Dad Lesson #422

As I was rolling out of my driveway this morning just before 4 am I noticed that our milkman was headed up to the door to make our twice weekly delivery.

Aside from my recurring observation that with the amount of milk my kids go through in a week it might just be cheaper for me to go ahead and buy a couple cows and let ‘em graze in my back yard you know what popped into my head?

Sting’s Dad was a milk man.

Yup.  That’s what I found myself thinking at 4am this morning.

What can I tell you?  It’s how my brain works.

From there I started to compile a mental list of any big name musician I could think of and what their respective father’s did for a living and here’s what I got:

-        Mick jagger’s Dad was a Phys Ed. Instructor , Neil Young’s Dad was a sportswriter, And Tom Petty’s Dad was in the insurance business.

-        Mark Knopfler’s Dad was an architect, Steve Miller’s Dad was a Doctor, and John Mellencamp’s Dad was a Vice President for a company called Robbins Electric.

-        Gregg Allman’s father was in the American Military as was Jackson Browne’s and Stewart Copeland, the drummer from the Police?  His Dad worked for the CIA.

-        There are a bunch of pretty well known musicians who are also sons of professional musicians:  Pete Townshend’s Dad was a sax player, Elvis Costello’s Dad was a Big Band singer, Carlos Santana’s was a mariachi violinist, and Paul Simon’s Dad was a bass player in the CBS Orchestra.

-        Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Dad drove a fork lift in a cement factory, Bruce Springsteen’s Dad was a bus driver, and Warren Zevon’s Dad “Stumpy” was a professional gambler.

-        And as for father’s of famous musicians who disappeared on their families? Well, there’s a laundry list of those.  Bob Marley’s Dad was British military man, Ringo Starr’s Dad was a baker, Eric Clapton’s birth father was a Canadian military man, and John Lennon’s Dad was a merchant Seaman.  Not one of them stuck around to see their future famous offspring past the age of 5, and most were gone long before that.

When my son was maybe 2 years old, Anne was listening to the radio at home and Evan suddenly got a strange look on his face, toddled over to the speaker, put his ear up against it and said “Daddy”.

For a long time, all of my kids though the radio was just called “Daddy”.

And then when they got a little older they thought every male voice they heard on the radio was mine.

Even if I was in the car with them at the time.

Which is sorta funny when you think about it.

My Dad is a social worker.  He just recently retired after 30 some years with the Salvation Army in Pittsburgh.

As everyone knows, social workers are famously overworked and underpaid.  And while it ain’t the same as lifting bags of cement for a living, from everything I saw, it wasn’t easy work to do.

One time when I was about high school age I asked my Dad if he liked his job.

After he thought about it for a second he looked at me and said, “No.  I love my job.  I really do.”

And of all the lessons I ever learned from my Dad, and there were a lot of them, that was probably one of the most important.

He never said I had to be an account or an attorney or a teacher.

He never said I had to do what he did for a living.

All he ever said was “Figure out what you love to do, do that, and be the best at it that you can be.”

It’s pretty simple advice, really, but often times the best advice is the simplest.

My kids are still pretty young but I’m going to write myself a note reminding me to tell them this story when I get home from work today.

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