Dad’s birthday. I’m reflecting on fathers. Some stay and some go. Mine stayed and did his best to teach us that the world was mean and it was also kind. In my work I honor his legacy. We say to each other, “I see you,” and respond, “I am here,” as he always did in respecting every person he met as worthy of being seen and offering his presence as witness to their precious existence. I ask students to “Find beauty,” as he encouraged us not to despair at the horror and to see beauty and wonder in music, art, literature, nature, and human beings. We tell each other, “I like (love) you just the way you are,” as he helped me to find courage by accepting me as the little boy I was and the young man I grew to be. Looking back now, having been a father myself, all that’s left is gratitude.
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