With Father’s Day on June 18, we asked a handful of thoughtful dads to tell us what parenthood has taught them — in 150 words or fewer. Boy, did they deliver! Here are their words of wisdom.
Compiled by Mary Thurwachter
‘Being a dad has taught me my meaning of life,’ says Lantana real estate agent Shaun Miller, the father of five boys. Four of them joined Miller at Lantana Beach: (l-r) Lennon, 19, Koah, 3, Morrison, 24, and Macleod, 18. INSET BELOW: Shaun Miller with youngest son, 10-month-old Fynn. Photo provided
There’s this Bible verse,
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them.
It’s one of my favorites because it stirs feelings of strength, humility, joy and honor all at the same time. My five boys. My legacy. My prize. My defenders. My joy.
Being a dad has taught me my meaning of life. The preciousness of an embrace. The adventure of a backyard. The absolute agony of a skinned knee. The intricacies of a Lego build. The importance of manners. The gift of sacrifice. I have learned that my love for my boys represents God’s love for all of us, a fatherly love that is deeper and wider and vaster than I can imagine.
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Dr. Jacob D. Steiger of Highland Beach earned his pilot’s license and celebrated with his sons Ben, 5, and Sam, 2. ‘Embracing their uniqueness has taught me the beauty of diversity, the power of self-expression and the joy of witnessing their authentic selves flourish,’ he says.
I’ve learned the importance of allowing my kids to be their own unique individuals. I've come to understand that their journey is distinct from mine, and it’s crucial to foster their individuality and let their personalities shine.
My role is not to mold them into mini versions of myself or to impose my own dreams upon them, but rather to support and encourage their passions and aspirations. I've discovered that by providing them with a nurturing and accepting environment, I enable them to explore their interests, make their own choices and grow into the people they are meant to be.
Embracing their uniqueness has taught me the beauty of diversity, the power of self-expression and the joy of witnessing their authentic selves flourish. Through this, I've come to realize that being a dad means celebrating and embracing the individuality of my children and allowing them to carve their own path in life.”
Hal Stern, at far left with wife Marjorie, has three children and four grandkids. From left are daughter Rebecca, 35, holding Poppy, 12 weeks; her husband, Brant, holding son Mac, 3; Brant’s mother, Mona Fischer; son-in-law Lee holding Jack, 3, with daughter Rachel, 41, and eldest grandchild Madeline, 4½; son Aaron, 44, and his significant other, Sasha. The dog is Bean.
Hal Stern, 72, retired lawyer, lives in Delray Beach.
What I’ve learned from being a father is that each child is different and that means that I had to modify my behavior and expectations if I was going to have a meaningful relationship with each of them.
This seems simple and obvious, but I have also learned that simple isn’t necessarily easy. In fact, simple is hard.
I have also learned that as a father of adults, I am here to offer my assistance but not advice. That also sounds simple, but it can be, at times, very hard.
David Ogman, 46, senior vice president at Citi Private Bank in Palm Beach. Lives in Boca Raton.
What being a father has taught me is that things will never go as planned, and no one can train you to be ready for what’s coming.
My now 7-year-old son, Jordan, is dying of a rare, fatal, Jewish genetic brain disease. When the neurologist diagnosed Jordan, she told us that “there is no treatment, there is no hope, and there is no cure!”
Today, I’m developing Jordan’s cure in partnership with several university scientists who are collaborating with me to save Jordan. Info: SavingJordan.org
Chris Sandleitner, 49, finance executive. Lives in Delray Beach.
Being a father has taught me that the most important thing is to be present. Trying to set a good example makes me focus on what’s important, and for me that is my family.
Fatherhood is a ton of work but worth every second (and is a lot of fun — I get to be a kid again). It brings out the best in me, and that happy responsibility is something I get to pass along to my boys. I am looking forward to what comes as they grow and mature. I hope I can continue to set a good example and become a better person along the way in this amazing journey.
Oh, and I have learned how to manage huge amounts of laundry!