My father was a contemplative man. He had shortcoming and struggles of which he was very aware. We all do. However, he was incredibly introspective and he decidedly mastered something that few of us have. He understood the immense power of words and chose to speak them efficiently and only when necessary if there was a heavy topic at hand. He could be quick-witted and verbally fast on his feet when the occasion licensed it, but if the subject was a delicate or intellectual one, he would rather listen intently to another person than open his mouth and say anything inaccurate or weakly verbalized. I admired him very much. The older I got, the more that admiration grew. It is extremely hard to wrangle your thoughts and expressions the way my father did. Most of us let loose with our best guess, call it authoritative, then defend it. It is so easy to appear foolish as our thoughts pass through a paper-thin filter on the way to our lips. Every parent knows the regret of that approach when dealing with their own children. Who hasn’t said something authoritatively to their child, then wished they could grab those same words while they are still in the air and shove them back into their mouths again. (I am raising my hand) It is a regret every parent knows. None of us are superhuman. We are all broken in some way and moments like that drive that reality home like a sledge hammer. As I watch my children grow and constantly strive to develop the skills to be super-dad, I recognize my shortcomings as well. There is nowhere in life that weak verbiage is more potently evidenced than in parenting and marriage.
This is one of the beautiful things about what I do. The benefits of my product and my customer are well known to me…I have come to intimately know each of my products so well…every second counts and the stakes are high…there is no time for wasted or impotent verbiage. Every time I open my mouth, the words that flow need to have impact. The conversation with my host and customer did not just fall in my lap organically. I have been anticipating this 10-minute conversation for weeks and have tried to anticipate every angle. It is the kind of thought my father would sometimes lend to a topic before follow-up. I remember my Dad listening intently to something I suggested, then just nodding and saying hmmm. My dad loved his job as a bricklayer…the creativity, hard work and time to think. A week later he would circle back around and say “Cory, you remember that thing you wanted to figure out? I think I might have some insight for you. I’ll share it with you, but only if you really want to hear it and promise to listen.” I would nod and he would begin. It was was usually somewhat profound…especially considering there was no internet and information was not free and plentiful as it is these days.
I consider myself fortunate to work in an industry that allows me to utilize the skills my father taught me. My Dad taught me how enjoy the privilege of working hard, how to handle yourself with integrity, how to care and provide for a family and the massive importance of careful thought and expression. Each time I create a product video or step on to live retail television, a big part of me is governed by his influence. It is a big reason I am successful at what I do.
Thank you, Dad.
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