Legacy of Father
Today I was interviewing. We have a growing family here at the funeral home. A young lady on our staff is expecting her 3rd and we need to fill a few gaps during her leave. The thought occurred to me –as a leader of our company and in light of the fact that we consider ourselves like a family, my role here is in some ways like a father. I carry authority, set the tone for daily activity, embody and empower the values which guide us and keep us on track. Encourage the great stuff and discourage the old and useless stuff which perhaps worked yesterday but no longer tends to the needs of todays’ grieving families. I feel responsibilities not just for the business and its’ successes but also a real desire to see the family thrive. Each individual is a unique self; contributing to the collective identity of the whole. The ‘Springfield family’. Who are we? What is our identity in the community? Our brand if you wish. A sobering thought for me, because who I am is reflected in this brand. Who we are as a group becomes a greater collective description of who we are individually. Is how I see myself aligned with what our business family identity is? Well to my great relief is the fact that the people who make up this ‘undertaking of funeral directors’ are such excellent people in themselves that they complement most favorably who I am, and the brand which is our family business.
My father Werner S. Henseleit died 3 ½ years ago. I miss him. He built our company and so much for our family and our community. He was father to me and my siblings- but he was like a father to so many others as well.
Thanks dad for showing that the circle of caring for others can be infinite, that hard work, leadership and opportunities for change can bless not just kin but community as well.
I guess what I miss most about my father is no longer having an immediate sense of being accountable. Having dad nearby to see and share with made life simpler. He had a quick black and white, right and wrong insight into what needed doing. I could anticipate his feedback. I didn’t need to agree with him but knowing it was there was comforting.
I made a list the other day of all the things I now oversee and have responsibility for. It amazed me. It began with me asking myself the question – ‘what will my executor need to attend to, wrap-up, dissolve, transfer, reassign, transition, if I died tomorrow.’ It was a sobering exercise. Taking stock of my life (the good, the bad and the ugly), left me humbled and grateful, yet empowered.
I’m learning daily to better appreciate the little things in life. But today I reflect on and give thanks for one of the greatest things in my life – the ‘legacy of father’ which I received from my dad and the ‘legacy of father’ I have the privilege of building for those who will follow.