Great Dads Are Great Teachers

DadJimmy Miller (1921-2002)—who lived all of his 80 years in the rolling hills of Upstate NY—was a teacher.

The Cornell wrestling coach and pastor in our home, the man with the Big Smile people still talk about today, was always “preaching”—in a good way.

Through stories, parables, analogies, and metaphors, he imparted wisdom—constantly.

Little did I know that his teachings would become part of every book written by his youngest.

QBQ!  Coach Jimmy’s metaphor about “being good enough to beat the ref” has helped many understand both the danger —and the “wrongness”—of blaming what we can’t control.

Flipping the Switch  Here he pops up twice. One time by sharing the truth that driving is a NO EXCUSES endeavor—just like life—and another when he went the extra mile for this 17-year-old just days after “Mom” died so unexpectedly at 51.

Outstanding!  Coach Jimmy, through a conversation with thirtysomething me, reveals the power of having “clarity of purpose.” (Psst! Outstanding organizations have that, too.)

Parenting the QBQ Way  A well-timed encouraging word to me after totally blowing a high school wrestling match demonstrates to parents 40 years later the power of saying the right thing at the right time to our offspring.


My best childhood friend and best man in my wedding met me for dinner in Syracuse, NY in 2004. We talked about our dads, both gone by then. His father, a Cornell “Industrial and Labor Relations” professor, had been known worldwide in the labor negotiation field.

As we chatted, my buddy’s eyes welled up:

“My dad was a ‘renowned expert’ who shared everything he knew with people he didn’t know—then took it all to the grave. He never taught me a thing.”

It was a sad moment, one that showed, to my surprise, not all fathers understand their teaching role.

I am thankful Coach/Pastor Jimmy did.

So, on this Father’s Day, we’ll close with a question:

Dads, are you a teacher?

For comment:

Feel free to share here what your dad taught you!

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