Growing up, I didn’t get to see my dad as much as most kids.
My parents were divorced, so I got to see my dad every other weekend. And on some of those weekends, especially in the summer, he was working.
My dad is a self-made man who started with very little and worked his way to the top. He owns and operates Collins Construction, a general contracting firm in Wasilla, Alaska, where I grew up.
At times, as a young child, I thought my dad valued his work more than his family and that left a bitter taste in my mouth. But as I got older, I realized the reason he worked so hard.
My dad was making the ultimate sacrifice: he worked long, hard hours, so his family wouldn’t have to.
He chugged down the hard road, so his family could cruise down Easy Street. At the same time, he instilled his hard-working, nose-to-the-grindstone ethics to his children.
He always told me the only way to make things easy is to work hard. As my dad has gotten older, the hardened, gruff construction man has softened up. Despite the fact I didn’t see him much growing up, we are closer than ever. He is truly my best friend. He always pushes me to be the best I can be. But at the same time, his expectations were never out of this world. He never lived vicariously through me, hoping for me to be someone I am not.
To use a construction metaphor, he laid the foundation for me and then let me grow into the man I am today.
There’s no doubt, he would have loved to see me get into construction, so his business could stay in the family. Instead, I went the white-collar route and became a journalist, but he never holds that against me and always supports me in what I do.
While our career paths are quite different, we use the same work ethic to get the job done.
But nobody works harder than my dad. At 60 years old, he ran a multi-million construction project in rural Alaska. And this summer, he will again be busting his butt in the middle of nowhere. He always says he’s going to retire.
“This is my last year,” he says.
Yeah right, I say.
Well, hopefully, Pops will take a day of rest this Father’s Day.
Dad, you have certainly earned it.