Monday, November 26, 2012

A Lesson From My Father

My dad grew up on the poor side of middle class. My dad and I, during a recent father-son trip to Miami, had hours upon hours to talk and I learned some things about his childhood I never knew.  Bob told me that his dad Morris was stressed all the time.  If you knew my dad well, you knew that he loathed stress and did what ever it took to avoid it or to minimize it.  In any case, Morris, my dad said, worked way too hard for way too little and for someone else, rather than for himself.  When Morris had the chance to strike out on his own, he was too afraid to do it and the opportunity—really the opportunity of a lifetime-- slipped away.  My dad as an adult always felt that Morris had made a life-altering mistake and even in the capacity of a 10 year old at the time, he knew his dad had messed up big time.  Bob learned from Morris’s mistakes and made sure to pass the lesson along to me.  

My dad—ever the giver of kind acts--was himself the recipient of kindness at key junctions in his life.  When he was 17 and a freshman at Ohio State University, his friend Eddie Stein gave my dad tuition money.  After college, an influential dentist took a liking to my dad and helped my dad get into dental school, where he ultimately met my mom.   He told us the stories over and over again and reminded us that an individual person’s kindness and actions can have a profound and a lasting positive impact on another’s life.  My dad gave to homeless people, made phone calls on behalf of mere acquaintances, and did his part to help others achieve their goals because he felt such a need to repay the kindness that he had received.  In an era of me, me, me, this was an extraordinary virtue.  

Robert S Schoor RIP.  You are missed.

The IU (your son)