Letters to My Dad

I recently turned 44.  As I was driving in to the office the other day, I was talking to my dad and we were reminiscing about something.  He’s one of my closest friends and I’ve learned such an amazing amount from him over my 44 years on this planet.  He’s been blogging for a while about Repairing the Healthcare System and periodically tosses in a personal blog post about one of his life experiences.

Suddenly, during the call, I suggested that we write letters to each other on our blogs.  We talk by phone a few times a week, email regularly, and video Skype at least once a week.  But I learn the most from him when we have our long annual father / son weekend, or when we end up on a 45 minute call (like we did today) talking about the Senate and healthcare.  And I thought about a picture that was recently sent to me of him when he was a little older than me (about 47 I think).  I’m the skinny kid on the left; my first business partner Dave Jilk is on the right.

Dave Brad Stan039

I’ve got a long list of “Stanley-isms” that I’ve incorporated into my life.  They pop out randomly in various contexts, but always influence the things I do on a daily basis, how I act, and how I treat other people.  I still learn a lot whenever I ponder them and thought they’d be great fodder for this blog.

While I don’t have kids, I’m watching some of my close friends raise their children.  Most of the kids are between the age of 5 and 10; the parent / child relationships in my circle of friends are uniformly excellent.  At a pre-board meeting dinner tonight, we spent some time talking about kids, especially in the context of how the parents (every one of them very smart and accomplished) are thinking about the transition of their kids from pre-teen through teenage years.

I’m not going to experience this as a parent, but I certainly experienced this as a kid.  And when reflect on the influence my father had on me, how he interacted with me at that age, and the way it has shaped my character, I smile.  A very big smile.  So I thought I’d share some of that with you.

I don’t know how often I’ll write Letters to My Dad but I hope to be able to keep up with one of my favorite tweeters, ShitMyDadSays.  Oh – and my dad is still wearing that NY Yankees shirt and baseball cap to this day.

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  • Brad you and Daniel are very lucky (you already know that) to have a Dad like you do. Send him my best!

  • Please reconsider never being a parent. You would be a great Dad.

  • As a parent of two kids entering their teen years and becoming good friends with you over the last couple of years, I agree with Mike that you'd be an incredible dad. On the other hand, the amount of time you're able to devote to your biggest passions: Amy, being a great venture investor, geek, friend and mentor to so many, makes you who you are. There are so many that benefit from the time you have to give by not being a dad. There's a horse for every saddle pal, and you've clearly found your horse…

  • I love love love this post – you and Daniel are such neat people – now it makes sense!!!

  • Satish

    Cherish the relationship. 🙂

    I just turned 30 a month ago. My dad was always a good friend of mine. He respected my ideas even when i was a teenager. He understood that he could learn about different things from me while teaching me stuff he knew. 🙂 I moved to the US when i turned 20 and for the next 10 years i put my head down working my butt off in startup world and I didnt make the effort to talk to him as much. I thought there would be time for that later once I am successful, afterall I was still in my 20s. And then when i was 27, my dad had a massive stroke, half his body paralyzed. Most devastating of all, he could understand everything that you say but cant talk- at best "Hi, How are you, how is your wife, when are you comeing to india in one or two word phrases if he remembers those words". 🙂

    Now I miss those conversations with my dad. 🙂

  • I'm hoping your dad has actually worn other shirts and hats over the past 44+ years! Wow, if not, that's gotta be some sort of record 😉

    Cool stuff Brad. I never had the chance to know my real father (mother divorced while I was still infant) and for most of my young adult life, was rather pissed off at my step father. But then, around the age of 30 +/- I got over it and started learning some stuff from him. Now that I'm getting older, I realize so much more about why he might have been the way he was; how life affected him, me, everyone?

  • I'm always interested in what your thinking about and your insight into start-ups and the tech. and VC scene, but I think my favorite thing about stumbling across your blog is that it showcases the fact that you are a 'real' and open person.

    Thanks for being you across the board, it's very uplifting!

  • All three of you look exactly the same!

  • I will – yes – we are lucky. You should go see him in Dallas on your travels.

  • It’s too late.  At 44 I can’t even imagine it.

  • Thanks – very perceptive.  I’ve often said “not having kids” frees me up to do what I do, the way I do it.

  • Yup – Stan definitely molded both of us.  More soon as we write letters back and forth to each other.

  • I think he’s got a few Yankee shirts. Life (and people) are complicated.  Sounds like you’ve figured out some interesting things.

  • Brad & Daniel…Your dad is one of the sharpest people I have ever met…and a great interview too!

  • Just read your Dad's stamps post (http://stanleyfeldmdmace.typepad.com/repairing_th

    What stood out to me was the simple fact that he took canceled his scheduled patients to attend the meeting at your school. How many professionals would even consider doing the same nowadays? Definitely shows where his priorities were and, I suspect, still are.

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  • Wish I had a dad like you, everyone should have that! Nice reading.

  • Autybuns09

    that sounds like what i did when i was young and my dad was on a trip

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