The Most Important Thing My Dad Taught Me…

Posted December 17, 2014 by jimhigley



That’s my dad. And me. He’s the bald one. I’m the young one.

Now I’m the bald one. And not the young one.

And my dad’s the gone one. 17 years. Today. So that’s why I’m writing. Because even after 17 years of being gone, every dad deserves a nod.

My dad would have liked what’s going on in my head today because it’s mostly numbers. He was an accountant. At least by education. What he really did, I never fully understood.

But he loved numbers.

When I started thinking about the approaching anniversary of his death a week or so ago it began with things like “10 years, maybe 12.”

Then I did the math. Slowly. Because I’m not good with numbers.


My youngest son is 18. He’s lived nearly an entire life without knowing the most important man in my life. And, ironically, my youngest son is most like the most important man in my life.

17 years.

On December 17. That makes it a golden “birthday” of sorts, yes?

17 years.

It feels like 10.

When I add 17 years to my current age, I’m at the age my father was when he died. And that does not feel good. In fact it feels threateningly wrong.

And it makes me wonder how my own kids will think of me 17 years after I’m gone.

When I think about my dad, my most common image is him grocery shopping. Specifically, it’s an image of him in the check-out lane. Talking to the check-out clerk. Asking about their day. Bringing a smile to their face. Whether he knew them or not.

He instinctively could connect with anyone he met.

And therein is the most important gift my dad gave me – and what I remember most.

Treat everyone well and help them see the value of their lives.

Everyone. No exceptions.

Thanks Dad. I’m going grocery shopping today in your honor.