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Father’s Day: What My Dad Taught Me about Parenting

Father’s Day: What My Dad Taught Me about Parenting

Today’s post is courtesy of Sarah Montague, a member of the Bright Horizons marketing team.

“Sarah, your Dad fell and I’m in the car following the ambulance.” My father has Parkinson’s disease and I learned he had fallen hard on asphalt in a train station parking lot. It happened on the very day he was moving back to the northeast to be closer to family. He suffered broken bones, lacerations requiring stitches and he was in considerable pain. Fortunately, the MRI told us there was no head trauma. Dad is recovering. He is a proud and stoic Parkinson’s warrior. He is also my hero. I don’t know how many more Father’s Days I will have with my Dad, but I’ll be in my car driving down to see him again on June 16th.

Sarah and DadWhen I was a kid, Dad would say, “Life is too short,” whenever I whined. It used to drive me nuts when he said it. But he was right. When you are young, you have no idea how short a life you will live. You have no idea how much you are going to miss someone until you realize you may not have them much longer. I am a member of the sandwich generation. I am raising a young child and taking care of my aging parents. That is what you do for your family. When my son was in preschool, I wrote my father a letter to let him know what he taught me about parenting. He put it in a frame. He told me it is the best thing I’ve ever written; better than any marketing plan and better than the stories I used to write as a kid. So, I’ll share part of it with you as we celebrate Father’s Day.

Parenting Tips from Dad

Dear Dad,

I just was thinking the other day that being a parent is the hardest job I’ve ever had. But I really love it so much and can’t imagine not having Jack in my life. I wanted to thank you. I am realizing every day that you taught me so much about how to be a parent.

  • You taught me that no matter how few pennies you have in the bank or how busy your calendar is, there is always a way to help another person that is less fortunate.
  • You taught me to think like a citizen of the world and not just like an American. You gave us exposure to different countries and cultures.
  • You taught me how to sail a Sun Fish. You told me it is ok to capsize as long as I just get myself right back up. You were really teaching me resilience.
  • You taught me how to ride a bike. But you really taught me how to be courageous. All that time I thought you were holding on to the back of the seat you were really just running along beside me.
  • You taught me diplomacy. You taught me how to negotiate on the playground and you helped me through some dreadful corporate politics early in my career.
  • You told me to try not to lose my sense of curiosity about things. We stop learning when we lose our curiosity.
  • You taught me that family, health and education matter most. In that order.
  • You taught me what it means to have unshakable faith. And you never judged me when I told you that the way you and I practice our faith may have to be different.
  • You sat through so many long weekend swim meets when I was a child. You left a business meeting to drive to one of my college lacrosse games. You introduced me to athletics, which gave me a healthy sense of competition and taught me how to build great teams.
  • In 1969, you let me stay up late to watch the TV feed of the Moon Walk. It inspired my “inner-astronaut” and my lifelong fascination with all-things-NASA and outer space. I can’t wait to take Jack to space camp.

I wish all you dads a Happy Father’s Day. It seems so silly that we make such a big deal about Mother’s Day and Father’s Day as once-a-year events. Maybe we should find a way to celebrate parents at least on a quarterly basis. As your children’s first teacher, what you do has such lasting impressions on their lives.

Sarah Montague Bright HorizonsSarah Montague is a former Bright Horizons parent, proud mom to her son Jack, and current VP of Consumer Marketing at Bright Horizons. She loves to build things – but most of all, she loves to build brands, teams, and the careers of her colleagues.




  1. Progressive Mom June 12, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    This is a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing Sarah.

  2. Heather June 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Love this letter, and this post. Thank you for the reminder to tell my Dad what he has really taught me. I think about it all the time, but I’m not sure I have ever really told him.

  3. Sarah June 13, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    Thank you @progressivemom and @heather for your nice notes.

  4. Pingback: | First Time Parents: Parenting Advice & Tips BlogThe Family Room |

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