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Three Things My Father Taught Me

June 21, 2009

In honor of Father’s Day, I’ve decided to devote this entry to my father, Jay Stegmaier. Dad lives in Chesterfield, Virginia with my mom. Here are three things that I’ve learned from my father due to the living example he set for me.

  1. Patience Dad is the most patient person you’ll ever meet. He takes his time and does things right. He’s rarely in a rush to get somewhere or to finish talking to someone. It amazes me how patient this man is. I vividly remember a family trip to DC one winter when Dad got it in his head that he wanted some pigeons on his arms (note that my father does not normally do this sort of thing). So he squirted some spray-cheese onto his jacket and stood in front of a building and waited for the pigeons to come to him. Come they did. Soon my dad was covered in pigeons, just standing there perfectly still, patiently waiting for the birds to eat the cheese.
  2. Precision Dad is precise in everything he does. He is precise in his enunciation, his diction, his pronunciation. When he works in the yard or builds something for the house, every measurement is perfect. It’s a stretch to say that I’ve inherited this trait from my father, but whenever I unfurl a roll of duct tape or guestimate the median for a nail I’m about to pound in the wall, I think twice about it.
  3. Curiosity Curiosity is kind of a lost characteristic. I think it’s undervalued. Dad was curious about soccer when I started playing it seriously, and he let me teach him how to play. He was curious about Japan and came to visit me when I studied abroad. And the flip-side is that his curiosity reflected on me–as a child, I asked Dad questions all the time, and he always knew the answer (or he looked up the correct answer, or taught me how to look up the right answer). I’m afraid that my kids are going to get a lot of made-up answers from me, but I hope I instill half the curiosity in them my father did to me. And I hope I’m just as willing to learn things from them when they start to know things I don’t.

To all fathers out there and especially my dad, Happy Father’s Day. Thanks for all the gifts you’ve given us.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jay permalink
    June 22, 2009 7:43 pm

    Actually, I did make up a few of those stories, answers, and explanations. You know the ones I’m referring to–they were usually betrayed by the gleam in my eye. And they were almost always good for a laugh. Thanks for the thoughts and tribute. I’m still learning from you. DAD

    • June 22, 2009 8:09 pm

      Well, you did a good job of mixing the real and the unreal, because i never knew the difference :). Thanks, Dad.

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