Happy Birthday Dad — Start with yourself

Today is my Father’s Birthday, and I love you so Dad.

Many years ago my Dad gave me this poem, this epitaph

written above a tomb of Anglican Bishop

in the crypts of Westminster Abbey in London, England.

He and I talk a lot about responsibility.

About duty

About service

About making a difference.

We do this drinking a lot of Folger’s coffee.

My Dad worked for 40 years at JCPenney’ s starting at fifteen years old

cleaning toilets to becoming the

fixer, the cleaner, the one sent to bring stores back up to stuff

as well as a tireless community leader, speaking at Kiwanis, the Chamber,

buying uniforms for teams, donating time and money to those in need.

He ended his career managing the largest stores across the country.

All the while ensuring our family was taken care of and

teaching us to be road trip warriors.

My wanderlust and extroverted nature

comes from our countless road trips across this beautiful

country of ours and being moved many times,

being the new kid over and over.

I still shop at Penney’s, all my favorite dresses, bras and undies

come from there.

And my wanderlust is well documented.

A 40 year career in one place is something of years past.

But it has always influenced my work ethic,

my wanting to grow things, be a part of something, to

contribute to things bigger than myself.

To build community.

And I will always look back on the days

where he would come home and sit on his

Lay-Z-Boy chair and tell us all about it

and smile.

This is the poem, and I read it all the time,

remembering that it is about what you do every day.

As a person that hopes to create change, I know the biggest

change you can make is to start with yourself.

Thank you Dad for so many things, but most of

all for being that example, every day. I love you so. Happy Birthday.

Start with yourself

When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.

But, it too, seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed my self first, then by example I would have changed my family.

From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.

Written by Head Maven & CEO, Heather Newman, Creative Maven

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