I thank God every day for my dad…

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…and every day I am reminded that ‘I am my father’s son’. As I get older, I am more and more aware of the positive impact he has had on my life…

Recently, I attended Mass with my parents and there he was again — reading the Epistle at Church [photo above]. It gave me pause to think about his influence on my life. Here are just a few of the many of the things he taught me:

A Lohenry’s place is at the front of the room.

I don’t mean this in a vain way. In a world where most people would rather die or have a root canal than speak in public, my dad modeled public speaking as a way of life for me. My earliest public memories of him are like this — reading at church, leading the worship team, etc. Because of his example, I became a consultant, a teacher and a public speaker who thrives on being in the front of the room. I am my father’s son…

It’s ok to have a big vocabulary — words have meaning and it’s good to know what those meanings are and be able to use them effectively.

I remember sitting around the dinner table and my father would bring up a ‘word of the day’ — some new word that had interested him recently. Sometimes, it would be a joke with a fractured pun with a punchline like ‘people who live in grass houses shouldn’t stow thrones’. He passed on a love of language and wordplay that has become my passion and my craft. In my academic career, I studied German, French, Russian, Croatian and Norwegian and my mastery of English vocabulary is well-known — I can only trace this love of language and communication to his influence. I am my father’s son…

Technology is fun and awesomely powerful.

When I was in college, I was a German major and my father was a systems analyst working with mainframe computers in the ‘glass house’. Every time I wanted to understand more about his passion, he’d sit down and start drawing diagrams to explain computers at the machine level and it would go nowhere. Later still, I used one of my electives to take a FORTRAN programming class back in the day of punch cards and mainframes because I wanted to better understand his world. I gave him the final project for that class on Father’s Day 31 years ago and told him ‘I don’t ever want to have anything to do with computers ever again’. Well, it would seem that he had the last laugh on that one! These days, among other things I am a website developer and I just launched his new site yesterday. The business blogging that I do is the perfect marriage of communication and technology — again, I am my father’s son…

Adoption is a loving option.

My father met and married my mom and me when I was around three years old and he adopted me at the age of five. There was nothing in his life that prepared him for this situation but he stepped up to the challenge. I still remember going before the judge and having him ask if I wanted this man to be my father. I don’t know if it would’ve made much difference if I said no but I do know that saying yes has made all the difference in my life. Not only did my yes open the door to a lifelong relationship with a man who always did his best to be a dad but later in life when I fell in love with a beautiful single-parent much like my mom I did not think twice about whether I could adopt her son. We have formed a family of eight people who would not exist without his example. I am my father’s son…

Real men cry.

That’s all, real men cry and it gives me great pleasure to know that he’s crying as he reads this just as I am crying while I write it…

I could go on and I will at some point I’m sure, but as I reread this before clicking the publish button, I’m reminded of the song ‘Leader of the Band’ — perhaps one of the world’s greatest musical testimonies to fatherhood…

The leader of the band is tired
And his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through
My instrument
And his song is in my soul —
My life has been a poor attempt
To imitate the man
I’m just a living legacy
To the leader of the band.

I may not play guitar like Dan Fogelberg, but my ‘instrument’ is my words — spoken and written — combined with my computer skills. ‘I’m just a living legacy’ and I AM my father’s son…

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