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Robert Galway

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FATHERS DAY TRIBUTE: What did your dad do that was most influential and formative in your life?

What did your dad do that was most influential and formative in your life?

Becoming a father is a role shift from the normal struggles of everyday life. A father sort of defines his role in the life of a child based on his experience, intuition, and observations. As much as you would like to think every move was planned, often they are often just guessing what they think will work based on their own lives and preconceived ideas about what a father should be.

So here is an opportunity to help new fathers and honoring fathers no longer present by sharing some of the things you thing your father dad that were influential and telling why they were influential.

For example, my father was an engineer and I am an engineer.
My father use to let all three sons pitch to him when he got home from work. All of us played baseball through high school. Although my father was not a Scout, he like the program and became a leader. I was an Eagle Scout and became both a Cub master and Scout master. My dad taught me to fish early and I fished all through my life as a child, taught my kids how to fish and have done the same for many nieces and nephews.

Caring, sharing, teaching, never giving up, planning ahead, and just being there are the low hanging fruit in figuring out the fatherhood question. But the little things that really made a difference are often subtle and have an impact that is not immediate.

So what worked? Did your dad do something special or different that made a difference in your life that you would be willing to share with other folks still figuring out the fatherhood role?

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    Jun 9 2013: My dad left. I don't even know what he looks like. This seems tragic but it taught me to never do that to any of my future children. His absence taught me something very important. Never be like him. Never be a coward. Never! He is nothing close to a great man but he (his absence) taught me a great lesson and that is the only thing, besides helping create me, that i would ever thank him for. Don't be sad for me. If he didn't leave, I would probably be a coward and nowhere close to the person I am today. :D
    • Jun 9 2013: Wow, Jah,
      I just want to applaud you for sharing this, and making the conscious choice to be what your father couldn't be.
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        Jun 9 2013: It wasn't that he couldn't Liz. He wouldn't and i won't make the same choice he did when the situation is mine. If you can lay down and do the deed, be ready to step up to the plate. It's that simple.
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        Jun 11 2013: No I haven't been Liz. I just been cooling off from all the nonsense that comes with giving my opinion. :D Back to normal now though!
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        Jun 11 2013: Ain't that the truth but I don't like this "normal" thing. Never have. I'd rather be an oddball. It's way more fun.
    • Jun 9 2013: Jah did you have a father figure in your life? (it isn't just about biology)
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        Jun 9 2013: None that stuck around long enough to play the role. Just my mom, grandmother, and aunt really. Men seem to be bad at manning up in my experience. I'm glad I had strong women to teach me how to be strong.
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      Jun 11 2013: I am not sad for you Jah, as I am not sad for myself. I relate to your story a little bit. Although my father didn't leave (that would have been a gift), he was violent and abusive. He taught me how NOT to "be". Luckily, we had an unconditionally loving mom for balance, and I liked her "lesson" a LOT better:>)
  • Gord G 50+

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    Jun 9 2013: My father lived life with passion.

    He was a uniquely flawed man with an uncommon zest for the magic of the moment. He never failed to engage people openly and authentically. He showed me the importance of embracing each person's unique nature.

    Since I've become a father, I've learned what it means to struggle as a man in a chaotic world, while still allowing my children the freedom to discover their place in it. It has deepened my respect for him as a man.
  • Jun 9 2013: Oh this is nice. My Dad was the greatest person I ever meet. Even if he wasn't my Dad I would have enjoyed his company. I think the most special thing he did for me was being understanding, gentle and a great conservationist. He use to tell me that "You are a long time old and a short time young" taught me to be adventurous and he would tell me that imagination is more important than knowledge. Whenever I cried, he would sit down and cry right along with me (even if it was over a boy). He would write me letters once a week, with newspaper clippings of things I might find interesting, even though I lived one hour away and was home on the weekend.

    As the youngest of 10 children, one of the most wonderful things my Dad somehow managed to do, was to parent us according to our individual needs. Every one of us had an unique relationship with him. He made time for all of us.
  • Jun 8 2013: What a wonderful way to honor our dads, Robert!

    My Dad influenced me in ways I never understood till later in life. His influence on me as a kid was, in retrospect, very powerful. He was a university professor of industrial design, and even though he was an incredibly busy man who had to deal with a lot of stress and school politics, he was, and still is, devoted to us. Our house was always filled with music, technology and design.
    He is also a big kid. He collects and builds and never seems to run out of ideas. He creates, he gives without any ulterior motives, he has trouble saying 'no' to anything.
    Right now, he is in Vienna, preparing to give a speech at the opening of an exhibit dedicated to his work on a series of books called 'Nomadic Furniture'. These books represented his passion for using what we've got, finding creative ways to build furniture out of, essentially, trash. I have adopted this mentality together with my husband, the father of our children. I see the cycle continuing through to them, who are influenced by their father, and are learning to use what they have too.

    http://www.mak.at/en/program/event/nomadic_furniture_30?reserve-mode=active
    • Jun 9 2013: Yes! In reading about your father, and remembering some of your other posts, an observer can see some of his creativity, understanding and love has successfully made it to the next generation. Well done Lizanne's father, well done!

      My dad always seemed to create new and different toys from junk. When boxes from appliances or big packages came in, he would turn them into a fort with a knife, magic marker, and some tape. Sometimes he would get wrapping paper tubes or paper towel tubes and cut a hole in the side of the box just big enough for the tube to fit through. We would them set up toys outside the box and roll a small ball out to see if we could hit them. This lasted for hours. I also always worked with him on home repairs. Trips to the hardware store became learning adventures and almost always resulted in me getting a soda and a small peppermint Patti (the two cent type!, now a quarter).

      By the way dads, when kids are in the 2-6 year old range, you can get them out of the house on a rainy day by changing from the typical male shopping pattern of straight in-straight out of a store, to a treasure reconnaissance mission led by the kids. This can last about an hour in some of the massive hardware stores. Going in for a hammer and starting at the opposite end of the store and letting little eyes scan the rows with you, asking questions, making decisions about where to turn next, and eventually finding the hammer you wanted in the end. The awareness of the inventory leads to many creative uses for home building materials in school projects. Ask them simple questions, make them think, but have lots of fun!
      • Jun 9 2013: Robert, what a fabulous idea!!!
        Our kids are exactly in that range, and love to accompany their papa to the 'man store' (their own term for the hardware store!! When they get older, we'll debate that.) But this suggestion of yours is a real keeper.

        Nothing is more bonding than working together on a project, through thick and thin. My husband worked with his Dad, tinkering in the engine of the boat they lived on when he was a teenager. I see him working on projects with our children, the joy in his face in seeing them accomplish a task, and the joy in their faces in learning something new, and helping Papa is a truly magical thing.
  • Jun 11 2013: my father died when I was 5, I remember trying force myself to cry at the funeral so others didn't think I was strange. Everytime I see or hear someone talk about their fathers it makes me think about mine. When I say think, i mean guess cause I dont know what he was like as a person, although i read on the newspaper that he was most likely murdered cos he publicly slapped a singer who were associated with a infamous triad leader. I spent all my life conjuring up a perfect fatherly figure, since people try not to speak ill of the dead, all I heard about him though very little were all positives. I think what I'm secretly trying to do is perhaps to make everyone feel sorry for me as I feel like you have all unconsciously forced me to think about the absence of my dad. or perhaps I have become so comfortable in the role of an innocent victim it has become difficult to think of myself as anyone else. but every so often I think perhaps he died so I would become interested in human thoughts or become the person that i am. I am imperfect and theres lots of things i dont like about the world and mostly about myself, and sometimes i even wonder what is the meaning of my life and why should I go on struggling. i dont understand why people think struggle is good but I think maybe one day I will figure it out. i guess what im trying to say to all is that maybe you should stop trying so hard to influence your kids or the people around you, because the moment they learn who you are cause even without knowing you or what you sound like you would have already had an influence on them. i can see from myself and others around me that we constantly try to affect others without realising how we have been affected. perhaps if we try harder to focus on ourselves in the sense that we learn about ourselves and lead by example others will autonomously do the same.
    • Jun 11 2013: Jennifer,

      Thank you for sharing. Not having a father since the age of 5 is a sad concept for those that have had a father make a significant impact in their lives. You were an innocent victim of a tragedy. How a 5 year old handles death, not fully understanding life, with anything other than numbness and fear is beyond me. It sounds like your grieving took place as you grew up. However, if you are now an adult, it is time to proactively make changes in your life to enable yourself to be happy.

      I believe a father might tell you now that life is filled with hardship, work, and problems. However, it is also filled with beauty, wonder, and love. If you focus on only the struggle, then you may not notice some of the positives. Try and notice some of these things because they tend to lift your spirit. You can also replace some of the loneliness by positively helping others. Perhaps since you have lived through this struggle, you can connect with some others who are still working their way through it with your honesty. If you help them, and get a smile in return, perhaps the reason the struggle is worthwhile will become evident to you.

      Leading by example is one of the roles of a father. Trying to help a child face life's challenges and work their way through them as a mentor is another role. You are quite right in that fathers do need to take care of themselves and continue to try and be the best person they can be, otherwise what they say will appear hypocritical. Similarly, it is possible to over influence and actually control your children, which prevents them from growing and learning how to handle life's problems on their own. It is a balance. Try and positvely influence such that they eventually do not need you.

      Perhaps you can celebrate Father's day by visiting someplace beautiful and realizing your father would be happy to see you enjoy life. If your struggles are adult, there are professionals that can help you cope with things and deal with demons.
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    Jun 9 2013: He loves me and will always be there for me.

    He never ever said those words to me but I always knew it.

    Thats what he did and lived.
  • W T 100+

    • +1
    Jun 15 2013: Different lessons throughout my life....I am still learning....it is hard to put into words.

    But here is a video that I found, that kind of says alot of what I feel:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xT6S-YCagzQ#!
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    Jun 10 2013: My father taught me through examples thru out his life , the value of living life with VALUEs. Not sure how much I am following his footstep but when I see people standing for human VALUES I admire them and get biased to them .
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    Jun 10 2013: He taught me how not to behave as a man by example. My grandmother and my Uncles and the United States Army, taught me the proper way to behave as a man.

    I know this may sound a bit heartless, but in real life, some of us are not blessed with a good father. We have to find examples outside our inner, family circle. This is why it is essential that all Football players (especially their couches) follow a code of conduct that inspires young boys to be as much of a decent man as they can be. Of course this can be applied to any male focused organization.

    Personally, I believe that every young man should join the Military service, where they are fashioned into men by a highly refined process. The military is the leveling ground where a young man or woman can discover how he/she fits in with others and what their strengths are built upon and how those strengths can be employed in our society. In other words, I'm for mandatory Military service, without exception.

    Education is a good thing but it does not supply all the mental nutrients necessary to create a good, solid Citizen of the United States of America. It only prepares you to become a man or woman. The Military can finish the job by putting a young adult into a finely finished package that will endure throughout their life.


    Too all currently serving and former veterans of the United States, I say: "Happy Father's Day".
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    Jun 9 2013: my Dad loves music and language and it came through all the things he did - radio (back when stations played songs), sang to us at bed-time, held a wealth of pop-music knowledge and constantly played with words in the style of cockney slang.

    pretty much as a result of that, i write and perform songs in my band, theSlacks.
    • Jun 9 2013: My dad liked music too. When we were very young, he took care of getting us ready for bed. He would sing to us songs from the 30's, 40's and 50's. I think he also had every Bing Crosby record and a record that had the songs form every musical. That was 50 years ago and I think I could still sing many of the songs if pressed to do so. Thanks for sharing!
    • Jun 9 2013: Oh man, my Dad inspired my love for music singlehandedly by giving me a Fisher Price tape recorder for Christmas one year, and a blank tape. My OWN blank tape.
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    Jun 8 2013: My father was the model of unconditional love for his children and of commitment to what he thought was best for the family.
  • Jun 20 2013: My father taught me nothing.

    What I understood from him is there are people on this planet that have no redeeming qualities, and that should not have children. I understand that there are people who though their own inadequacy cant or wont accept responsibility for their own actions. And that leads them into a spiral of pure and total destruction that even allows them to justify to themselves the most abhorrent and vile behavior including regularly assaulting their own defenseless child, the very ones they are supposed to love, only to vent upon them their inadequacies, failures and frustrations.

    So I'm very happy to say - my father taught me nothing - and that proudly makes me a self-made man.
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    Jun 12 2013: He never hit me.
  • Jun 11 2013: He played guitar and sang frequently
  • Jun 10 2013: Good stuff. What did he do to help you become who you are today?
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      Jun 10 2013: Okay, there are many things that my father taught me that (I think) has had a positive effect on me.

      He taught me at a very early age the basics of surviving in nature without anything but your mind.
      He taught me not to run with knives and to always carve wood away from your body. (He bought me my first hunting knife for my 6th birthday)
      He taught me to have respect for others, waiting for my turn to speak. If I came running yelling "Pappa, Pappa" and he was having a conversation with someone else he would say to me "Jimmy, what did we say about waiting your turn to speak?" and I would stand there listening to the conversation until they were done.
      He taught me how to climb trees (which made me the master in school), always using what he called the three-point system, always keeping three limbs secure while moving the fourth. I never fell.
      He taught me that "police are just men in uniform", they are no better, in fact they are often worse. So i grew up with skepticism towards authority (which later made me question his.)
      He taught me many good moral values like equality and the importance of freedom (although I later realized that he himself did not live as he preached.
      He taught me of death at the age of 5 and he explained that both him and my mother would die and that I would no longer be able to see them. I still remember feeling very sad sitting on our lawn.
      He taught me about all the different big religions, his viewpoints but also the importance of making up my own mind.
      He taught me about narcotics (at an early age of 5-6, he had no concern for my age in that way, which I think is good). He told me how he used to be a junkie before his best friend died in an overdose and really made the thing about not using heavy drugs stick with me but also to understand the perspective that addicts had.

      So he taught many good things, and as I said many equally bad. But I've learned from those too.
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    Jun 10 2013: There are many sides to my father, and some were equally bad as they were good. Is this a conversation on the good or bad stuff?