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Ken Beaton: The acorn doesn’t fall far from the oak tree

By Ken Beaton

My 2017 Father’s Day commentary advised the reader to ask their dad more questions because, “Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.” Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

In 2018, my commentary advised the reader to give the gift of their time. Spend time with your dad on Father’s Day and other days creating memories.

Last year I wrote, “Remember, anytime you point your index finger at another person, you have three fingers pointing at you, a three to one ratio of blame. Forgiving another person, will free you. Today could be the beginning of a new relationship with your dad. Similar to lawyers in their TV ads, ‘Take the first step.”

Father’s Day is Sunday with all the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, self-isolation, social distancing and wearing a face mask.

Don’t attempt to give me an “excuse” as to why you can’t ask your dad questions about himself, spend some time with your dad. I hope you’re not the person who blames his/her dad for everything wrong in their life!

“Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” Be creative! Maybe your dad has passed away, go visit his grave marker or the place where his ashes were scattered. Make sure that nobody is within listening distance while you have a soft conversation with your dad. Begin by sincerely apologizing for your bad behavior or insulting remarks to him.

Maybe a cemetery visit is a geographic obstacle. If you aren’t a member already, join Ancestry.com and begin to discover “leaves” in your family tree. Discover all the shoulders you stand upon today. You didn’t suddenly appear on this planet one day.

If you’re unemployed, ask 11 relatives or friends to contribute $10 each for a total of $110 to order an Ancestry.com DNA test. It takes at least six weeks to receive your results plus Ancestry will email you updates to contact a possible “distant” relative who had their DNA analyzed, too. Share every update with your relatives!

Stop accepting excuses for doing or not doing something, and you’ll become a person in control, a powerhouse. You’ll amaze yourself and the people who know you.

I need a commitment from you. That’s right. I’m going to hold your feet to the fire, be accountable. When will you begin your first day of “no excuses?” Are you related to Scarlet O’Hara from the movie, Gone with The Wind? “Afterall, tomorrow is another day!” Scarlet created the question, “Why do today what I can put off ‘til tomorrow.”

From the back of the room there’s a raised hand, “Hi, my name is Butch. What if my dad passed away?”

“OK, do you have an uncle, grandfather or an older male cousin?

“Nope!”

“Rick, I can see by the silly smirk on your face, you think you’ve one upped me. Fat chance. I’m going to drive you to the new Veterans’ Home in Reno. We’ll walk into the lobby and I’ll pick a veteran for you to ‘adopt’ as your dad or grandad. Ask him numerous questions about his successes and failures in life. Take good notes and type at least two interesting pages, double spaced. Remember, I don’t want to fall asleep reading something boring!”

“Butch, I can see by the amazed expression on your inexperienced face; you thought you had me stumped. Never forget, Old age and cunning will always overcome youth and enthusiasm.”

To quote Humphrey Bogart’s final line from the movie, Casablanca, “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

“How do I get this Vet talking about himself?”

“Good question. I would suggest, you ask him what division he served during his war? Then ask follow-up questions. Were you in the frontline or were you one of the important support troops behind the lines? Did you have any ‘close calls? How long did you serve? When were you discharged? How did you celebrate when you were discharge? Can you remember what you did do? After being discharged, did you use your GI benefits to learn a skill or earn a degree? Remember, don’t let your Vet off the hook with one-word answers. Press for more details, ‘Were you ever scared?”

“Remember, every vet has a story. It’s your job to relax your vet, maybe tell him a joke or two. Get him to share the details of his story with you. Don’t be afraid to gently wheel your vet to a location at the Vets’ home where he is comfortable and relaxed, maybe outside in the shade with a view.”

After gathering his interesting story, before you leave, look into your vet’s eyes and say, “Thank you for your service and your time today.”

Give him a firm handshake or an elbow bump if we’re still social distancing.

For all you dads on this planet share your story and, Happy Father’s Day.