A Father May Never Know His Influence

My dad told me this story many years ago while I was in high school. It had such an impact on me that it’s etched in my memory.

There had always been two very important people in a particular family: a father and his one son. They were revered by grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and other relatives. Long after both had died, family members finally decided it was time to sort through a large number of documents and papers that had accumulated during the lives of the father and son. These documents and papers had been stored in a large closet in the study that both father and son had used.

During the sorting process, it was discovered that both the father and the son had kept diaries. As far as the family could determine, neither the father nor the son knew that the other was maintaining a diary. Not only did family members want to read the diaries, they thought it would be fascinating to compare what each had written at exactly the same time.

On one day, the father had written in his diary: “I took my son fishing today at the river. We wasted the entire day there.” In the son’s diary for that same day, this entry was found: “My father took me fishing today. We were gone all day. It was the grandest day of my life.”

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