As fathers, we will leave a legacy for our children, whether good or ill. Start working on your legacy today, that your children may have a brighter tomorrow.
I can remember, as if it were yesterday, the last day I spent with my Dad. We had an enjoyable day together meeting with business leaders in the Sydney CBD. Three days later, the police knocked on my door to notify me of my father’s passing.
My dad was 74 years of age when he passed, which was the average age of death for a man in 1984, so arguably a good innings, but still a shock. It is 38 years down the track, and I still miss my Dad.
My Dad was a massive inspiration to me. Thankfully, I have been able to pass some of that inspiration on to my own children.
As Shannon Alder wisely said,
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”
My daughter-in-law lost her Dad in March 2019. She misses her Dad so much. He was a salt-of-the-earth man with some colourful language to boot. He was a brickie, so he always got straight to the point.
As a fellow tradesman, I wrote a tribute piece to his passing titled, “A Man Called Mick.” At his funeral, this is what my daughter-in-law said about her Dad.
“Even though we were loved, Dad always made it really clear to us that Mum was his favourite, he called her his sweetheart. They were like two peas in a pod.
Cuppa every afternoon (beer in summer). Mum put it in the freezer 30min before Dad got home. If we came out the front, we were told to go away. It was their time to chat and catch up.
Every Valentine’s Day, Dad would pick Mum a rose from the garden and make her a cup of tea and put it next to her bed before leaving for work.
He always said that the best thing about his day was seeing Mum when he got home.
Mum would tuck Dad into bed every single night. Even when they weren’t on speaking terms, Dad would still let Mum know he was going to bed, and she would tuck him in.
The truth is, Mum and Dad really loved each other, for better or worse.
The four of us (my brother & two sisters) got together this week to talk about what we wanted to share about Dad. We had so many stories, so many funny times and great memories, but more than anything it was some of Dad’s simple character traits that we really loved and will miss the most.
Dad had a strong presence that always made you feel safe.
He was full of integrity, and taught us about responsibility, honesty and a good work ethic.
We all knew that honesty and telling the truth was important. You could get away with a lot of things in the Robbins household, but if you got caught lying… *whistle*… LOOK OUT
Dad always made sure we were ok... We had great Dad. And we know we did…
We have put together some photos of Dad’s great life, so get your tissues out.”
I came across a great article by Nick Saban called “The Story of My Dad.” Nick’s story reminded me of how we miss our own dads. I will let you be the judge.
Not a day goes by that I don’t miss and think about my Dad. His passing at forty-six years of age seemed unreal and was devastating to our family; yet he is always with me in spirit, in my heart, and in my mind.
We had a unique relationship because he was my Dad, my boss, and my coach. I loved him very much and want everyone to know that I wouldn’t be the person I am nor have had the success I’ve enjoyed without the experience of Dad in my life; he was my champion!
He set a standard of excellence and provided a set of values and direction for my life that I still follow today.
The last conversation I had before Dad died of a sudden heart attack was just after the start of my first season as a GA in 1973. I told him I wanted to be a coach like him and he gave advice, as always, “I’m happy you want to be a coach, however, the expectation, no matter what you choose to do, must always be to do your best and to be the best.”
I promised him I would always try… that was the last time we spoke. I am so thankful I had my father as an example of uncompromising values, standards to live by and, especially, his love for me and compassion for others…
Dad’s headstone recalls his legacy, “No man stands as tall as when he stoops to help a child.”
As fathers, we all leave a legacy.
What will your children say about you? That’s why I write to you every week. Give it your best shot before it is too late!
Yours for Leaving a Legacy,
PS: If you want to build a greater legacy for the ones you love, please join us at the Men’s Leadership Summit, Tops Conference Centre, on the weekend of 26-28 August 2022.
Bookings close midnight this coming Friday 12 August 2022.
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