Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Father's Gift

I won't be spending Fathers Day with my father.  He lives in California, in a relatively nondescript suburb of Los Angeles.  I wish I could spend it with him, and I know he wishes I were with him.  My life has taken me far from my upbringing, and it's days like Fathers Day that make it poignantly painful. 

Nicholas Kristof, the New York Times Op-Ed writer won't be spending Fathers Day with his father either.  His father, Ladis Kristof, died a few days ago at age 91.  I read Nicholas' essay about his father and was amazed.  I am always amazed at the at people's fortitude when faced with unfathomable challenges, in this case the Holocaust, and even more amazed when people can transcend those challenges to find the good in humans.  I'm not sure I could.  Read Nicholas' essay and be inspired and humbled.  I am.

My father has been fortunate to have had a comparatively easy life when compared to Ladis'.  And in some ways, thanks to my father, my life has been easier still.  But my fortune and my father's fortune does not mean we abdicate our responsibility to be compassionate.

So on Fathers Day, when my family pampers me, I'll take time to remember that each moment I have with my boys is a moment I can teach the same compassion and empathy my father taught me.  And I hope that my boys will be as lucky as I have been.  

Thanks Dad.

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