When I was eight, my whole life turned around (for the first time in what would be a few more times to come). I left home, school, and country behind to start life in a different home, school, and country. The most important difference though was that my dad became a daily part of that life, with everything he had to offer.
My dad wasn’t the ‘I’m gonna tell you what to do and you’re gonna do it ” type of dad. He liked to give incentives! And he hated seeing us watch TV. So, one day he made us a deal (my little brother and I). For every one hundred pages we read we could ask to do or get anything we wanted. I remember my first one hundred pages – they felt like Everest. Eventually though, it became a part of who I was. He found that soon enough he had to move the target up – to five hundred pages, and then one thousand pages. And, somewhere near the end of elementary school he silently quit! His mission had been accomplished.
Soon enough, I realized that my dad’s gift to me wasn’t the teenie-tiny gifts, and neither was it the entertainment I got from reading short stories and novels. His gift to me was that of empowerment. It was the knowledge that was only a few pages away, the language with which I learned to express myself, and it was power and insight all in one. It was the gift of a brilliant parent to an unsuspecting child. It was the greatest gift of all time.