoppable.
Now in his 87th year of manhood, I want to pay tribute to a man living passionately and ahead of his time. As far as I was concerned, right on time. This one’s for you Dad.

I also want to direct my readers to the work of Tony Porter who gave a TED talk on The Man Box. Tony is an African American man and father who speaks directly to the way in which he related to his son until one day…he woke up. Check this link: http://journeytomanhood.blogspot.com/2011/03/man-box-and-boy-code.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheJourneyToManhood+%28The+Journey+To+Manhood%29

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the description Randy. I was blessed with a similar father, although he preferred Jim Beam to body building most of my growing up years. But he was a role model in that he stopped drinking and smoking "cold turkey" in the early 70s, just as I was getting hooked on those two crutches -- so that helped me to quit as well.

    But most important, he used to say after any bout of tears "I think I'd cry if I saw a bad weather forecast" --he never worried about being "manly" and that has been huge for me!

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  2. Nicely said... very well done... your father also might have passed along the notion that self-disclosure is good for the soul.

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  3. Your father, Randy, is a wonderful man and an inspiration to many of the men who know him. I have been blessed to know your entire family.

    I remember growing up as a young man and my two older brothers and father joking and making fun when ever we tried or thought about kissing or hugging each other. Kissing our mother was fine, but try to do that with each other and we would laugh it off as a joke. After my 30s, I brought home physical expressions of love and affection that I learned with my male friends. I started with my father and he literally embarrassed it and returned it. It spread to my brothers and soon we all were able to show our love of each other with a hug or even a kiss. Up until the day my father and then my older brother died, we were able to express our love for each other verbally as well as physically with hugs and kisses.

    I was able to send my father and brother off to the other world knowing that they knew how much I loved them as well as that they loved me. That made the pastings much easier to handle.

    Thanks Randy for enabling these discussions.

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