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What would Dad do?

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By Optic Editorial Board

Lots of us have heard the song “The Living Years,” by Mike & The Mechanics, at least a few times.

Many of us knew our fathers’ expectations of us ­­— and have on our consciences, in one direction or another, how well we measured up to those expectations.

This is far more important to some folks than others; it makes sense that those of us closest to our parents would not only know their expectations, but also make a regular practice of letting others know they plan to honor such legacies.

However, some of us  didn’t know our fathers that well, or don’t know much about them at all. How would we know and/or feel what those fathers wanted us to be?

Part of that answer comes from history. Those of us who grew up without fathers in our lives, who have been fortunate in learning, at some point, about their life, sensibilities, values and morals and those of their families, gain at least a little bit of insight about how their fathers lived and wanted others to live.

Not all of our parents’ legacies need to be carried on. For example, some fathers are or were known criminals. However, nearly every adult has at least a few positive ideas for living or goals and dreams, and pursuing those same intangibles is where we ought to try to go in life.

Jada Pinkett Smith said of her famous husband, Will Smith, that “the emotional support he offers his children is immeasurable.”  The testimony of one’s own families about fantastic fathers is great and needed, along with public recognition of famous and not-so-famous dads is often powerful and revealing history many others learn later about their once-known fathers can sometimes be just as poignant and encouraging.

Even those who have no family ties to their ancestors can usually find the digital footprint, these days, to learn what they might have inherited or have in common with Dad; not wanting to emulate or associate with the ways or journey of one’s father is understandable, but we all should know who preceded us, and what sort of  biology and physiology we share with them.

We can also assume most fathers want their children to succeed and live in relative peace.

Whether our fathers are people we see every day and share nearly everything with, or merely memories and stories and second-hand tales of yore from strangers, all humans have a link to their bloodline. These are the people we often resemble the most — and who usually wanted us to move onward and upward.