I came across this story yesterday, it reminded me of my son and his father and thought it was so beautiful I had to share. I am one grateful mother and partner to have such a beautiful family. Enjoy! <3
Papa’s Facts of Life:
“It is not flesh and blood, but the heart that makes us fathers and sons.” –Schiller
I have much to thank Papa for. He helped me to grow up more or less sane, a healthy neurotic who laughs a lot, love a lot, and isn’t afraid to cry or be vulnerable. He showed me that life is an exciting adventure and challenged me to take full advantage of all it has to offer. He hooked me on learning and taught me my responsibility for leaving the world a better place for my having been in it.
I’m aware that my life has not been the greatest success story, but like Papa, I am far from a failure. The facts of life that Papa modeled for me were simple. He lived by a positive code, the rules of which were uncomplicated and accessible to anyone wanting to live a good life:
O Dance, sing and laugh a lot.
O All things are related.
O Don’t waste time trying to reason with pain, suffering, life and death.
O An animated person animates the world.
O Find a quiet place for yourself.
O Don’t ever betray yourself.
O Birth and death are part of a cycle. Neither begins or ends with you.
O Stay close to your God.
O It’s crucial to love.
O Idealism is a strength, not a weakness.
O People are good if you give them a chance to be.
O Discrimination, for any reason, is wrong.
O Self-respect is essential for life.
O Except in the eyes of God, people are not created equal, so we are all responsible for those who can’t help themselves.
O Cruelty is a sign of weakness.
O Commitment and caring are the basic ingredients of love.
O Love is indestructible and therefore the most powerful human force.
O Change is inevitable.
O People who think they know it all can be dangerous.
It’s true that “everybody gots a father,” as the little girl said in the class so many years ago. But there are fathers and there are fathers.
There is always the chance that my deep love for Papa has caused me to be partially blind to his faults. I know he had imperfections, and I am not suggesting that he was a candidate for canonization. But I know for certain that he was very much a selfless person, never dishonest or vindictive.
He was proud, sensitive, affectionate. His greatest fault might have been his obsessive need for security and love—if this is a fault. He was compassionate, naturally intelligent and always concerned about the welfare of others. But no matter what he had or didn’t have, was or wasn’t, his attitude toward fatherhood made a positive and lasting difference in my life. What else can we ask of another human being?
Thanks, Papa. I’ll always love you.
-Leo Buscaglia (from the book Lessons from Dad, A Tribute to Fatherhood).
All Rights Reserved. Photo copyright to Dianne Furphy, 2012.