For the record, I started calling my father "Old Man" as a term of endearment at least a decade ago. He knows it is not a disparagement - he told me when he turned 51 to tell my friends my parents were a hundred years old (my mom was 49). He wears his age as a badge of honor, so this post is not a knock on my father.
I hope you have had a wonderful birthday, Dad. You deserve it. You have stood by me through decision after decision that you did not fully agree with our appreciate. You have respected me enough to be a man and make my own way. For that, I am eternally grateful. I know you struggled with your own father when you chose a life other than what he had in mind for you, so perhaps you understood it was not easy for me to decide to leave the business world to become an academic. You have taught me so much that I hope to bring to my classrooms and perhaps even my writings: the value of keeping one's name clean, the price of doing what is right, the grounding that faith brings, and the importance of learning from failure. Most of all, though, you taught me the importance of loving your family more than your hobbies, and the importance of doing quality work. Hopefully one day my career will honor your name. I know you have sacrificed a lot for sis and me to have the wonderful opportunities we have enjoyed throughout our lives. With great opportunity comes great responsibility, though, and I have a responsibility to be the best I can. This tribute to you has turned into being mostly about me, but that's how you always seem to want things (no attention on you). So this year, instead of a gift you don't want, I'm writing this post.
I love you, Old Man.