“On the way of wisdom I direct you, I lead you on straightforward paths. When you walk, your step will not be impeded, and should you run, you will not stumble.” - Proverbs 4:11-12
Some of my fondest memories of my childhood are those with my dad. I grew up in Massachusetts, and I remember mulling around the Cape for a beach day, going into Boston to catch a game, or running to whatever sporting event I had that weekend. Being an only child, I was extremely close with both of my parents. We were a little trio, and did everything together. When I think of my dad, I not only think of all the fun memories we had, but I also think of all the life lessons I learned along the way—three of which I will go into detail about.
From a young age, I saw the work ethic and determination my father had and looked up to him for that. Being a CPA, he was always working late hours and working on weekends. We knew when tax season hit that he was at his busiest. Despite this, my dad never missed a school concert, a soccer game (or even a practice for that matter), or a dance recital. If it was important to me, it was just as important to him. I can still remember him saying to me sternly, “Never, never, never give up”. No matter what was going on in my life, how upset I may have been, or how frustrated I was, that phrase was said many, many times throughout my life and I still call upon it during moments of doubt. Through crying at the dinner table trying to complete math homework, going through a rough patch with friends, or struggling through college applications, my dad would always remind me to never give up, that the Lord would always show me what was right for me.
As I continue to reflect on phrases I learned from my dad, the other one that always pops into my mind is, “knowledge is power.” He used this phrase so much that he even has it engraved on a bookmark! While education and schooling were extremely important to my childhood, I knew he meant this phrase more broadly. We always talked through current events, explored new sections of the library, and tried to learn as much about anything and everything as possible. This allowed me to stay curious about the world around me, to never be satisfied with one answer, and to always search out the next. I think it’s also probably why I became a history major, as I have always loved to research. After a long week of work, my parents would wake up very early every Saturday morning and drive me an hour into the North End of Boston to take Italian language lessons. Thinking back on that now, I can see their commitment and self-sacrifice (instead of choosing to sleep in on a Saturday morning) to my global knowledge and taking every opportunity to learn something new.
Another large aspect of my childhood revolved around faith. I can remember being a young child and not enjoying going to Mass. I was too young to understand the importance of what was going on in the Mass. While most of my friends were not Catholic, I couldn’t understand why I had to go. Instead of making me sit there and pout, my family tried to make the weekly Mass have some “fun” aspects to it. Whether it be squeezing hands at the end of the Our Father, getting Dunkin Donuts’ together at the end of Mass, or having me put our weekly donation into the basket, these fun little moments allowed my four-year-old faith to begin to grow. A man of great faith, my dad made sure I never missed a weekly Mass or a CCD class and remained involved in our Church community. My dad remained positive through all facets of life - often reminding me that God always had a plan, a path for each of us, and to follow in His guidance.
Looking back, I am so grateful for the memories that I have made with my father over the years, and I am looking forward to the new memories that we will make now and in the future. I will always cherish the moments that we share together and will take his life lessons with me through every step of my life.
To learn more about different facets of fatherhood, we invite you to visit our Year of St. Joseph Resource Page.