06/13/2014 07:24 pm ET Updated Aug 13, 2014

Fathers and Sons

I distinctly remember the moment I looked down and saw my father's hand coming out of my sleeve. Until then, I had always thought I was my Mother's son. Now I find myself thinking I am becoming more and more like my father every day.

Is it the age, I wonder -- me catching up on the staggered track of life -- or does it has more to do with the fact that I am now a father myself? More and more I find myself saying the things he used to say, doing the things he used to do, and marveling at how much smarter he seems now than he was then.

My father was a strong man, loud and dramatic. There were two tones to his voice -- loud and louder. He was honest and seemed fearless, walking in harm's way daily for 20 years to put food on the table, until the day I came home with seven stitches in my lip and blood covering my shirt -- the result of a fight at school. Before I could say a word, he erupted like a volcano.

My first reaction was -- "I haven't done anything wrong. I was just defending myself. Why is he yelling at me? Then I realized he wasn't yelling at me. He was yelling for me. He was scared -- not for himself but for me.

More than anything, Dad wanted me to get an education. At first, I thought it was because this was something he always wanted and never had. Now I know it had more to do with a father's desire to see a son reach his highest possibilities.

My son taught me this lesson. Daily for 15 years now, I have watched him change and grow. There is no way to describe the delight I take in watching him become who he is, but it something I suspect every Father will understand. At the moment, he is all promise and possibilities. I wonder how will he fulfill the promise that is in him.

The greatest lesson of my father's life was to live a life of limited regrets. To be what we are and to become what we are capable of becoming is the noblest end in life. Our challenge is to become useful, not according to our desires but according to our powers.

All will win. All will lose. Every heart will be hurt and broken. Every soul will be tempted. Win or lose, take it like a man, get up, go on, and never give up.

My father was raised on ranch in the mountains on the western slope of the Continental Divide. One of the things you notice there is that only in the winter when the leaves have fallen and the trees are barren can clearly see and understand the contours of the land. So it is with men. The content of our character and depth of our commitment can best be read in the seasons of our distress. It is when we are tested that our true character is most apt to be revealed

Thanks, Dad!