Write it on the Tablets of Their Hearts

I’ve been writing for a lot of years. I’ve had my share of success and failure. Yet, as I reflect on my writing career, my favorite years were my freelance years.

I spent almost a decade as an executive speechwriter and advertising copywriter writing for corporate clients in the comfort of my home office. It was a rare opportunity to blend the challenge of building a writing business with the privilege of fatherhood. What could be better than doing what you love to do and “being there” to watch your children grow?

At 6 and 8 my sons would pull a chair up to my desk and begin their own writing project just to be close to me. On a busy day, I would close my office door. To not disturb me, they had a secret knock but they would not speak in case I was on the phone with a client. When I got off the phone, I would find them to address their pressing need, typically a dispute over a toy, a glass of lemonade on a hot August afternoon, or a request to join them in a game of backyard football.

I remember putting an executive speech on hold to build a makeshift tent in the backyard. A simple design would do; a card table chair duct-taped to each end of a  seven-foot pole. A blanket draped over the pole. Blanket edges stretched to form the A-frame tent. Without stakes to fasten the blanket to the ground, we used weights, you know, bricks, paint cans from the garage and toy trucks from the sandbox.

Was this a major interruption from writing the speech? Yes! Was I on a tight deadline? Yes! Today, do I remember the speech I was writing on that warm summer day? No. Will I ever forget playing in that tent with my sons? Absolutely not!

Today, my youngest son, Mark, works in product management for a leading sports apparel company in California. My oldest son, David, is, well, a writer working for a big company in the largest city in our state. David is pictured in this photo with me during my freelance years. He is 11.

For years, as I watched my sons grow, they watched me write. I never suggested David should become a writer. Instead, his natural bent, God-given talent, and gift with the English language landed him where he is today. He writes for a living. He is a creative blogger, an articulate speaker, and is clearly more talented than I was at his age.

As I ponder his writing career, it suddenly seems more important than mine. How can I help him chase his dreams? How can I help him go further than I have gone?

How about you? Think about who has been an inspiration to you and then ask yourself: Who can I inspire?

As I survey my life, particularly my writing life, I realize that my legacy is not what I have had printed on a page, but what I have imprinted on a heart.

One heart in particular.


This blog post is dedicated to my son, David.

May his writing career far eclipse my own.


Published in: on October 4, 2012 at 8:55 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “How can I help him go further than I have gone?”
    My father worked to push me further — both by example and by encouragement. Now I am compelled to do the same with my children. It’s not only a legacy, it’s a responsibility.

    • Dave,

      You are right. It is a responsibility to challenge our kids to go further than we have gone. And to do this requires a blend of both challenge and inspiration. Thanks for your comments. I agree.

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