Take The Time To Honor Our Fathers And The Way They Teach Us    

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Welcome back to The Sunstone Way. 

This Sunday, June 16, is Father’s Day – clearly the second most important holiday of the year. If you don’t know what the most important holiday is, go ask your Mother! 

I’ve been fortunate to have my father with me the whole time I was growing up.  In fact, consistent with the experience of many Generation Xers, I was lucky enough to also have a great stepfather in my life.   Both of them were fantastic male role models and shaped who I am today as a husband, father, and citizen. 

I know everyone isn’t so lucky. I think maybe that’s why our society celebrates those who act as father figures, whether that’s as little league coaches, middle school teachers or compassionate company CEOs.  I have to agree with that famous evangelist Billy Graham, who said “A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” 

A Long Time Coming 

It should come as no surprise that Father’s Day was a bit of an afterthought, stemming from Mother’s Day. The history of Mother’s Day goes back to the 1860s. It became a national holiday 110 years ago, in 1914. 

By contrast, the first sort-of Father’s Day was in 1908, when a pastor in West Virginia was convinced to honor the fathers among the 362 men who had been killed the year before in a coal mine explosion. The first statewide Father’s Day occurred in Washington, when a Spokane woman, one of six children raised by a widower, lobbied everyone from the YMCA to the governor to celebrate male parents. 

The idea spread, with President Calvin Coolidge urging states to honor Father’s Day in 1924. But it took until 1972 for there to be a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday. President Richard Nixon was in the midst of a hard reelection campaign when he signed the proclamation – not saying that’s the reason, just pointing it out. 

My Own Father—An Amazing Citizen 

I owe much of who I am today to my father John Keisler — an optimistic, energetic, public servant — who loves baseball, loves Long Beach and who has dedicated his life to enriching communities through parks, recreation, and public service.  He has been an incredible role model for me and so many others who have been blessed by his goodness.    

My dad taught me to be passionate about recreation and public service.  No joke.  I grew up in a world filled with people from the show Parks & Recreation, pushing brooms at the Arroyo Grande Community Center, flipping hamburgers at the Strawberry Festival, and waiting around in my soccer or baseball uniform at Saturday morning ribbon cuttings.  As a child, my dad would literally pull off the freeway to take pictures of a new soccer field or to show me a recycled material they used to build walking paths.  He loved making communities healthier and fun. And he always pointed out the little things that most of us take for granted about how public parks are designed, built, and maintained by hard working public servants.   

My dad also taught me to be passionate about being an American. I remember him always saying that he didn’t mind paying his taxes because of everything that we got in return.  He loved Jury Duty because it was an honor and a duty.  And of course, he never missed an opportunity to vote.  To this day, I think of him when I drop off my ballot and get my sticker.  I am pretty sure that the reason I went into public service—becoming a middle school teacher, attending USC to study local government management, and working for the City of Long Beach for almost 18 years—was because of my dad’s infectious love and service to his family, community, church, and country. 

There are so many more things that I am thankful for—annual camping trips, coaching my baseball teams, baptism, confirmation, and of course the opportunity to go to college.  My dad (and his dad before him), built the foundation upon which I can raise my own family in the City of Long Beach. 

The Power of Positive Father Figures 

I’ve been blessed by two sons, Benjamin and Christopher, and challenged every day to be a good father – or at least help my wife Laura raise them right. I’m far from having the same gifts of patience and positivity that my own dad provided, but there is not a day that passes that I don’t say or do something that sounds like “Grandpa John.” 

In thinking about Father’s Day, I found this list of reminders for all of you who are doing your best to raise your own families.  It is loosely based on an article in Modern Father

  1. Be a role model. Lead by example – show them how much you love their mother, treat others with respect, work hard each day, play hard, and admit when you are wrong.   
  1. Be a firm but fair disciplinarian. This is more about being a teacher or coach than exercising power.  The world needs us more than ever to teach our kids gratitude, respect, and discipline.   
  1. Be consistent. When they make fun of the things that you say or do it’s a sign that they know who you are and they will remember those important lessons that you taught them consistently.  
  1. Treat people with respect. This one relates to number one but extends to the world around you.  It’s okay to express frustration with other people (every night at the dinner table), so long as the conversation ends with understanding: how to be better and make the world a better place. 
  1. Work on being a better person. Mind. Body. Spirit.  That might be working out regularly or studying and practicing a particular skill. They know we aren’t perfect but they should know that we are always trying to get better. 
  1. Last but most important is unconditional love.  Service and self-sacrifice is the foundation of our way of life and is the most important gift a father can give to both his children and society.  

Father’s Day is a wonderful day to pause and give thanks to the gift of fatherhood.  To give thanks to all those fathers, stepfathers, and grandfathers who have enriched our lives in ways and shaped who we are today.  In 1908, a community decided to celebrate fathers that they lost in a coal mine explosion because they recognized how much was missing.  Fortunately, we don’t need to wait for a tragedy to remind us.  We can all take time to write a card, make a phone call, or share some stories with our kids about the fathers, stepfathers, and grandfathers that shaped our lives.    

That’s The Sunstone Way. 

As always, be a Sunstone! 

John Keisler 

CEO & Managing Partner 

Sunstone Management, Inc. 

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©Sunstone Management, Inc. 2024 

More About Sunstone Management 
Sunstone Management is a diversified private capital sponsor firm headquartered in Southern California. Identified by Financial Times as one of America’s Fastest Growing Companies three years in a row. In the latest Pitchbook rankings, Sunstone Management was #15 in the third quarter of 2023 nationally, and #18 in the fourth quarter.1 

  1. Rankings from Pitchbook Venture Monitor, Q3 and Q4. 

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