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Finding my Deaf Dad
Finding my Deaf Dad
My Dad lost his hearing in the U.S. Army.
He was stationed in Alaska during WWII, building the Alaska Highway. It was bitterly cold -- so cold that he lost most of his hearing and needed aids to get by.
Think that stopped him? Not a chance.
Let me share a few thoughts about my Dad, Sam Goldman.
The very fact that he was in the Army was unusual. Folklore has it that he was only a minor when he joined. And of course, there’s a minimum age of enlistment for the U.S. Army.
So how did that happen?
Well, my Dad was scrupulously honest. As far as I know, he only told a lie once… about his age, so that he could enlist in the U.S. Army! In fact, we even have a photo of my Dad standing in line at the Recruitment Office.
He was legally deaf, but he got by with giant hearing aids. He never considered himself handicapped. He just viewed it as something to overcome.
Because my Dad couldn’t hear, he became a great writer.
I remember so many things my Dad taught me. For example, my Dad used to say “always give them a choice between something and something!”
At his funeral, there were hundreds of people. And over and over I heard, “your Dad was totally honest.”
Wow. What a powerful legacy.
Ready for a challenge?
I said I’d give you a chance to win a free mini digital photo frame. So here it is:
Take a look at this photo from 1971. That’s my Dad on the far right.
Can you spot me in the pic?
Here’s the deal:
Tell me which kid is Jon and win a free mini digital photo frame.
The first 20 people to email me and correctly identify which of the Little League stars is me will win a mini digital photo frame.
Fast forward to today.
Here’s a little secret for you. I’ve never loved baseball. And I’m not particularly good at it, either.
I don’t love the game. But I really love my son.
And so for the last 5 years, I’ve been coaching my son’s baseball team. Not because of a passion for the sport, but because it’s important to spend time with my son.
And that’s the secret I want to leave you with.
The secret is time.
The biggest lie is “It’s quality time, not quantity time that counts.”
Sorry, but I don’t buy that. That’s a pretty poor excuse, and it’s one clearly invented by guilty fathers.
It’s quality and quantity that count. And whether it’s baseball or any other pastime that your kids enjoy, it’s up to you to make time for your kids. It comes down to time.
That’s how I found my Dad. He made time for us -- and he was there for us.
Can your kids find you?
The thing about real Dads is, they’re not like the ones on TV
It’s almost Father’s Day, so it’s a fitting time to think about our Dads. Especially about the things we learned.
Not just the little stuff – like how to ride a bike, throw a ball, or drive a car – but also the crucial stuff like how to live, how to grow, and how to thrive on the unpredictable path of life.
Father Knows Best
Robert Young in the TV series “Father Knows Best” was the nemesis of American dads who held him up as a role model and cursed him for exposing their own failings. He was a pleasant and aspirational figure who set the standard for modern-day fathers—the ultimate breadwinner, kind, patient, and steady.
Great TV Dads
So many great TV dads back then:
- The cool Mike Brady of "The Brady Bunch"
- The honorable Ward Cleaver of “Leave It To Beaver”
- The steady-as-a-rock Steve Taylor in “My Three Sons”
- The big-hearted Andy Taylor on “The Andy Griffith Show”
- And of course, the amazing Cliff Huxtable of "The Cosby Show.”
Great Dads in Modern History
Go back further into history, and examples of fatherhood shine even more brightly:
- George Washington, the childless father of our country
- Nelson Mandela, the father of freedom in South Africa
- Miles Davis, the father of modern jazz
Not-So-Great TV Dads
Of course, there’s an endless cavalcade of “worst dads” on TV.
- The irascible Archie Bunker in “All in the Family”
- The mouthy Al Bundy in “Married with Children”
- The dark Tony Soprano in “The Sopranos”
- The bumbling Peter Griffin in “The Family Guy”
Here, fatherhood is the brunt of jokes, not a beacon for good behavior.
The truth is, I’ve always disliked the depictions of fathers as inept dolts. Why focus on the worst of Dads when there are so many to look up to?
But while all these characters have had a heavy influence on the American culture of fatherhood, only one matters most.
Your own Dad.
What did you learn from your dad? Have you been able to apply the lessons? Or overcome the obstacles?
And most importantly, if you’re a Dad yourself, what kind of Dad are you? What are you giving your kids? What are you teaching the next generation?
You see, there are many titles you can gain throughout life. Supervisor. Manager. Vice President. Chief Executive Officer.
But there are other people with those titles.
The title that matters most is World’s Best Dad. Because for your own kids, nobody else has that title.
Here’s my bottom-line list of ways to become the World’s Greatest Dad.
- Be home for dinner
- Take your kid to practice (swimming, lacrosse, tennis, basketball…)
- Go to PTA
- Set “Special Time” for each child and put it in your calendar; plan for it and it will happen
- Don’t check your email for 10 minutes before you’re scheduled to leave the office (I’ve failed miserably at this one!)
- Read a book to your kid
- Play catch or kid games on the floor
- If your kids are into a video game, actually show interest (even if you think the game is stupid)
- Don’t be a “just a minute” Dad… you know, the Dad who is constantly playing with his phone and saying “just a minute”
- Let them know that they are the most important to you
- And, lastly, if you are traveling, use your phone to send one minute videos saying where you are and how much you love them. It's a fun, quick and powerful way to connect with your family.
Yes, many of us travel quite a bit (I know a thing or two about that!) and can’t always be home.
Yes, most of us have a lot going on (in addition to Brand Launcher, I’m involved in several not-for-profit ventures that are very important to me).
Yes, we’re all busy.
But if someone is important to you… if we take our roles as Dad seriously… if we want to earn that title of World’s Greatest Dad…
… then somehow, we need to make time for our kids.
Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go.
Jon Goldman, President, Brand Launcher