Clay’s Tribute To His Dad
I was so crushed to hear of the passing of Clay’s dad over the weekend. What a great guy. He was an extremely gifted teacher and maybe some of that came from his sense of humor. It’s probably where Clay got his. Clay’s dad always made me laugh. He always had a clever comment about whatever was going on at the time. And boy did that guy know history. I could go on and on, but I wanted to share something with you that Clay wrote about his dad just a few weeks ago. You might have seen it already, but it choked me up when I read it the first time and I thought it deserved to be re-posted. It was Clay’s tribute to his dad on President’s Day. Here it is:
Had a chance to visit my dad today. Always brings a smile to my face to sit and chat and catch him up on what is going on in my crazy world and life. We always sit and “shoot the breeze.” Today I decided to ask him about his favorite president. Turns out he has many favorites including Lincoln and Kennedy.There isn’t any specific reason he could give me for why they are his favorite. But, as I think about it, Kennedy and Lincoln have a lot of similarities beyond just the fact that they were assassinated. Both were killed because they held beliefs not too popular with others and stood their ground on those beliefs. That to me is the sign of a great leader. Someone who is willing to lead not by words alone but by example.
Here is where I can honestly say that even though my dad is my dad, he is also the greatest leader and teacher I have ever known. My father has always been a true example of what it is to lead by example. I remember how he held the car door from my mom every day she was alive. How he always put our needs before his. Even if it meant wearing old shoes on his feet so we could have the best. A true gentleman even to this day, he stood by his values and a belief that taking care of your family is priority number one. My father taught me two very important lessons. They are to budget and to plan. It wasn’t until I hit 30 that I realized what that really means.
History was one of the courses that my dad taught over his long career at West Seneca East. I think my dad liked it so much because 1. there are some great stories and 2. there are some great lessons that can be taught as we look back at our predecessors. Many times when we are out working at an event or concert former students of my father will tell me he was their favorite teacher. Mostly because of his ability to get along with everybody and just be down to earth. Which if I think about it are some of my favorite characteristics of his.
Presidents day should be a time to reflect on the leaders of this great nation. A time to think about men who have shaped our country to the best of their ability and put into place a way of life that they believe is for the better of the country regardless of what other people may say. A day to look back on some of the great minds that came up with a way to get us through the tough times. To be strong when you have to and be gentle and understanding when it may mean critics are laughing at you. I thought about it on the way home from seeing my dad how well he fits into those criteria. He may not have ever been the President of the United States, but he is and will always be a picture of perfection when it comes to a leader and man I can respect and be proud to call my favorite teacher…my dad.