Fathers Day weekend is here and while we are celebrating our dads or grilling up steaks or hitting the golf course, it may be time to reflect on the many things that we have to thank our fathers for.

My dad passed away in 2011, 16 years after my mother passed away and it still feels like yesterday. My father was a school teacher at West Seneca East for years and to this day I hear from former students about the impact my dad had on them in the classroom. But teaching was something that was natural for my dad and for most dads. Whether you know it or not, dads, you are shaping the future of your kids and sharing lessons with them just about every day.

I put together a note that I would have loved to share with my dad if he was here with us today in person. My dad would have absolutely loved our three boys. And even though grandpa is not here to hug them, laugh with them and spoil them, I feel like the things my dad taught me are being passed on to them. It is part of what I am most thankful for and what got me thinking about my gratitude for my fathers lessons for life.

Dear Dad,

I wanted to pass along a quick thank you for all the great things you taught me. It was not until recently that I fully understood what you and mom had to go through to raise 5 kids !

Thank you for getting mad when I missed work and failed to call and tell them. I was mad that you were even involved at the time, but now I understand how important it is to be professional and accountable.

I can’t thank you enough for teaching me the value of two important things; have a plan and have a budget. Now that I’m in your shoes as a dad, I get it.

Dad, the most important thing we can do is take care of what is in our own home. This lesson you showed us bears so much truth these days. If the world understood this, we may may be in a better place.

I remember watching the evening news together when the Gulf War began and how you explained to me the importance of taking on bullies and how it is our responsibility to help those who need it, even if no one is watching. I specifically remember you saying "if you saw a person getting beat up by someone bigger than them, wouldn't you want to help?"

There are so many memories of our family trips, baseball games, school events and time with you that I really appreciate you making the time for and giving to us. But beyond all of that, thank you for teaching me to be a good person and a gentleman. Watching you and the way you loved and respected mom until the day she passed away and kept her memory alive, will forever be the single greatest love story and lesson about what family really is and what it really is all about.

Dad, I may not get it right every day with our boys. There are moments I don't have the patience or the answers or the plan in place. Nor do I have the budget perfect, kids and family can get expensive and overwhelming. But that's OK because you gave me the foundation and the tools to get through the hard times and frustrations. All we need is each other and the rest will take care of itself.

There are a million things I want to thank you for but most importantly for just being you...our dad!

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