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A Dad Legacy – 4 Lessons of Life

A Dad Legacy means more than just materialistic leave behinds

When you think of “A Dad Legacy” what comes to mind?

Most of us think of inheritance, money, or something of value left behind in a will.


If you ask most of us Dads, we will tell you that we really don’t have a deep-seeded desire to leave behind trust funds, college funds, or property.  Don’t get me wrong, we absolutely want the best for our kids and we want to provide everything we possibly can from a financial stand point.  However, those materialistic items of value are not how we want to be remembered.

In October of 2013, I invited 10 Dads who were diehard followers of  The Good Dad Project Facebook Page to a focus group dinner.  

All 10 Dads had a two things in common:  

First, they didn’t know each other.

Second, being a Good Dad is something that is deeply rooted in every single one of them.

When I first arranged the evening, I didn’t know what to expect.  Some of these men I knew for one month and others I knew for over twenty years.

The night was pretty awesome to say the least.  I had ten questions to ask the group.

I really wanted to understand:  

1.  What Dads wanted most out of life and Fatherhood?

2.  What they battled with most and what challenges they faced through their own lives?

After two and a half hours, we had only gotten through four out of those ten questions.  There was so much discussion that we literally ran out of time.  It was almost like every single one of them had been holding in their own story and points of view on Fatherhood for too long.  Every single one of them shared successes, struggles, and goals.

There was one question that I asked in particular:

“What do you want your legacy to be and how do you want to be remembered?”

The answers really blew me away.  There was not one mention of money, inheritance, or trust funds.  No one said anything about leaving behind anything of materialistic value.  Every single one of them desired the basics.

1.  They wanted to pass on life lessons such as:  confidence, character, and integrity.

2.  They wanted to pass on lasting positive memories of spending time together.  Whether it be playing dress up (for those who had daughters) to taking their sons fishing and camping.

3.  They wanted to pass on family values and traditions.

4.  They just wanted their kids to remember how much their Dad really loved them.

Growing up, I didn’t have a stable father figure in my life.

I don’t share that out of a plea for pity.

In fact, I don’t know many parents my age that came from a family that was not affected by separation, divorce, or family struggles.   It seems almost “abnormal” for to come from a family that hasn’t had a huge struggle of some kind.

Looking back, there was one man who really stepped up to the challenge of being a father figure.  My grandpa, Roy, was the most amazing man I have ever met.

He was a confident and genuine man.

He loved to socialize and interact with people.   He would talk to anyone and everyone.

He was “that guy.”

He didn’t drive a fancy car.  He didn’t have a huge home.  He was a blue collar worker and worked very hard.

The aspect I really respected about my Grandpa is he didn’t seek out to be liked.  As I remember, he really didn’t care if people liked him or not.  He didn’t seek validation or approval.  He was truly an old fashion man who stood for what he believed.

He loved people.  That was the exact reason people loved him.

What Legacy did he pass on?

He didn’t pass down money or anything materialistic.  He wasn’t able to pass down a trust fund or large inheritance.

He passed down the best and most valuable lessons of life…

Lesson  #1:  A Dad Legacy means you don’t need a lot money to live a happy life

My grandpa didn’t come from wealth, nor did he have a lot of money.  He worked hard.  His work ethic was above and beyond anyone I have ever met.  He drove a truck for 7up for 40 years.  He would wake up at 3:30am every morning just so he could get out on the road early enough to make it home for dinner with his family.  Money wasn’t important to him.  Time with his family was above anything materialistic.

Lesson #2:  Compliment others and mean it

My grandpa was such a generous man when it came to affection and compliments.  He was always there with a warm smile, a big hug, or a pat on the back when you needed it most.  I remember him always being so affectionate with my grandma.  Even at the end of his life (at 73 years old), he would hug and kiss my grandma.  He always told her how much he loved her.  You could tell he meant it.

Lesson #3:  Talk to strangers, be nice to everyone, and be a person who enjoys people

As a young boy, I went everywhere with my grandpa.  Looking back, I remember everyone (literally everyone) knowing him.  It didn’t matter if we were in church, shopping for groceries, or picking out donuts at our favorite donut shop (Old Town Donuts), people knew him.  Not only did they know him, but they would light up when they would see him.  He greeted everyone with a smile.  People genuinely enjoyed being around him.

Lesson #4:  Spend time with your family

Growing up, my grandpa always took me fishing.  Fishing was one of the joys of his life.  He would take me on weekend trips to go trout fishing when I was just five years old.  I remember being just a little guy and always tangling the fishing lines.  My grandpa would literally spend the majority of the time trying to untangle my line or bait my hook.  I remember feeling so bad that I tangled my line and I would apologize over and over.  He would just smile, look down at me, and say…

“It doesn’t matter what I am doing…as long as I am with you.  I don’t mind untangling your line, baiting your hook, or helping you pull in a big fish…as long as I am with you…I enjoy every minute.”

I learned so many lessons from my grandpa.  He was such an amazing man.

Thank you again for all your continued support for our Good Dad Project Community.  There are so many resources out there for moms, but very few for Dads who just want to make a difference.  If you haven’t become a free member of our community, please sign up.  Your email will never be rented, shared, or sold.  Our community is about helping Dads be their best…simple as that.


All the best!


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