Memories of My Dad on Father’s Day 2024

Here are a few memories of my Dad on Father’s Day.

Jim Head was a lanky kid from Dearborn, Michigan. He grew up to serve as a Navy pilot for a few years and eventually became an advertising agency executive in Chicago. He had ambitions, but they didn’t define him or ruin him.

He was a practical, responsible Dad who loved to laugh and tell jokes. He laughed hardest at his own jokes.

He mentored his kids and let us do our own thing. He says he and my Mom treated us four kids like adults, with real conversations, real responsibilities, and real freedoms.

As an adult, I benefited from his wise words in our many conversations about work, marketing, life, family, politics, and sports. I have him to thank for my predisposition to find deeper truths in the marketing and business world, to help others succeed, and to create with words.

My siblings and I thought we were growing up on an average street in a boring good town with normal parents who did ordinary things in a brick house with a typical station wagon.

Hidden in plain sight were some pretty non-normal things that both my Mom and Dad inflicted on us. They were voracious readers, expected adult conversation at the dinner table, had no complaints about hardships or hard work, talked back to the TV with corrections and opinions, and watched PBS as the default setting.

Dad knew many interesting things and loved to share them to illuminate a deeper insight. “Did you know?” was an opening line to a deeper discussion at dinner.

A year or so before he passed, realized he was the only one at his assisted living facility who read four serious newspapers daily, watched TED talks, made money in stock trades, and searched for the real truth about important topics.

He wasn’t a fancy guy, and he wasn’t greedy, but he was serious about a few things: honor, respect, manners, and responsibility.

Throughout his life, he lived up to the higher codes of the Marine Corps, his bomber flight squadron, his golf community, the business game, the ways of watercolor painters, and our own Head family.

He expected his kids and his grandkids to do well in whatever we did, and we have, all in different ways. Here are a few of the expectations he made sure we understood.

  • Finish the job.
  • Solve the real problem.
  • Do it the right way.
  • Work hard and have fun.
  • Understand what’s really going on.
  • Learn something every day.
  • Spend less than you make.

He didn’t care about mega-success beyond doing useful things well and making a good living so you could have a good family and a good life. He saw many people chase the wrong things.

He was satisfied with his accomplishments in the end, but mostly he was proud of his family.

He lived in the same brick house for 50 years and didn’t need to impress anyone with more stuff besides a few prized possessions.

My Dad was a great example for me. He taught me a lot.

I’m thinking of him today on Father’s Day.

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