Reflections on a Father’s Influence

Today is my father’s birthday.  I don’t usually create posts with no legal hook, but because my father’s influence can be felt in everything I do, I thought I would share this publicly.


I have been reflecting on my father’s influence on me, and noticed some uncanny things.

When we were kids, we had a room with no furniture except a piano. My Dad used to play (self taught, by ear) and my brother and I would dance around the room. Now, I hate furniture and need a lot of space in rooms to dance.

When we were kids, my Dad used to entertain us on car rides by making up Jeopardy games. Now, I create a subject-specific Jeopardy game for my students at the end of each semester and host with flair and gusto.

I never really made these connections before. I have thought about how my Dad used to throw me around in the ocean and roughhouse a little, and how now I am not a delicate person. Or how he encouraged me to keep vocabulary lists, and now I love words. Or how I never really felt different as a girl, and now feel just as mentored by and connect just as well with men and women, and never (not once) ever considered that I was limited in what I could do because of my gender (although he used to mock my anti chivalry stance by forcing me to order food first at restaurants). Or how I am so moved by the things that move him – great, subtle acting, music with real soul, speed eating.

My father came from a decently rough neighborhood where some of his buddies ended up with serious addictions or worse. He made it out, and it was not costless, but everything I have been given can be traced back to his talent, work ethic, determination, and personality. I will never stop being grateful for that (even when it seems I am not).

You are still, just like the song you used to play on the piano, a “bridge over troubled water.”