Your Favorite Stories
So years later, I met and married my best friend, who happens to be a certified athletic trainer. He's the guy who runs out on the field or court when an athlete goes down hurt. Then we had a son who has played football, baseball and now at 13 is almost a black belt in karate. So for this band geek, sports are now a huge part of my life. If my dad had not taught me to understand and enjoy sports, I would be one miserable woman!
— Jana, Tulsa, Oklahoma
By taking us to Africa, my dad has completely changed the way we think about everything. We have come to know the meaning of generosity and selflessness through my father. My Korean-American dad is 6 feet tall, handsome, drives a '59 pink Cadillac and is one of the most stylish men around, but more importantly he has a huge heart that has always had room for kids.
— Victoria, Los Angeles
What I didn't know was that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As a result, I never really knew my father although he lived with me my entire life. I never talked to him much or hung out with him, and even hugging him was a little awkward. He has always been there for events and holidays, but I never felt like he actually was present or that I could talk to him. Last year, my father received treatment for his PTSD, and he returned a completely different person. I remember the day he came home, he walked in and he looked me in my eyes and said "Hello!" and hugged me. At that moment, I knew my dad was in there and happy to be home. I felt like at 20 years old I got my dad back.
— Melissa, Clovis, California
I think my dad was a very brave man. Whenever I am low these days, I just think of him, how strong he was. My attitude toward my profession has changed. When I approach any patient's relatives in a similar situation, I recognize that they are going to lose a very important person. My dad has left me to be a better person and a better doctor. I can't bring him back, but I can try hard to be a better human being, a loving mom, a caring daughter and a great doctor.
— Rahi, Cincinnati
My dad loved model trains and built a whole town of buildings, trestles and tracks on a big sheet of plywood in the garage. My mother was not excited about him using the garage, which was for a car of course, so he attached the plywood town to a series of ropes and pulleys that lifted it miraculously to the ceiling. It seems like those trains didn't run very often, but when they did it was fabulous to watch.
— Paula, San Rafael, California
At 81, he soloed and made the front page of the newspaper. In his words, "That'll teach them to think I'm too old!" Physically, he grew shorter but so much taller as a man. His positive belief that you're never too old and that age is just a number is one I hope I've inherited. I'm 74 and going strong!
— Judy, Pagosa Springs, Colorado
My father was a rock through all of this. He stayed by Mom's side, was there for her emotionally, physically and mentally. This July, my parents will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary, and my dad decided to make it a trip to St. Lucia for 10 days. My dad has taught me the true meaning of life and love.
— Jacqueline, Endicott, New York
His litany was always, "Look 20 miles ahead, because I'm not always going to be here." My father set a bar by loving and appreciating us and always believing when others doubted. I didn't realize it until I got older that he was teaching my sister and me how to love each other and that his legacy was ensuring neither of us would be left alone in this world.
— April, Pleasant Hill, California
My dad is going to some country called Africa and is going to write 10 songs in 10 days in the hopes of inspiring generations into global action. I don't even know what global action is, but it sounds important. My dad does a lot of cool things like color with me, take me to the park and take care of my mommy. He tells me that going to Africa to write 10 songs in 10 days is his way to raise awareness. Sometimes I wish I could raise his awareness about me not getting enough candy.
— Baylee, via her mom, Christie, Conyers, Georgia
Over the years, I have met hundreds of baby boomers who tell me my father came to their grade school. Amazingly, each person who tells me this story also recounts how great they felt the day my dad came to their school. This is what I have learned from him and have modeled in my life. It is how you interact with people on a daily basis that leaves a lifelong impression.
— Charlotte, Des Plaines, Illinois
— Gwen, Alberta, Canada
The notes would give me pointers like "stay low on defense," "use your legs when you shoot" and "keep your dribble down." He also would pull in the positives from the previous game and also the things I needed to work on. At the end of each note, Dad would remind me to relax and to have fun. The very last line of the letter was always, "No matter the outcome of the game, I'm very proud of you and I love you very much." This simple line to me was huge, considering that I lost nearly three times as many games as I won in high school.
Sometimes I still dig the letters out that he wrote just to read them. My dad would get home really late from work and stay up really late or get up really early in order to get my letter done. On one occasion he forgot to write it before I left for school, but when I got home after school to get my stuff to go back to the gym, you better believe that the note was there. To my dad, the act was simple but to me it was so much more. Just knowing that he believed in me, no matter if we won or lost, helped so much. This is why my dad is great!
— Jancye, Arkansas City, Kansas
He has been a firefighter/paramedic for 25 years, dedicating his life to helping and protecting those in need. And at the age of 36, I made a huge career change and followed in his footsteps. Now we have even more in common—the fire service. Both Dale and my sister, Heather, have never failed to support and guide me throughout my life. We all have a very close relationship and I would be lost without them.
— Margaret, Fallbrook, California
In the last six years, my dad has had esophagus cancer, kidney cancer (had to have a kidney removed), went through weeks of chemo and radiation and treatment. He was given only a 50/50 chance of surviving his esophagus surgery, was in a coma for 21 days after that and was told by one doctor that if he did survive that he would be dead in two years anyways! That doctor was wrong! He then developed prostate cancer and had a heart attack. And as of this very week, he may be facing a new battle with lung cancer. But the man is a survivor and strong and has no plans on giving up anytime soon!
I want the world to know what a great man he is and that I owe everything to him! I want him to know that no matter what happens, I will always be there for him and that I say a thank you every day for having him as my dad. He is the bravest, most loving father any man could be, and I hope if I have children [that I] follow in his path! He taught me so many things, including that a father's love and time is what children need and want more than anything. He gave both of those things and more, and for that I will be forever grateful!
— Bobby, Normal, Illinois
When I came out to my parents their reaction was less than thrilled and they asked me to move out. Bob continued mentoring me and helped me through the roughest time in my life. I felt that even though I was so alone, I wasn't alone. As I weathered my senior year living in an apartment by myself, working two jobs and finishing high school, I always had the support of Bob and his partner, Joe. I moved the following year to Chicago to attend Loyola University and have recently finished my master's.
While Bob is not my father, he is my dad. As my relationship with my true parents has mended over the years, I have watched as they show their admiration to Bob for the time they couldn't be there for me as parents while they dealt with their own issues surrounding my being gay. In retrospect, I don't know if I would have been able to accomplish the things I have had it not been for Bob pushing me the entire way and reminding me that I was never alone.
— Jason, Chicago
— Sarah, Ann Arbor, Michigan
My father taught me the value of unconditional love. Every morning, he greeted me with, "Good morning, Sunshine." His eyes lit up every time I came into his line of vision. My father taught me the value of education. He was valedictorian, but didn't get to go to college. College was always a given for my sisters and me.
My father told me that I was so valuable. He spent all kinds of time with me. My favorite times were on Saturday mornings when he had to go into his office at the railroad. I would sit outside his office, in front of the newsstand. I would get to read as many comic books as I could before he finished and he would pay for whichever one I was holding when he finished. When I went off to college, he wrote me a letter every week. I still have those letters. When my father died at age 69, I was devastated. I can still hear his voice. I am the woman I am because of my father. I know he would be proud.
— Barb, Herkimer, New York