It was about 3.5 months ago on February 27 that my father and friend passed away. As with many who leave this earth, it was sudden and caught us all by surprise. Though I have no doubt that he is enjoying eternity in heaven, it is a bit surreal to be celebrating my first Father’s Day without my dad in the picture. And so I commemorate this post to Antone Henry Goyak.
I love the process of education and the impact that a teacher is able to have on a student, whether it be inside the classroom or outside its walls. To me it is a bit magical and when done well, it never grows stale or monotonous.
One of the impacting elements of teaching that resounds within me is the opportunities that I have to invest in my students – as individuals – unique needs and unique experiences. And my desire to invest did not just happen because I am a teacher. It is because it was modeled for me…by my dad.
My dad and I did not see eye to eye on everything in life and there were times of disagreement between us. But there is no other man who loved me like my dad. I know that. And there is no other man who has cared for my soul like my dad. I also know that. What still impacts me today is the remembrance that he looked for ways to invest into me – moments were never wasted. My dad always spoke the truth of Scripture to me to either complement or push back at my thinking.
You see, if one is going to impact another, it most often is going to come through a mentor studying his student carefully, assessing needs, and then carefully giving input and creating experiences that generate probing questions and careful examination in the life of the student. And the end goal is growth or change.
My dad studied me as his son and knew me well. And his investment was for my success even if it was at his own expense. That is a critical element of mentoring. A mentor must be willing to love and get close knowing that at times he or she may get pushed away. But through careful pruning and nurturing, the “plant” begins to grow and produce new fruit. And I find myself doing this with others today.
And so on this Father’s Day, my own dad has and continues to shape my love for people and my desire to invest in and mentor others. Thanks Dad – you may be absent physically, but your life is still greatly impacting me today. Happy Father’s Day.