The Difference One Man Can Make.

Hey Dad,
A few years ago when you had a heart attack I wondered what I would say about you when you died.  Yeah, I know it’s a little scary to admit.  But at 33, that’s the stuff that goes through my head sometimes.  You’ve done a lot to shape my life and I just didn’t want to wait until it was too late to thank you for making me a priority.

You always came to my soccer games, which I now know was a massive feat of calendaring expertise.  But you made it happen.  And it made me feel like what I was doing mattered.

You took me running.  In sweatpants.  Remember those days?  Down the road, it was pretty darn slow at times, but you got me hooked.  Remember how you used to tell me to “push it” when we got a mile or so from home.  That taught me to push  the limits at whatever I was doing.  I learned, didn’t I?

Sometimes when I’m running now I think about those days.  I’m grateful that you found time to teach me to be a champion.

I’ve had a lot of crazy dreams in my lifetime.  I’m not sure if you inspired them or if you just tolerated my manic obsessions.  I do know that your stories about your childhood and how you turned your life around have had a lasting impact on how I view the opportunity to make a difference in the world around me.

I will never forget the story you told us kids about your days in St. Louis. Redemption.

It’s the small things that come to mind. Like when I was a junior in seminary and I asked you for $500 so that I could get my insurance license and open up a business. You gave me the money.  I failed.  I don’t think I’ve paid you back yet.  You never asked me to either.

As I got older I begin to realize how smart you were.

Somehow the more I knew, the more I knew that there was so much more to know. About business. About relationships. About life.

I was so heartbroken when my marriage was falling apart around me.  I was so sad.   I would just call you and sob.  And I don’t remember that you ever said anything during those calls.  If you did, I’m sorry I don’t remember it.  But I remember that you were there for me.  And that made all the difference in my world.

As I think back to the great role model that you were for me, I wonder how I am impacting those that I come into contact with. Am I great role model too?  Sometimes when I’m in a store and I see an old person I stop and ask myself: “when I am their age will I have made a difference with my life?”.  I hope so.

There are those who say that any one of us is too small to really change the world — to deliver hope and happiness and inspired living.  To them I say: “You haven’t met my dad”.  You’re just one person.  But you’ve made a big difference.  You’ve changed my world.

Thank you.  I love you.

Your son,

Dan

0 Replies to “The Difference One Man Can Make.”

  1. Wow, Dan – what a great letter to your dad. You are truly blessed!
    This is the kind of difference that I’m trying to be in the lives of my 3 children (who are now between the ages of 25 and 20). I’ve put my career ambitions on the back burner as needed to be there for them all these years. And it’s paying off. They’ve matured into fine young people, with a great deal of compassion for others, driven to use their God-given talents to make a difference in the world.

    Chuck Frey

  2. Wow, Dan – what a great letter to your dad. You are truly blessed!
    This is the kind of difference that I’m trying to be in the lives of my 3 children (who are now between the ages of 25 and 20). I’ve put my career ambitions on the back burner as needed to be there for them all these years. And it’s paying off. They’ve matured into fine young people, with a great deal of compassion for others, driven to use their God-given talents to make a difference in the world.

    Chuck Frey

  3. Wow, Dan – what a great letter to your dad. You are truly blessed!
    This is the kind of difference that I’m trying to be in the lives of my 3 children (who are now between the ages of 25 and 20). I’ve put my career ambitions on the back burner as needed to be there for them all these years. And it’s paying off. They’ve matured into fine young people, with a great deal of compassion for others, driven to use their God-given talents to make a difference in the world.

    Chuck Frey

  4. Wow, Dan – what a great letter to your dad. You are truly blessed!
    This is the kind of difference that I’m trying to be in the lives of my 3 children (who are now between the ages of 25 and 20). I’ve put my career ambitions on the back burner as needed to be there for them all these years. And it’s paying off. They’ve matured into fine young people, with a great deal of compassion for others, driven to use their God-given talents to make a difference in the world.

    Chuck Frey

  5. Wow, Dan – what a great letter to your dad. You are truly blessed!
    This is the kind of difference that I’m trying to be in the lives of my 3 children (who are now between the ages of 25 and 20). I’ve put my career ambitions on the back burner as needed to be there for them all these years. And it’s paying off. They’ve matured into fine young people, with a great deal of compassion for others, driven to use their God-given talents to make a difference in the world.

    Chuck Frey

  6. Wow, Dan – what a great letter to your dad. You are truly blessed!
    This is the kind of difference that I’m trying to be in the lives of my 3 children (who are now between the ages of 25 and 20). I’ve put my career ambitions on the back burner as needed to be there for them all these years. And it’s paying off. They’ve matured into fine young people, with a great deal of compassion for others, driven to use their God-given talents to make a difference in the world.

    Chuck Frey

  7. Your dad sounds like he’s certainly “set the standard” for you. Subconsciously he did it so you could learn from it. Evidently, you did. Now take the ball and run with it. If you meet or exceed his standard, you are by all means a success. A great one.
    I trust that you are now taking the ball and running with it. Believe you me, that’s all that matters to your dad right now.

    I remember my late moms final words to me … “you did me proud”. Took the batten and ran with it. Hope I can pass on the same to my son and daughter.

    Thanks, for writing this post.

  8. Your dad sounds like he’s certainly “set the standard” for you. Subconsciously he did it so you could learn from it. Evidently, you did. Now take the ball and run with it. If you meet or exceed his standard, you are by all means a success. A great one.
    I trust that you are now taking the ball and running with it. Believe you me, that’s all that matters to your dad right now.

    I remember my late moms final words to me … “you did me proud”. Took the batten and ran with it. Hope I can pass on the same to my son and daughter.

    Thanks, for writing this post.

  9. Your dad sounds like he’s certainly “set the standard” for you. Subconsciously he did it so you could learn from it. Evidently, you did. Now take the ball and run with it. If you meet or exceed his standard, you are by all means a success. A great one.
    I trust that you are now taking the ball and running with it. Believe you me, that’s all that matters to your dad right now.

    I remember my late moms final words to me … “you did me proud”. Took the batten and ran with it. Hope I can pass on the same to my son and daughter.

    Thanks, for writing this post.

  10. Your dad sounds like he’s certainly “set the standard” for you. Subconsciously he did it so you could learn from it. Evidently, you did. Now take the ball and run with it. If you meet or exceed his standard, you are by all means a success. A great one.
    I trust that you are now taking the ball and running with it. Believe you me, that’s all that matters to your dad right now.

    I remember my late moms final words to me … “you did me proud”. Took the batten and ran with it. Hope I can pass on the same to my son and daughter.

    Thanks, for writing this post.

  11. Your dad sounds like he’s certainly “set the standard” for you. Subconsciously he did it so you could learn from it. Evidently, you did. Now take the ball and run with it. If you meet or exceed his standard, you are by all means a success. A great one.
    I trust that you are now taking the ball and running with it. Believe you me, that’s all that matters to your dad right now.

    I remember my late moms final words to me … “you did me proud”. Took the batten and ran with it. Hope I can pass on the same to my son and daughter.

    Thanks, for writing this post.

  12. Your dad sounds like he’s certainly “set the standard” for you. Subconsciously he did it so you could learn from it. Evidently, you did. Now take the ball and run with it. If you meet or exceed his standard, you are by all means a success. A great one.
    I trust that you are now taking the ball and running with it. Believe you me, that’s all that matters to your dad right now.

    I remember my late moms final words to me … “you did me proud”. Took the batten and ran with it. Hope I can pass on the same to my son and daughter.

    Thanks, for writing this post.

  13. Look, there’s just nothing I can possibly comment here, than “wow”. You’ve taken what your Dad taught you and you share it with us every day, you push us, you inspire us, and so I am also thankful to your Dad. and you.
    thanks Dan. and thanks Dan’s Dad. 🙂

  14. Look, there’s just nothing I can possibly comment here, than “wow”. You’ve taken what your Dad taught you and you share it with us every day, you push us, you inspire us, and so I am also thankful to your Dad. and you.
    thanks Dan. and thanks Dan’s Dad. 🙂

  15. Look, there’s just nothing I can possibly comment here, than “wow”. You’ve taken what your Dad taught you and you share it with us every day, you push us, you inspire us, and so I am also thankful to your Dad. and you.
    thanks Dan. and thanks Dan’s Dad. 🙂

  16. Look, there’s just nothing I can possibly comment here, than “wow”. You’ve taken what your Dad taught you and you share it with us every day, you push us, you inspire us, and so I am also thankful to your Dad. and you.
    thanks Dan. and thanks Dan’s Dad. 🙂

  17. Look, there’s just nothing I can possibly comment here, than “wow”. You’ve taken what your Dad taught you and you share it with us every day, you push us, you inspire us, and so I am also thankful to your Dad. and you.
    thanks Dan. and thanks Dan’s Dad. 🙂

  18. Look, there’s just nothing I can possibly comment here, than “wow”. You’ve taken what your Dad taught you and you share it with us every day, you push us, you inspire us, and so I am also thankful to your Dad. and you.
    thanks Dan. and thanks Dan’s Dad. 🙂

  19. Just picked up the phone and called my Dad. He and Mom are coming over for dinner tonight. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy and embrace the moments!

  20. Just picked up the phone and called my Dad. He and Mom are coming over for dinner tonight. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy and embrace the moments!

  21. Just picked up the phone and called my Dad. He and Mom are coming over for dinner tonight. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy and embrace the moments!

  22. Just picked up the phone and called my Dad. He and Mom are coming over for dinner tonight. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy and embrace the moments!

  23. Just picked up the phone and called my Dad. He and Mom are coming over for dinner tonight. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy and embrace the moments!

  24. Just picked up the phone and called my Dad. He and Mom are coming over for dinner tonight. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy and embrace the moments!

  25. Dan, Good man your dad, wonder dose he think like me that there is always something ells more too be done. Anyway thats how I feel, I never really knew my father very well, he died when I was a kid, think I was twelve. Tuberculoses and phenomena at the end we were in the room when he went. He told my mother he had loved her with mustered effort moments later she closed his eyes. She was orphaned, a Bastard in Dublin at that time, She was strong, an O’Casey is where the artistic gene and determination the resilience and love of cultural pursuit. I still hear her sing never stopped everything all. I remember H explain Yellow Submarine, Judy in the skies with diamonds, she argued the ‘point’ as she said, I think the argument was as important were it politics, religion, John Kennedy, Dev, Sean O Casey’ poor Brendan Behan Ma said, socialism, a better life for her children pushed us out emigrate and we did all of us at one stage or another from country too country continent too continent from South Africa too Alberta, Sidney too New York, Colorado Germany Haight-Ashbury Beautiful San Francisco London Lund Fagersta my proud family are everywhere Harvard Belgium Paris Yugoslavia before the fall one or more of my sisters or brothers has left a mark stem cells in Silicon Vally and Sligo something ells Regency furniture fifthly years from thirteen created excellence in Toronto fell from roof top in up State New York broke bones learned property convalescing and did that too.

    And when my father died we were alone, disowned by his family wasn’t good too be orphaned in Dublin in those days. Strong women five sisters strong mother I’m glad I’m not a woman too much work I would never measure up I’m only good for sixty hour weeks. Although I loved my father as we do. THE DIFFERENCE ONE WOMAN CAN MAKE.

    I’ll bet your dad is as proud as punch i’m proud of you too.
    William.
    PS my regards too your dad.

      1. And two people that didn’t know each other and I asked you too keep an eye on me and you did and you didn’t let me down and you did more much more you saved my life and you didn’t know that until now and your dad did a great job and I’m proud of both of you and endlessly grateful and in your debt. So Dan, how can I serve?

  26. Dan, Good man your dad, wonder dose he think like me that there is always something ells more too be done. Anyway thats how I feel, I never really knew my father very well, he died when I was a kid, think I was twelve. Tuberculoses and phenomena at the end we were in the room when he went. He told my mother he had loved her with mustered effort moments later she closed his eyes. She was orphaned, a Bastard in Dublin at that time, She was strong, an O’Casey is where the artistic gene and determination the resilience and love of cultural pursuit. I still hear her sing never stopped everything all. I remember H explain Yellow Submarine, Judy in the skies with diamonds, she argued the ‘point’ as she said, I think the argument was as important were it politics, religion, John Kennedy, Dev, Sean O Casey’ poor Brendan Behan Ma said, socialism, a better life for her children pushed us out emigrate and we did all of us at one stage or another from country too country continent too continent from South Africa too Alberta, Sidney too New York, Colorado Germany Haight-Ashbury Beautiful San Francisco London Lund Fagersta my proud family are everywhere Harvard Belgium Paris Yugoslavia before the fall one or more of my sisters or brothers has left a mark stem cells in Silicon Vally and Sligo something ells Regency furniture fifthly years from thirteen created excellence in Toronto fell from roof top in up State New York broke bones learned property convalescing and did that too.

    And when my father died we were alone, disowned by his family wasn’t good too be orphaned in Dublin in those days. Strong women five sisters strong mother I’m glad I’m not a woman too much work I would never measure up I’m only good for sixty hour weeks. Although I loved my father as we do. THE DIFFERENCE ONE WOMAN CAN MAKE.

    I’ll bet your dad is as proud as punch i’m proud of you too.
    William.
    PS my regards too your dad.

      1. And two people that didn’t know each other and I asked you too keep an eye on me and you did and you didn’t let me down and you did more much more you saved my life and you didn’t know that until now and your dad did a great job and I’m proud of both of you and endlessly grateful and in your debt. So Dan, how can I serve?

  27. Dan, Good man your dad, wonder dose he think like me that there is always something ells more too be done. Anyway thats how I feel, I never really knew my father very well, he died when I was a kid, think I was twelve. Tuberculoses and phenomena at the end we were in the room when he went. He told my mother he had loved her with mustered effort moments later she closed his eyes. She was orphaned, a Bastard in Dublin at that time, She was strong, an O’Casey is where the artistic gene and determination the resilience and love of cultural pursuit. I still hear her sing never stopped everything all. I remember H explain Yellow Submarine, Judy in the skies with diamonds, she argued the ‘point’ as she said, I think the argument was as important were it politics, religion, John Kennedy, Dev, Sean O Casey’ poor Brendan Behan Ma said, socialism, a better life for her children pushed us out emigrate and we did all of us at one stage or another from country too country continent too continent from South Africa too Alberta, Sidney too New York, Colorado Germany Haight-Ashbury Beautiful San Francisco London Lund Fagersta my proud family are everywhere Harvard Belgium Paris Yugoslavia before the fall one or more of my sisters or brothers has left a mark stem cells in Silicon Vally and Sligo something ells Regency furniture fifthly years from thirteen created excellence in Toronto fell from roof top in up State New York broke bones learned property convalescing and did that too.

    And when my father died we were alone, disowned by his family wasn’t good too be orphaned in Dublin in those days. Strong women five sisters strong mother I’m glad I’m not a woman too much work I would never measure up I’m only good for sixty hour weeks. Although I loved my father as we do. THE DIFFERENCE ONE WOMAN CAN MAKE.

    I’ll bet your dad is as proud as punch i’m proud of you too.
    William.
    PS my regards too your dad.

      1. And two people that didn’t know each other and I asked you too keep an eye on me and you did and you didn’t let me down and you did more much more you saved my life and you didn’t know that until now and your dad did a great job and I’m proud of both of you and endlessly grateful and in your debt. So Dan, how can I serve?

  28. Dan, Good man your dad, wonder dose he think like me that there is always something ells more too be done. Anyway thats how I feel, I never really knew my father very well, he died when I was a kid, think I was twelve. Tuberculoses and phenomena at the end we were in the room when he went. He told my mother he had loved her with mustered effort moments later she closed his eyes. She was orphaned, a Bastard in Dublin at that time, She was strong, an O’Casey is where the artistic gene and determination the resilience and love of cultural pursuit. I still hear her sing never stopped everything all. I remember H explain Yellow Submarine, Judy in the skies with diamonds, she argued the ‘point’ as she said, I think the argument was as important were it politics, religion, John Kennedy, Dev, Sean O Casey’ poor Brendan Behan Ma said, socialism, a better life for her children pushed us out emigrate and we did all of us at one stage or another from country too country continent too continent from South Africa too Alberta, Sidney too New York, Colorado Germany Haight-Ashbury Beautiful San Francisco London Lund Fagersta my proud family are everywhere Harvard Belgium Paris Yugoslavia before the fall one or more of my sisters or brothers has left a mark stem cells in Silicon Vally and Sligo something ells Regency furniture fifthly years from thirteen created excellence in Toronto fell from roof top in up State New York broke bones learned property convalescing and did that too.

    And when my father died we were alone, disowned by his family wasn’t good too be orphaned in Dublin in those days. Strong women five sisters strong mother I’m glad I’m not a woman too much work I would never measure up I’m only good for sixty hour weeks. Although I loved my father as we do. THE DIFFERENCE ONE WOMAN CAN MAKE.

    I’ll bet your dad is as proud as punch i’m proud of you too.
    William.
    PS my regards too your dad.

      1. And two people that didn’t know each other and I asked you too keep an eye on me and you did and you didn’t let me down and you did more much more you saved my life and you didn’t know that until now and your dad did a great job and I’m proud of both of you and endlessly grateful and in your debt. So Dan, how can I serve?

  29. Dan, Good man your dad, wonder dose he think like me that there is always something ells more too be done. Anyway thats how I feel, I never really knew my father very well, he died when I was a kid, think I was twelve. Tuberculoses and phenomena at the end we were in the room when he went. He told my mother he had loved her with mustered effort moments later she closed his eyes. She was orphaned, a Bastard in Dublin at that time, She was strong, an O’Casey is where the artistic gene and determination the resilience and love of cultural pursuit. I still hear her sing never stopped everything all. I remember H explain Yellow Submarine, Judy in the skies with diamonds, she argued the ‘point’ as she said, I think the argument was as important were it politics, religion, John Kennedy, Dev, Sean O Casey’ poor Brendan Behan Ma said, socialism, a better life for her children pushed us out emigrate and we did all of us at one stage or another from country too country continent too continent from South Africa too Alberta, Sidney too New York, Colorado Germany Haight-Ashbury Beautiful San Francisco London Lund Fagersta my proud family are everywhere Harvard Belgium Paris Yugoslavia before the fall one or more of my sisters or brothers has left a mark stem cells in Silicon Vally and Sligo something ells Regency furniture fifthly years from thirteen created excellence in Toronto fell from roof top in up State New York broke bones learned property convalescing and did that too.

    And when my father died we were alone, disowned by his family wasn’t good too be orphaned in Dublin in those days. Strong women five sisters strong mother I’m glad I’m not a woman too much work I would never measure up I’m only good for sixty hour weeks. Although I loved my father as we do. THE DIFFERENCE ONE WOMAN CAN MAKE.

    I’ll bet your dad is as proud as punch i’m proud of you too.
    William.
    PS my regards too your dad.

      1. And two people that didn’t know each other and I asked you too keep an eye on me and you did and you didn’t let me down and you did more much more you saved my life and you didn’t know that until now and your dad did a great job and I’m proud of both of you and endlessly grateful and in your debt. So Dan, how can I serve?

  30. Dan, Good man your dad, wonder dose he think like me that there is always something ells more too be done. Anyway thats how I feel, I never really knew my father very well, he died when I was a kid, think I was twelve. Tuberculoses and phenomena at the end we were in the room when he went. He told my mother he had loved her with mustered effort moments later she closed his eyes. She was orphaned, a Bastard in Dublin at that time, She was strong, an O’Casey is where the artistic gene and determination the resilience and love of cultural pursuit. I still hear her sing never stopped everything all. I remember H explain Yellow Submarine, Judy in the skies with diamonds, she argued the ‘point’ as she said, I think the argument was as important were it politics, religion, John Kennedy, Dev, Sean O Casey’ poor Brendan Behan Ma said, socialism, a better life for her children pushed us out emigrate and we did all of us at one stage or another from country too country continent too continent from South Africa too Alberta, Sidney too New York, Colorado Germany Haight-Ashbury Beautiful San Francisco London Lund Fagersta my proud family are everywhere Harvard Belgium Paris Yugoslavia before the fall one or more of my sisters or brothers has left a mark stem cells in Silicon Vally and Sligo something ells Regency furniture fifthly years from thirteen created excellence in Toronto fell from roof top in up State New York broke bones learned property convalescing and did that too.

    And when my father died we were alone, disowned by his family wasn’t good too be orphaned in Dublin in those days. Strong women five sisters strong mother I’m glad I’m not a woman too much work I would never measure up I’m only good for sixty hour weeks. Although I loved my father as we do. THE DIFFERENCE ONE WOMAN CAN MAKE.

    I’ll bet your dad is as proud as punch i’m proud of you too.
    William.
    PS my regards too your dad.

      1. And two people that didn’t know each other and I asked you too keep an eye on me and you did and you didn’t let me down and you did more much more you saved my life and you didn’t know that until now and your dad did a great job and I’m proud of both of you and endlessly grateful and in your debt. So Dan, how can I serve?

  31. Do two things today that scare you. Push the limits. Not sure exactly what else to tell you…. Today is a new day. 🙂 You said.
    ‘The above’ is one and two I’m going too turn my computer off and finish my laundry and maybe take a few hours for myself. Might not sound like the limits but for me it is, I’m a wee bit tired you see I never stop until I know.

  32. Do two things today that scare you. Push the limits. Not sure exactly what else to tell you…. Today is a new day. 🙂 You said.
    ‘The above’ is one and two I’m going too turn my computer off and finish my laundry and maybe take a few hours for myself. Might not sound like the limits but for me it is, I’m a wee bit tired you see I never stop until I know.

  33. Do two things today that scare you. Push the limits. Not sure exactly what else to tell you…. Today is a new day. 🙂 You said.
    ‘The above’ is one and two I’m going too turn my computer off and finish my laundry and maybe take a few hours for myself. Might not sound like the limits but for me it is, I’m a wee bit tired you see I never stop until I know.

  34. Do two things today that scare you. Push the limits. Not sure exactly what else to tell you…. Today is a new day. 🙂 You said.
    ‘The above’ is one and two I’m going too turn my computer off and finish my laundry and maybe take a few hours for myself. Might not sound like the limits but for me it is, I’m a wee bit tired you see I never stop until I know.

  35. Do two things today that scare you. Push the limits. Not sure exactly what else to tell you…. Today is a new day. 🙂 You said.
    ‘The above’ is one and two I’m going too turn my computer off and finish my laundry and maybe take a few hours for myself. Might not sound like the limits but for me it is, I’m a wee bit tired you see I never stop until I know.

  36. Do two things today that scare you. Push the limits. Not sure exactly what else to tell you…. Today is a new day. 🙂 You said.
    ‘The above’ is one and two I’m going too turn my computer off and finish my laundry and maybe take a few hours for myself. Might not sound like the limits but for me it is, I’m a wee bit tired you see I never stop until I know.

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