LESSONS FROM MY FATHER
Last month for Mother’s Day, I discussed the ways my mother taught me the value of education. So it only seems fair to use this month to share the lessons I learned from my father. As a hardworking entrepreneur, my dad certainly taught me a lot about self- sacrifice and customer service. But as a dad, he showed me the value of play. In his youth, my father was a great athlete — the best our family ever had. In college, he played both football and basketball, and he managed to excel at both. In fact, while he attended Rider University in 1929, he played for the Roughriders under the soon- to-be-famous head coach Clair Francis Bee. Needless to say, he didn’t have to work very hard to convince my brothers and me to go into sports. Unlike my mother, Dad was very easygoing when it came to teaching. He didn’t push anyone into picking up a sport; he just picked up a ball and tossed it to them. Dad made the value of athletics self-evident, inspiring my brothers and me to spend long summer days shooting baskets or practicing our swings. We’d come home for lunch and then get right back out there. And Dad was out with us as much as he could be. When I was very young, my father had a bad fall and injured his hip. This happened in
the 1960s, before the development of modern hip-replacement surgery. My father lived with this injury the rest of his life, unable to run without severe pain. But it didn’t stop him from being there for his kids. While he couldn’t run around with us, our father still made it out to the court to shoot baskets and pass the ball around. As we grew older and joined sports leagues, he was in the stands cheering us on as often as possible. Running the department store his father established kept him extremely busy, but he somehow found time to make it to his sons’ games. Of course, the department store presented its own opportunities to spend time with our father. Since I was 7 or 8 years old, I worked in that shop, starting with sweeping the floors and moving my way up to run the cash register. I learned a lot about customer service by watching my father during that time. He had this natural openness with the people who came into his store. He taught me to treat customers with honesty and respect — a practice I carry with me to this day. My father also embodied what it meant to have a good work ethic. He often stayed at the store until 9 p.m. and came home exhausted. During the holiday season, my mom pitched in, and neither of them made it home until
very late. I became “the hamburger king” cooking dinner for my brothers while our parents handled the Christmas rush. Dad worked hard his whole life. He was never wealthy, but he put all four of his kids through college without debt. He didn’t die a rich man, but he sure was a successful one. That was perhaps his last and greatest lesson. Throughout life, my father spent his time supporting family — and not just financially. He made an effort to be there for his kids, his wife, and his brothers. My father showed me that the time we spend with our loved ones is the most precious thing of all, and for that, I will always be grateful.
Happy Father’s Day,
Law Office of Elliott Kanter APC | (619) 231-1883
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