As we honor fathers this Sunday, area dads pass along lessons learned and wise words that have guided them.
“It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish,” Walt Holt often tells his son and daughter. That philosophy applies to almost everything — sports, career and personal life, the Liberty dad said. “You probably will make mistakes along the way. If you learn from those mistakes, it will make you a better person.”
Scott Burgess of Lee’s Summit always urged his son and daughter, who now have their own children, to respect the beliefs of others without forfeiting their own.
His own father would say, listen quietly to your intuition. “When in doubt — don’t.” “When I haven’t heeded those few words of wisdom,” Burgess said, “I have regretted my decision.”
“I’ve tried to stress the importance of being dependable,” said Kevin Clark of Kansas City, who has a 20-year-old son. “Whether you’re on a sports team or working for an organization, your team members or co-workers have to be able to rely on you.”
Years ago Clark’s father advised him to “get good” at whatever he wanted to do for a living. “So I made it a point early on to ‘get good’ at the things I was most interested in.”
David Michael of Raymore hopes to instill in his daughter, 10, and son, 8, some basic principles he learned. “Make family the number one priority,” Michael says. “Do not rely on anyone else for your happiness. Find the good in each situation. A lot can be accomplished with a firm handshake and a smile. There is no greater gift than the gift of service. Be a positive influence in your community. Take some time out each day to enjoy your blessings.”
When Damon Shilhanek’s two sons were growing up, the Lee’s Summit father would say, “Make your own decisions, but be sure to listen to the advice of those who love and care about you. If things don’t work out the way you expected, don’t give up — adapt and move forward.”
Shilhanek says he learned a lot about perseverance from his father’s example. “He always made every sacrifice possible so his kids could have what they needed.”
Troy Sheeley of Kansas City tries to teach his 10-year-old son and daughters, 7 and 3, to treat others as they would want to be treated. “If they lead with their heart, they will almost always come out on top.”
Sheeley says his dad’s love was demonstrated more by actions than words. “He’s one of those people who rarely says no to volunteering and it’s worn off on me. It’s one of his most endearing qualities.”
Mike McCoy of Kansas City, North, tells his five sons and daughter, ranging in age from 20 to 6, that all things are possible if they work hard and have faith.
Although McCoy’s father died when he was in high school, he continues to serve as a role model. “After he was gone, if I had a tough decision to make,” he said, “I would ask myself, what would Dad do in this situation.”
One of McCoy’s favorite Bible passages, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another,” describes the impact fathers have on their children. He encourages dads to “rise to the occasion, lead by example and cherish every moment.”