Author’s note: My 88-year-old father is also a Catholic priest. As a widower, he entered the seminary at age 62 after running his own business for years. At age 65, he graduated with his master’s degree in theology and was ordained a Catholic priest. His experiences of growing up in the Depression, serving in WWII in China, raising six kids, having 18 grandchildren, and running his own business have given him insight, wisdom, and a great sense of humor about life. Here I share short wisdoms from my father the Father.
One habit I try to make a daily practice is to give my dad a phone call on my ride home from work. Sometimes it can be late after a night meeting, but regardless, he is always glad to get the call. We share what happened in our day, talk some baseball, and usually drift on to a current event of the day. When he talks, I listen for his perspective because it usually has a little nugget in it that makes me think.
“You know Dad, there is so much happening in the world right now that seems to have everyone either polarized or destabilized,” I said during a recent call.
“The election, the ‘fiscal cliff,’ the Middle East, local strife…it just keeps coming,” I said, the list of uncertainties seeming longer than the highway I was on as I made my way home from the office.
“I also heard today about a close friend who found out she has cancer,” I said, knowing he understood this was coming on the heels of similar news of two other friends who battled life-threatening diseases.
He said, “You know, Mike, one thing to always remember is there is no such thing as security. I have found it best to give the idea of security a nod, but you have go live your life knowing most things aren’t within your control. When security is sought from the outside, versus the inside, it is fleeting.”
I replied, “That might be true, but there sure is a lot of energy expended trying to ensure security on the outside!”
This was my dad’s gentle reminder that security is an inside game. As Stephen Covey wrote, “Security represents your sense of worth, your identity, your emotional anchorage, your self-esteem, your basic personal strength or lack of it.”
The pace of change externally has been permanently cemented into warp speed. Hence, we need to be clear about what matters in life, the principles that guide our decisions each day, and grow our own personal intent to be the captain of our own development, no matter what age we are. These, it seems to me, are the cornerstones of having some semblance of personal security.