I watch my friend Eric, up at the podium, talking about his dad, Allan Schwartzman. Eric shares a jumble of moments and experiences, their life together… the best snowball fight, their tennis matches, how his dad never let him win, the pride when Eric finally, rightfully beat his father for the first time on the tennis court, his dad’s complete joy at the birth of Eric’s two sons even as he faced his own demon, cancer.
Eric’s deep love and respect for his father emanates in every tale from his childhood. He recounts how, when it came to a task, his father would always ask him, “How would you do this?” And his dad would support him, even if “Eric’s way” took a zillion times longer or turned out to be completely wrong. It just didn’t matter. Because that’s what a good father does for his son.
The story makes me think about my own children. It reminds me to be more patient and let them discover how to do things themselves – even if it takes 2 minutes longer, 20 minutes longer or even if the task never quite gets done the way I envision.
3 year-old Dylan is always screeching and hollering to, “do it MYSELF” and whenever possible, I really need to let her. There is nothing bad that comes out of a spilled yogurt container on the floor, shoes temporarily on the wrong feet or scrambled eggs with a few bits of shells. Because it’s those memories, those bits of shells, that will stay with Dylan as she grows into an independent, confident person.
Eric’s father was clearly someone who brought boisterous joy, humor and passion into this world. Eric said he could have talked all afternoon about his dad. I, and everyone else in that chapel, would have been content to listen.