Harry Alford


Why You Should Make Your Dad Cry This Father’s Day

Dad speaking at my wedding

Tears Are A Metric For Success

Two years ago my dad was fighting for his life. Harry Jr., a veteran and successful entrepreneur idealized for courage, was laid up in bed at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, MD with a subdural hematoma. Turned out that a small spill he had at home a month prior turned into a serious situation.

He hit his head after tripping and it slowly turned into a subtle leak of blood between his brain and his skull. Luckily, my mom noticed him off-balanced the morning before a 12 hour flight to the Seychelles for business. She immediately drove him to the doctor. The doctor suggested a routine CT scan and it wasn’t even an hour later that he recommended emergency surgery. Had my dad flown, the pressure in his head would have killed him. After weeks of cognitive and physical therapy, my dad eventually recovered and is back to his usual self. I’ll never forget the strength my mother exhibited during those four long days we spent in the hospital post-surgery.

A few years later, it’s still so fresh. I think about how close our family was from losing our hero. It was this scary experience that’s led me to appreciate every moment I have with him and take advantage of every opportunity to make him proud. There is an old Yiddish proverb that says:

“When a father gives to his son, both laugh. When a son gives to his father, both cry.”

There are various interpretations of the proverb’s meaning, but to me it holds significant importance and is now ingrained into my daily life. Gifts from my parents were met with joy and gratitude as a child. Now older, appreciation of the sacrifices made by my parents brings us both to tears. I measure success every time I bring my dad to tears. Looking back over the past year, I can recount a few times he’s wept in joy in relation to something I’ve completed successfully:

  • Proposing to my girlfriend (now wife)
  • Graduating from B-School
  • Getting married
  • Launching a new business
  • My brother (Thomas) graduating from B-School

Each of these moments represented another step in my development as a man, entrepreneur and husband. My dad’s been with me every step of the way. I can only imagine the satisfaction derived from his own sons’ achievements. And that is why I’m eagerly waiting for the next chance to make my dad cry.

Happy Father’s Day to Harry Jr. and all the other dads out there!!!

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