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Leaning Into Fatherhood: An Open Letter to My Dad

An Open Letter to My FatherTo My Dad:

Here I sit more than 1,000 miles away from your driveway wishing I could run outside and catch a game of 21 with you before the sun goes down. A little later, I’ll sit on the couch and watch the clock tick when I’ll get the itch to switch the channel so we can watch a few segments of David Letterman together like we used to do each night before going to bed.

Sometimes as I sit out here in Indiana and wonder what the best decisions are for my family, I think back to the conversations we had about life. I distinctly remember one conversation we had on New Year’s Eve when I was 17 years old and you told me not to settle for any old college, but to shoot for something much more—not just whatever was easiest or the most convenient.

I’ve also taken to heart that crazy lesson you gave me about bloated cows and the importance of responsibility. How many sons can say their dad explained to them how to cut open a bloated cow to save it from death as a lesson on responsibility? Not many.

I watched as you disappeared each morning only to return late at night for six months out of each year. That practiced continued year after year and I always used it as inspiration whenever I needed to give a little more. Your work ethic was impressive and was something I noticed early on. As I struggled through my first few jobs as a teenager when I wanted to be up at the lake or out playing with my friends, I thought about how you went to work each day for hours and no matter how much stress you were under you always put providing for your family ahead of your own needs.

Even now that I’m grown with kids of my own, you still take the time to give me little lessons here and there to help me be a better father, your little reminders not to let the moments with my kids breeze by or they’ll be over before I know it. These are appreciated and taken to heart.

There are a lot of people out there who didn’t have fathers who leaned into fatherhood, but you did. You left me with a lot of great memories and a lot of great life stories. It’s because of you that I have chosen to lean into fatherhood as well.

Thank you, and Happy Father’s Day.

Photo Credit: Flickr

We’re celebrating Father’s Day by celebrating leaning into fatherhood and by recognizing the extraordinary men that are our own fathers. We hope that it will inspire you to thank your own dad or the dad who most inspires you. Find more letters and stories about leaning into parenthood here. And, of course, find your own Lean In inspiration at LeanIn.org.

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