While I’m busy out in the shed re-tooling my You Were Made for This podcast for season 8, I haven’t forgotten you. As I come across ideas and resources about relationships I think you would find helpful, I will pass them on to you.
For example, today I’m sharing from one of Susan Cain’s Kindred newsletters she sent earlier this year. I’ve mentioned her before, most recently in episode 196 of my podcast. She’s the author of Quiet – The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking. Her newest book is Bittersweet – How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole.
Here’s what she had to say about her father and what he taught her by example
Susan Cain's Kindred newsletter
As the anniversary of my father’s death approaches, I’d like to share seven things that he taught me by example.
- Do beautiful things, just for the sake of it. If you love orchids, build a greenhouse full of them in the basement. If you love the sound of French, learn to speak it fluently, even though you rarely have time to visit France. If you love organic chemistry, spend your Sundays reading “orgo” textbooks.
- Find work you love and work that matters, and do it as excellently as you can.
- Make a life where you’re as free as possible from the forces of dogma, orthodoxy, and bureaucracy.
- If you want to live a quiet life, live a quiet life. If you’re a humble person who has no use for the spotlight, be a humble person who has no use for the spotlight. No big deal.
- If you happen to be a doctor, take care of your patients – really take care of them. Study medical journals after dinner, train the next generation of physicians (my father kept teaching until age 81), spend the extra hour to sit at the bedside of every last one of your patients in the hospital.
- If you’re a husband, take care of your wife, even when she has Alzheimer’s and can’t walk and asks you the same question again and again and again and again and again and again…
- If you’re a parent, teach your children the things you love, like music and poetry, so that one day they’ll love them too. One of my earliest memories is asking my father to play the “chair record” (Beethoven’s “Emperor’s” concerto, whose name I was too young to pronounce) over and over again.
Final words with her father
My father and I talked, just before he died. He was in the hospital, trying to breathe.
“Be well, kid,” he said, as he hung up the phone.
And I have been. And so, I hope, will you.
At the end of her newsletter, Susan Cain asks a question that I’ll ask of you:
What are some of the most important things your parents taught you, or that you hope to teach other people?
The rest of our readers and I would love to read your answer to this question. So please respond either by email or in the comment box below.
For all things Susan Cain
Go to her website, where you can sign up for your own copy of her Kindred Letters, read more about her two books, and listen to her famous Ted Talk, which put her on the map. https://susancain.net
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I am lucky to have a father like Susan’s. I could make an equally long and wonderful list of the things I learned from his example. But the most important thing of all was how he’s modeled unconditional love to me. Some of my friends aren’t so lucky. My dad has made it easy for me to understand and feel the love of God—a love that pursues, no matter the cost, no matter what. I know my earthly dad’s love is here to stay, which makes trusting my heavenly father all the easier. I know my dad and I will be together forever in heaven, regardless of who arrives first. In the meantime, life on earth feels easier knowing my dad has my back. No matter what.
Thanks for sharing this about your dad, Marie!
My father taught me about patriotism. I know he loved our country and he felt that he
could contribute to it by being involved in helping veterans. He did not have to go overseas to contribute, but he spent his life doing what he could to make others’ lives better. I remember the many times we stood together and heard the National Anthem being played at memorial events and the pride I felt standing next to him.
Great comments about your father, Janet. Thanks for sharing them. It’s a sad reality that veteran organizations are having difficulty recruiting members to do what your dad did. I love the picture you painted with your words about feeling pride while standing next to your dad when our National Anthem was played.