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Four Priceless Gifts for Father’s Day

June 15, 2017 | by Debbie Gutfreund

An open letter to my dad.

Dear Dad,

I thought about buying you another “World’s Best Dad” hat or a coffee mug that says “Number One Grandpa,” but what I really want to give you are some gifts from the heart, like the countless gifts you’ve given to me over the years.

You taught me how to become an athlete by coaching all of my little league games, playing endless games of tennis with me on Sunday afternoons, and always encouraging me to keep pushing against my own perceived limits. You showed me the beauty of the world by taking us scuba diving to the bottom of ocean floors and biking down mountains. You taught me how to work hard and to focus on my goals, and to believe in myself when no one else did. So here are four Father’s Day gifts I am giving you along with the coffee mug.

1. Gratitude. Thank you for being the kind of father who has been there for me for as long as I can remember. Thank you for listening to my endless stories and for nurturing my love of reading, writing and learning. Thank you for showing up at every single one of my school games and plays. For knowing the names of all my friends and teachers. For celebrating my victories with me and for bringing me up when I was down. Thank you for continuing to be an endless source of support and love in my life. For being an amazing grandfather and a great running coach. For all this and so much more, thank you.

2. Honor. I want you to know how much I look up to you, not only for all that you have accomplished in your life, but for being the kind of role model that every child should have. Your integrity, wisdom and dependability are examples for everyone around you. Your knowledge and advice continue to be indispensable to me.

3. Optimism. Now that I have teenagers of my own, I know what a gift it is to be able to honestly tell your father that you know that no matter what happens, tomorrow will bring new possibilities and promise. You taught me to take my challenges in stride. So I’m giving back to you that sense of optimism that you give me when I speak to you about obstacles I’m encountering by letting you know that I know I can overcome it. That I know it will ultimately make me stronger and that approaching things with a positive attitude changes reality itself. I see not only that the glass is half full, but that the glass is there at all.

4. Love. The love that you’ve always given to me and my children is precious and unconditional. We are so blessed to have a source of such strong, relentless love in our lives. There is not a day that I take that love for granted. So I want you to know how very much I love you and how grateful I am to be your daughter.

Rabbi Israel Salanter said, “Character is a person’s only real possession.” For me, you are the manifestation of those words, and you have taught me to treasure the real gifts in life. May we share many more father- daughter adventures and races together. Happy Father’s Day!


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