Life has a way of getting your attention…so does death. Recently 3 fathers I know passed away unexpectedly. In April while vacationing with my family I received news that my closest cousin Bobby died from a heart attack. He was just a year older than me at age 58, a father of 3 and a guy everyone loved because of his enthusiasm for life and his family. We spent a lot of summers together as kids and went fishing just last summer and had lots of laughs. He was like a brother to me.
A couple weeks ago we learned that my wife’s friend and former co-worker drown while saving a young girl’s life in Lake Erie. Pete was the father of 4, only 43, and was admired for his strong values, easy going personality and genuine concern for others. It surprised no one that he didn’t think twice about risking his life to save someone.
And then several days later we received news from our son-in-law that one of his friends collapsed while exercising and could not be revived. Dan was 36, a teacher, coach and the father of 3. The outpouring of emotion from his students, friends and family about how much his life impacted them was immense.
All these great Dads were doing their best everyday to live up to the title of “Father” … protecting, providing, teaching, caring and loving.
Father’s Day will have a different meaning to those families who have just lost their Dad’s…just as it does for those of us who no longer have their fathers. My Dad has been gone 15 years as of June 4th and I still miss him terribly. My wife’s Dad has been gone for 10 years, it changes how you feel about this holiday and all holidays in general.
And so what can we learn from these events that can help those of us who are fathers? I can’t speak for everyone but a few thoughts come to mind. First, the obvious: Life is a gift. We have no idea how long we have on this earth. It’s easy to assume that we will all live to be over 85 years old. It’s likely Bobby, Pete and Dan felt they would to, but their young lives were cut short.
They will never see their kids graduate from high school, college, get married and have their own kids…they will never be grandfathers.
Like these fathers, most of us wouldn’t hesitate to protect our loved ones -or even die for them. But it is also a good reminder to ask ourselves as fathers how are we “living” for them? Are we taking care of ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually? Are we modeling behavior our kids can learn from on how to treat others and each other? Are we teaching them gratitude by being grateful for the gifts of this life? Are we teaching them to love by loving others- including people who are hard to love?
Are we teaching them responsibility by demonstrating it in our own lives by our work ethic and how we are providing security to our families in case life doesn’t turn out like we planned? Do we as fathers have the financial security blanket of life insurance in place that will allow the most important people in our lives to achieve the dreams and goals we want for them- just in case we are suddenly taken from this earth?
Life insurance can never be a substitute for having a Dad but it can provide proof and help remind loved ones everyday of the Legacy every good father wants to be remembered for ; a father that demonstrated how to protect, provide, teach, care for and love.
Will Adamczyk is a Certified Financial Planner professional with Ramsburg Insurance & Financial Services, He focuses on Retirement and Income Planning for the Baby Boomer generation.