The Greatest Gift My Dad Gave Me

By Jason Swenk on July 14, 2015

I love you DadMy dad past away July 9th, 2015, and as I post this to my website, I am reading this message at his funeral. I am doing this because my dad was the biggest inspiration in my life, and I feel he wasn’t done helping people, so I wanted to pass this message on to you.

When I think of my dad I think of Superman. If I could think of one word for my dad it would be FEARLESS.

I never saw my dad quit anything. I never saw my dad fear anything other than when my parents told me they were getting a divorce. I could see in his eyes the fear on how this would affect me, but I turned out ok.

As long as I can remember, my dad never told me that I could not do something I wanted in life. I am not talking about the little things like: “you can’t stay out past 9:00 on a weekend night,” when I was 17. Crazy, I know! 🙂

I am talking about, the things I wanted to do in my life.

I remember when I was in high school, my dad ran every day in the morning. One time he ask me to run with him.

I remember the first time running around Wahoo Road with him. When we started, there was this old man walking that we waved to. When we came back around, well, my dad was in front a pretty good way and when I went past this old man, the man said something to me like, “better luck next time.”

Even when my dad was not saying something to me, he was helping me. Pushing me forward to always be better.

I think the only fear that he may have had was not trying.

After my dad beat me, I got inspired to get better so I could keep up with him. Over the year, we ran together pretty much every day and chatted about the future.

One day I was watching the TV, and a father/son team was doing the Ironman together.

The son could not walk and was severely handicapped. The father had to tow him in the a boat while he swam, bike him on a carriage in front and then push him in a stroller on the run. This was just something that was incredible to watch since the father and son was doing this together.

When I told my dad that I wanted to do the Ironman, he could have said…. “How could you do an Ironman that is over 160 miles when you couldn’t run 1.5 miles.” He said something like… “Do it.”

He never said I couldn’t do anything. He never tried to talk me out of anything other than racing cars. I understand now why he wanted me to stop.

Thank you dad.

My dad was extremely successful in life from working his ass off to providing an incredible childhood for me.

But by looking around this room at all of you here….

He wasn’t successful. He was significant.

You see… success just affects you, but significance means you positively affected other people’s lives.

And he did that so many time over.

When I was starting my business, he never offered to give me any money and I respected that. I wanted to start out from nothing like some of the greats we all know.

But I realize that I didn’t start out from nothing…. I started out with something most people don’t have.

My dad gave me the best gift he could have when I was growing up. His time.

  • Time to spend with me.
  • Time building things together like models and RC cars.
  • Time to teach me how to throw a curve ball and to shoot a basketball.
  • Time to take me fishing every weekend.
  • Time to play tennis with me.
  • Time to teach me to respect others.
  • Time to show me how to manage money.

When we went fishing a couple weeks ago, I was chatting with him how there are several people in my neighborhood that their parents bought their homes for them. He said something like, “I am sorry I didn’t create a business that I could pass down to you.”

I think he almost felt ashamed, because he has said this a couple of times to me over the years. I told him that if he had, I would not have enjoyed the journey or I would never experience the pleasure of going through all that pain to get to where I am.

After I started this new business, I always bragged to my dad on how little I was working. I think he had a hard time understanding it. He kept saying, “Work harder and you can make more money.”

But WHY? I have enough money to do what our family wants, I have enough to put away for later in life. I want to do the things I want to do that makes me happy. I don’t want to be that person that is always working and missing time with my kids. After I said that, he never brought that up again.

We can never have enough time.

Time can not be made. It can not be bought.

Time just fades away.

So enjoy every minute of it.

Don’t waste it, don’t wish it by quicker.

Just cherish the time we have with our families, friends and yourself.

The closet people to me know that my dad was not the most affectionate person, but we always said we love you when we said goodbye.

The past couple of years he also repeatedly said that he was proud of me. Those two things meant everything to me. That is all that I ever wanted. I wanted my dad’s love and to know that he was proud of me.

You know what, I loved him so much and I was proud of him too.

I love you dad!

I am so thankful that my sons got to know their grandpop. We came down for father’s day and I remember thinking it doesn’t get any better than this. My sons were laughing with my dad while flipping him out of his raft. I remember over 30 years ago doing the same thing to my grandpop.

They loved him so much and I am so sorry that they won’t be able to receive anymore of the greatest gift he gave to me. His time.

I can only promise my family and friends that I will always be there to give you my TIME. 

I love you so much Dad. You were the best father I could have ever had!

I hope this message helped you in some way. With all of my blog posts… I always have a call to action at the end. Your call to action is to do as much as you can with the time you have. You will never get it back.

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