The first time I brought a friend to visit my Father, the first words out of Dad’s mouth were: “Ask me anything – I know EVERYTHING.”
Everyone in the family rolled eyeballs and left the scene, so my friend could receive the full “treatment”.
Of course, Dad was right . . . He’s always right!
Dad’s not a narcissistic egomaniac . . . In fact, he is a wonderful man with a HUGE heart who happens to know everything of importance to him.
I haven’t known my Father for my entire life. He and my Mother divorced when I was @ 4 years old, and he departed for the better part of 20 years . . . This story has potential to get lengthy, so I’ll spare you the intricate details, but my Brother Cam “found” Dad and we all reconnected in the early 1980s.
When I first “met” Dad, I felt like I was meeting myself. There was no awkwardness whatsoever. We had many of the same mannerisms and even very similar voices . . . There was no denying that he was my Father.
I spent a decade “catching up” on those 20 “lost” years by immersing myself (as much as he would tolerate) in getting to know him and learning about his work. Dad’s work was fascinating because he was practicing a degree of quackery in the world of “Organizational Development” which soon earned the new moniker of “Organizational Transformation Consulting” which manifested in the form of Open Space Technology. I liked his “rebel” persona . . . t’hell with the status quo and the “conventional” ways of helping leaders of organizations deal with important and complex issues . . . and just Open some space.
I learned of Dad’s life work – an ordained Episcopal Minister, work with street gangs in the streets of DC in the 60s, Peace corps work in the bush of Africa (Liberia), and amazing work consulting with myriad organizations inside the DC beltway.
The more I learned about Dad, the more I realized that he really DOES know everything . . . that matters to him.
What I learned about Dad was that, when he encountered something he didn’t know (yet), it became very important to him to learn everything he could learn about that.
It’s this level of curiosity within him that has driven him through life from one knowledge quest to another to another . . . and the most entertaining by-product of all of this is that Dad is a magnificent storyteller who can mesmerize just about anyone who engages in dialog with him.
One of Dad’s “disclaimers” is that he IS a storyteller and quite possibly might not speak the facts through embellishment, but every time I think I’ve heard a distortion or inaccuracy, google informs me that he was right and accurate.
So . . . Know what you know and practice indefatigable curiosity, and you too can know everything (that’s important to you)
I love you Dad . . . warts and all.