Man of Character

OnShouldersFamed mystery writer Raymond Chandler wrote, “The character that lasts is an ordinary guy with some extraordinary qualities.” 

If my life were a novel, that lasting character would be my dad. With the tenderness of Little Women’s Mr. March, the loyalty of George from Of Mice and Men, Don Quixote’s sense of honor, Ender’s cunning, and Atticus’ moral integrity, my Dad has shaped and inspired so many facets of my life.

Like many fathers, he taught me how to hammer a nail, shoot a basketball, and drive a stick shift. Thanks to him, I can balance my checkbook and understand why one side of the moon is always dark. We share a love of movies, history, and Ancestry.com. 

But what elevates my father above the ordinary are the intangibles. It’s good to know the difference between a flat-head and Philips screwdriver, but it’s far more important to understand right and wrong. I’m glad I know what it means for a pitcher to throw a perfect game, but I’m blessed because I appreciate the practice and dedication it took to achieve it.

IMG_0632By never cutting corners, my dad taught me about follow-through—not just finishing, but applying craftsmanship to the entire endeavor. When he’d set aside newspaper articles and restaurant mints for me, he taught me about thoughtfulness—that actions say I love you better than words. And his decades-long career improving renewable energy has encouraged me to make a difference in the world.

Characters like Attics Finch and Don Quixote endure for a reason. Like ordinary men, they are not rich, famous, or perfect. Yet they lead extraordinary lives and inspire others to do the same. My father sits in the company of these men. His example lifts me up to strive harder, dare greater, and live better.

Dad and I 2012

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14 thoughts on “Man of Character

  1. Mandy, that is so beautiful. Your dad (and his younger brother!) are amazing men and wonderful fathers. You and your sisters and your Jorgensen cousins are so fortunate to have had the models of fatherhood that they have had.

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