I’m going to come clean right now and share that I have daddy issues. Furthermore, I’m proud of it. No man, in my opinion, will ever surpass my father in sheer brilliance and overall greatness. That’s not a daddy issue — it’s a daddy fact.
As for the whole argument that worshiping your father is bad for your marriage — well, heck, my husband has always wholeheartedly agreed that my dad’s a role model that we should all aspire to.
Last week, my family’s role model, our touchstone, passed away.
My father, Bob Claypool, was the best of men. I always felt like I won the parent lottery to have him as my dad.
Growing up I knew he was pretty special, but it wasn’t until I became an adult that I discovered my father had a secret life. On the extreme down low, he helped people sort out their problems. He was a very private and humble person. If you told him something in confidence he wouldn’t share it with anyone. That’s why I will never know the true extent of what my dad did for other people. But I do know he was very active because whenever I go back to Texas to visit, folks randomly come up to me and ask, “Aren’t you Bob Claypool’s daughter?”
When I proudly reply, “Yes,” I usually get a story about how my dad helped them get a promotion, find a job, go back to school, or get their lives back on track. And just in case you were wondering what my dad did for a living, perhaps you’re thinking he was a pastor or some sort of counselor. Nope. He was a super hero living as a CEO.
My family called my dad “The Fixer.” We all knew he had some serious problem-solving skills. We just didn’t know that he shared his gift of using stone-cold logic combined with smarts and compassion with everyone. His other amazing talent was networking and working the phone. My dad knew people. The man would call someone who called someone else and — voila — problem solved.
In fact, that’s how I got into Baylor University. Panicking that everyone but me had gotten their acceptance letter, I rushed to my dad and freaked out. He let me finish my meltdown and then said his favorite five words, “Let me make a phone call.” The very next day I got my letter in the mail. Coincidence? I think not.
The only thank you my father required for helping you figure out how to solve whatever problem was dragging you down was that you didn’t recreate a similar situation again. I know from personal experience that he had a no-repeat-offender policy.
My dad also enjoyed a good story. I think he was probably responsible for my journalism career. He loved sending me out into the neighborhood to “collect facts” and “report back.” As a parent myself now, I’m guessing it was probably partially to get me out of the house combined with wanting the gossip on the neighbors. Although he pretended to dislike gossip, he always said he would “allow my story telling” because my “mother enjoyed it.” This would always earn my dad the grandest of eye rolls from my mom.
When he wasn’t egging on my newsgathering/snooping efforts, my dad was always busy. He had a work ethic that would kill most of us. His hobby was doing chores — the man enjoyed spending Saturday afternoons scrubbing his pool with a toothbrush and bleach. His weekend To Do List was at least two legal pages long and he approached it with military precision. There was no lazy on his watch. My kids know I’m serious about chores when I yell, “This house needs a full-on Bob Claypool.”
I think the greatest gift I got from my father was confidence. My dad believed in the power of women. He started taking me to work with him when I was 5 and always said, “If you want something done right the first time, ask a woman.” I was raised that I could do anything. When a speech professor at Baylor told me I would never make it in broadcasting, my dad simply said, “He’s given you a gift. Now you can enjoy proving him wrong.” That’s what I did.
This past summer when my son, Austin, was home from college he confessed to me that he wanted to change his major to finance. When I asked why he said, “I want to be more like Bob.” (All of my dad’s grandchildren called him Bob.)
I smiled at him and said, “Honey, the whole world needs to be more like Bob.”
And it does.