It’s almost impossible to imagine what it's like to be a father before you become one. There's an obvious understanding that it is a large responsibility. There's even a sense of some type of stored up wisdom gathered over the years to be passed down. The role of being the rock, the hammer, the fixer, the teacher, and the source of reassurance all in one. It's easy to assume that all these things happen innately once the first child comes.
This Father's Day, I look back on where I was as a child, where I was before I became a father, and where I am now. Father's Day is a great time to not only appreciate dad, but to take time and reflect on what it was that they did. A day to really take note of their contribution to your life. A day to give back. This year, I’m working with STIHL in an effort to give something back to my father.
It's funny when I think about it, but I've had my father in my entire life. I was born with a father. So, it's easy to forget that there was not a single moment I can remember where my father was not a factor in my life. There I was, day one, in some labor and delivery room in San Diego when glorious little me popped out, saw light for the first time, gazed off to the side and there was a guy I would eventually call dad. I mean, this guy was a bit clingy as he just would not leave me alone, even after I eventually turned 18. I gave him a number of names over the years from “gah” to “dada” to “daddy” and eventually to “dad.” Each being earned with his elevation in rank.
When I was a boy, I just assumed my dad’s job was to feed me, play with me, and to throw me the furthest in the pool. He even had the added responsibilities of feeding my dog, driving me to school, and taking me on trips. As I got older I began to realize there was a lot more being passed on. A great number of my life expectations and the elements of my personal character would be set and molded by him. My dad was a rock in my life, and not just because he is incredibly stubborn! His consistent expectations helped keep me on track. Much like the guide bar of my STIHL 391 keeps my chain on track.
See what I did there?
My father is genetically competitive. That just means, essentially, it was passed down to me. In 1990, my father purchased his first chain saw…a STIHL MS 026. He has used this saw ever since. That’s 28 years of STIHL chainsaw work. I learned a lot from my father over the years through his STIHL, even about community. Mostly that quality matters…aaand having a bigger saw was cool. So, when I got my first STIHL, I had to get one that was clearly bigger than his. That’s why I got he MS 391.
Oh, you can bet I let him know. I literally drove it over to his house and set it on his kitchen table. Didn’t say anything. Just cleared my throat about as loud as I could maybe two or twenty times. My dad being my dad just kept his eyes on the football game. But, I knew he knew. I was top dog now.
After the past few years of yard work, my father's 28 year old saw started to show its age. Just like my father, it was getting to be a bit slower at the start. And it was getting a bit more wrinkly and turning distinctly gray.
Okay, maybe that was just my dad.
This Father’s Day, I decided to be selfless and help my dad join the ranks of the best…with me. I decided to surprise my dad with his very own STIHL MS391. I reached out to my friends at STIHL who gave me the saw to bring my dad into the world of greatness.
Now, he may be getting older, but he’s still addicted to work. My dad loves working with his hands. He finds his happy place working in the field. Some people like rocking chairs and the breeze for their alone time. My dad loves clearing brush. Three pulls of the starting cord after giving him his brand new STIHL, and my dad was cutting a eucalyptus branch in my field. No slow starts for this guy.
Of course, I made sure he even had the latest in safety gear. New helmet and face shield, gloves, and even safety chaps that stop a chainsaw at full speed instantly if they get nicked with a chain. That’s something he definitely didn't have when he first started with his MS 026. Now, my dad is as safe as I am handsome.
So, very safe.
STIHL is not just about having the highest quality. It’s about legacy. It’s about having something that spans three generations and keeps on going. My father is a STIHL man, I’m a STIHL man, and my sons are…well, will be STIHL men. Currently, they’re STIHL little boys who get to watch their own father from a distance and learn what it means to work with their own hands. I’m just glad that they get to see their grandfather and see everything passed down. I’m also glad they get to see me give something back to my father for all he gave me. Maybe they’ll see me the same way. As someone that gave them so much.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.