Reflections on Father’s Day 2014
As you get older you tend to have a greater respect for those life influences you perhaps once took for granted, or at best simply underrated. I’m quite sure I’m guilty of this. I KNOW the man I am today, for good or bad, has been largely shaped by the influence and early guidance of my father Robert Alva Moore Sr. I’ve always loved my dad and was thankful that he was around and helped us during our growing up years. He WAS NOT an absentee father. My love and respect has multiplied with the passing of years. We were’nt rich by USA standards, moved a great deal and only occaisionly were able to see our grandparents and my dad’s siblings. Home was wherever my dad moved us—for whatever reasons—and was made safe by his presence and warm by my mom’s hospitality. My Dad taught us that our actions have consequences and that all of us must be prepared to take responsibility for our actions. We were taught to never feel sorry for ourselves. To be thankful for what we had. To share with others in need. To be quick to forgive and very, very slow to condemn. To believe we were not inferior or superior to anyone else. This coupled with a deep sense of fairness, led to a lack of intimidation but also an intolerance for prejudice. Fruitfulness and success are the rewards of preparation, hard work and persistence. All of this could lead a young man to feel hopelessly overwhelmed if all of the teaching wasn’t encompassed by an incredible atmosphere of love, acceptance and oft-practiced forgiveness.
I think what I learned most deeply from my Dad, was his calmness under pressure. To be sure, raising a family of 5 strong-willed kids in post-WWII America had it’s share of crisis-some of them literally life or death. My Dad’s demeanor however, was the weather-vane that brought peace and stability to our home environment. I knew wether to be angry, afraid or pleased in the midst of crisis by watching his face. I have a vivid memory of him administering first-aid to my infant brother who had just been horribly burned. Tears ran down his face but he never lost control to focus on doing what needed to be done in that moment. At the hospital he then turned to my mom and to the other children to assure them we’d get thru this. He gave us hope when all looked bleak. Some people quote the St. Francis prayer (God grant us the serenity to…..change the things we can…) but my dad simply practiced it. He could also get impatient with those who would not. He often told folks who were perturbed by his peacefulness in the midst of crisis; “maybe we should all should just sit in a circle and have a worry session. If you think that will help I’m in. If not, then I won’t waste a thimble of energy on worry until we can do something that brings some relief.” To some that sound’s simplistic and to others it’s maddening. To me it always made sense.
Organizational researcher/leadership author Jim Collins says he remains a skeptic when it comes to the ability of a leader to make a quick difference in an organization. He says his research reveals that the ‘quick success’ stories of many organizations cannot really be attributed to great leaders. In fact, his research shows that many of those leaders who we touted as ‘saviors’ really made decisions that led to the long term demise of those same companies. Conversely, the truly effective leader will have a deep and long-term positive effect on the people and organizations they serve while perhaps being under-appreciated during their leadership tenure. My Dad, I believe, is one of those leaders. He didn’t always make us happy with his decisions (though my childhood had many more good memories than bad ones). Today, only a few months short of his 90th birthday, he has the love and appreciation of all of his kids, grandkids, great-grandchildren; sons and daughters-in-law and hundreds of others who have been touched by our lives. I love you Dad. Thanks for just being you. Rob.