Tag Archives: character

The Last Conversation with My Father

I was watching a documentary on the Israeli raid on Entebbe and they were interviewing the operators on the raid. One of them said that when he returned he saw his father. His father had lost his entire family in the Holocaust and had been in Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp himself. He told his father that, “…we are now able to rescue Jews around the world and this is something that Jews had been unable to do when my father and his family needed rescuing.” He concluded by saying, “My father said, ‘you’ve done well.’ He was proud.”

Here’s a guy who had taken part in one of the most successful rescue operations in the history of the world and what he was most happy about was that his father was proud of him. I connected with the man because of that. As men, we look for the recognition of our fathers and want to make them proud. It made me recall my last conversation with my father.

The last conversation I had with my father went something like this on the phone about a week before he passed away. I don’t remember the entire specific conversation, but I recall two snippets of the talk and it went something like this:

“Dad, you do what you need to do.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Well, if the pain is too much and you need to go, I understand.”
“Eric, I don’t even know what that means.”
“Then don’t worry about it.”

“Dad, I love you. I always have and I always will.”
(I hear him kind of laugh)
“Eric, I’ve know that my entire life. I love you too.”

I spoke with him often once I got to his house before he passed away. But he was unable to respond except in half-smiles and eyes of recognition. In retrospect, I think dad knew what I meant, but I don’t think he knew how to quit or give up.

One of the reasons I include this on my blog is because I don’t want to forget this conversation. I have a horrible memory. I want to be able to tell my kids this information when I’m old, just as my father told me his last talks with his father.

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A Few of My Favorite Quotes

Churchill, Winston. My Early Life, 1874-1904. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. Chapter 9 (Education At Bangalore)

Winston Churchill said, “It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations…The quotations when engraved upon the memory give you good thoughts. They also make you anxious to read the authors and look for more.”

And here is my list of favorite quotes. Along with all the ones I’ve published and collected under the tab “PN6080 Quotes” and you can find them here.
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“Sic Parvis Magna” ~ Heraldic motto of Sir Francis Drake (1540 – 1596)
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“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ~William Arthur Ward (on my resume)
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“De gustibus non est disputandum” ~Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, 1880
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“The best-fitting defensive armor of old age,…consists in the knowledge and practice of the virtues, which, assiduously cultivated, after the varied experiences of a long life, are wonderfully fruitful, not only because they never take flight, not even at the last moment, — although this is a consideration of prime importance, — but because the consciousness of a well-spent life and a memory rich in good deeds afford supreme happiness.” ~Cicero, Cicero de Senectute (on Old Age), 44 BC
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“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes” ~ Juvenal (1st Century – 2nd Century AD) (Satire VI, lines 347–8)
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“Some make themselves out to be victims their whole life, others take responsibility for their choices and mistakes and begin to have a life.” ~ Marie Keller Ploof
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“…a primary object of such a national institution should be the education of our youth in the science of government…” ~George Washington
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“To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.” ~Thomas Jefferson
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“Placing labels on historians is too often ‘a substitute for careful reading, research, and intellectual endeavor.'” ~Merill Jensen vis-a-vis Pauline Maier
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“Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company.” ~George Washington (from a French proverb)
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“Our students need a curriculum that treats them more like potential performers than sideline observers.” ~Grant Wiggins
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“Leadership is a choice. It’s the choice not to do nothing.” ~Seth Godin
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“Each time you coerce someone into doing something by using your power of authority, you deprive that person of an opportunity to become more responsible.” ~ Dr. Marvin Marshall
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“Higher education doesn’t reflect the life that students are living. In that life, information is available on demand, files are shared, and the world is mobile and connected. Today’s colleges, on the other hand, are typically ‘tethered, isolated, generic, and closed.'” ~David Wiley
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“See where her Heroes mark their glorious way,
Arm’d for the fight and blazing on the day
Blood stains their steps; and o’er the conquering plain,
‘Mid fighting thousands and ‘mid thousands slain,
Their eager swords promiscuous carnage blend,
And ghastly deaths their raging course attend.
Her mighty pow’r the subject world shall see;
For laurel’d Conquest waits her high decree.”
~John Trumbull, 1770 Yale Commencement
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“I think I can” ~The Little Engine That Could
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“The sun’ll come out tomorrow. So ya gotta hang on ’til tomorrow” ~ Strouse, Charles. Tomorrow. Annie. 1977
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“When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad” ~ Rodgers & Hammerstein. My Favorite Things. The Sound of Music. 1959
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“No one can know where we are at all times. Not even us.” ~Skipper, Penguins of Madagascar
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“You dense, irritating, miniature beast of burden!” ~Shrek to Donkey
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“You can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you!” ~Monty Python (Search for the Holy Grail)
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“Are you crying? There’s no crying in baseball!” ~Tom Hanks (A League of Their Own)
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Bob Sweeney: “There was a moment…like this. When I used to blame everything and everyone…for all the pain and suffering and vile things that happened to me, that I saw happen to my people. Used to blame everybody. Blamed white people, blamed society, blamed God. I didn’t get no answers cause I was asking the wrong questions. You have to ask the right questions.”
Derek Vinyard: “Like what?”
Bob Sweeney: “Has anything you’ve done made your life better?” ~American History X
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“Fifty years from now, when you’re looking back at your life, don’t you want to be able to say you had the guts to get in the car? ” ~Sam (Transformers)
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“I’m Buck Melanoma. Moley Russell’s wart. Not her wart. Not her wart! I’m… I’m the wart. She’s my tumor. My… my growth. My… uh, my pimple. I’m Uncle Wart. Just old Buck “Wart” Russell. That’s what they call me, or Melanoma Head. They’ll call me that. “Melanoma Head’s coming.” I’m s… uncle! Maisy Russell’s uncle!” ~Uncle Buck
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“I don’t think I want to know a six-year-old who isn’t a dreamer, or a sillyheart. And I sure don’t want to know one who takes their student career seriously. I don’t have a college degree. I don’t even have a job. But I know a good kid when I see one. Because they’re ALL good kids, until dried-out, brain-dead skags like you drag them down and convince them they’re no good.” ~Uncle Buck

Thought for the Day – July 19th

07-19

Elliot, Walter. The Spiritual Life: Doctrine and Practice of Christian Perfection. 1918
SEE: http://archive.org/stream/thespirituallife00ellliuoft#page/n377/mode/2up/search/Perseverance
WEB PRESENCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Elliott
KEYWORDS: perseverance, endurance, character, goals