Of dads and Tim Russert

I made sure that I wouldn’t miss this Sunday’s segment of “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert. Sadly, Tim Russert would not be hosting this week’s show. Russert, the 58-year-old host of NBC’s Meet the Press and NBC’s Washington, D.C., bureau chief, died Friday afternoon of a sudden heart attack. At the age of 58 you would have thought he would continue to be an abiding political media presence for many years to come, but one of life’s distempers begged to differ. That’s the thing about life. It is full of surprises, not only good ones.

As many have poignantly observed, Russert died only two days before Father’s Day. Given that he had authored two of the greatest books honoring fathers (Big Russ and Me and Wisdom of our Fathers). His recounting of his father’s influence on his life is heartwarming, instructive, and motivating. Obviously, his father, “Big Russ,” had cast a long shadow over Tim’s life and that of Tim’s son Luke. By all accounts, the impression his father made on him leveraged a serious, impulsive ideology regarding his own responsibilities about being a father. Apparently the lessons took root and bore fruit. In 1995, the National Father’s Day Committee named Tim Russert “Father of the Year”, Parents magazine honored him as “Dream Dad” in 1998 and in 2001 the National Fatherhood Initiative also recognized him as Father of the Year. That’s some serious affirmation.

For me, Father’s Day reminds me of how important my father has been in my own development. As a matter of balance, the good has far outweighed the ill and the sum of all parts is one of thanksgiving. I love my dad and am blessed to still be able to call him, talk to him, and see him from time to time. Others are not so lucky.

Like Russert’s dad, my father has demonstrated by his life some important values that have molded me positively. He reflected many important principles such as hard work, loyalty, compassion, responsibility, creativity, and a sense of thankfulness. I am also fortunate to have a father that is really funny. No, I mean hysterically funny. He’s always been ready with a joke or funny story to break the ice or lighten the moment. But the main thing I’ve loved the most about my dad is that when he gets transparent with me about how he feels and thinks about his life, I see a guy who, like me, is just doing the best he can, with what he has, and doing it with gratefulness. Despite not having all the benefits of position and privilege, my dad has never let that get in the way of helping people in whatever way he can. Like his initials (RAH) suggest, his life has been a demonstration of bringing cheer to others. If as the Good Book says, “a merry heart is good like a medicine” then my dad has been like a pharmacy. He just keeps on providing effective remedies.

Related Articles & Links:

Big Russ and Me – excerpt (MSNBC)

Quotes on Fatherhood

National Fatherhood Initiative

Tim Russert, Dead at 58 – NPR

“The older I get, the smarter my father seems to get.” – Tim Russert

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One Response

  1. Thanks Steve, I love you with all my heart!

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