Four Things My Dad Never Told Me

Mom is my mom. Dad adopted me when I was two. But I didn’t know I was adopted until 2017, five years after he died. He raised me as his own.

Back row left to right: Danny, Colleen with baby Bert, Walter Rockwell. Front Phillip and Glen

Dad honored my mom’s wish that I not be told. Actually, everyone on both sides of the family honored her wish. No one ever hinted that Walter Rockwell adopted me.

4 things dad never told me:

#1. Dad never told me I was adopted.

Mom said he wanted to tell me, but he kept the secret out of respect for her. Actually, I never heard him speak poorly of her. Dad never told me to honor my wife. He honored my mom.

Honoring people reflects your character, not the people around you.

#2. Dad never told me to show affection to my wife.

I remember him hugging and kissing mom when he came in from milking cows in the morning. He was quiet, but not shy with showing her affection. When I say he kissed her, it wasn’t a peck on the cheek.

#3. Dad never told me to work hard.

I grew up on a dairy farm in Central Maine. Dad got up before dawn and worked till after dark. He was the hardest working person I have ever known. He didn’t need praise or recognition. He just did the work.

Just do the work.

#4. Dad never told me to love books.

I grew up seeing dad read books before he ate breakfast. Sometimes he’d read an interesting passage to mom while she cooked. Not surprisingly, I have thousands of books in my library.

Model the way:

The first function of leadership is, “Model the way.” Kouzes & Posner

When you read about my dad, you understand a bit about me.

Consistency is influence. I’m like my dad, not because he’s my biological father, but because he modeled the way.

How has the consistent behavior of another person influenced you?