Just over a year ago, my head lie resting on my Father's chest as he took his last breath. His body had been decimated by a neurological disease called ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.
When he was still here, I'd do a television appearance and wait for the call. "You sure didn't take any junk from Stuart Varney!" His usually labored breath, hindered by the disease would get an adrenaline kick from seeing me on TV.
"Excellent job Christopher!" To hear him light up while speaking about my business was pure joy. It made sense. Dad was witnessing years of his tutelage come to fruition. I was taking his torch and running, flying even.
I listened. I absorbed his lessons. It worked. He got to see that from my brother Mark, and myself. For that, I'm grateful.
Here are some lessons that I hope those entrepreneurs who still have their Fathers may take as a gentle reminder.
He knows more about business than you think.
Ask him his opinion. Whether he ran his own business or not, he's been around. His advice will be closer to spot on than you can imagine. His opinion may not be perfect, but getting his perspective will help.
He may not show it, but he's proud of you.
Men in his generation don't know to communicate just how proud they are of you. Look for the small signs. If you can't see them, know that he is proud of you. Or just ask Mom, she'll share what he tells her.
Drop the gift giving and go someplace with him.
When I was a young man, my Father asked for my brother and I to stop giving him gifts for Father's Day. He wanted to "spend time with my boys." We went to the Intrepid Air and Space Museum, Brooklyn Cyclone baseball games, and more.
When I miss my Dad, I can close my eyes and smell the grass on the Cyclones field that day. Experiences will last longer than anything.
Spend more time with him.
My Dad suffered with ALS for close to 6 years. Every time I had the option to spend time with Dad, or not, I chose Dad. Choose your Dad. No matter what.
You don't have to share a tear-jerking heart to hearts every time you speak with him. My Dad, brother and I would pour a scotch and just sit with each other.
I would give my right arm to have 20 minutes of just sitting with my Dad like that.
You run a business, so you know what stress is. See your Father what what he is - a hero. Tell him. Thank him for the trips when you were broke. Tell him how you have no idea how he and Mom did it.
Thank him for sharing those words of wisdom that one time. He's not sure if he helped or not. He'll appreciate it, I promise.
My brother and I told our Dad because we knew ALS was killing him. I wish we had told him sooner.
If you're fighting with him, get past it. Even if he's wrong. He may be too stubborn, but you know he won't be here forever, so get over it. Today. Call him, email him, visit him.
Drop everything. Whatever it is, it's not worth it. I promise.