Father's Day. I am not a father. I am a husband, son, and brother. If I push it I am "the father" to a cat, dog, and turtle, but not a human being that has half my DNA or been lawfully adopted. However, I do have a father or as I call him -dad.
Unlike many of those in the skeptical realm I am not a skeptic despite my dad's upbringing, but probably one because of my dad's upbringing. (This is not to leave my mom out of the picture. She's gets a lot of credit here as well. This is Father's day after all.) My parents never dragged me to church week in and week out. I was lucky to be 'dragged' to a bunch of churches and temples throughout Europe as a kid. He was never into the healing power of crystals or thought all those episodes I made him endured of the classic "In Search of . . ." were full of the true nature of the Loch Ness Monster or Ancient Astronauts. He thought all of that was "bullshit." On topics of religion he thought all of it was "bullshit" too. He has always advocated the view that why can't people just agree there might be some power out there greater than us, the nature of which we have no "god damned" idea if it exists at all. We can just stop arguing over it, and get along. A lot of people fought and died over and to build all those churches and temples we toured. He made that perspective clear.
Dad advocated a generally positivist outlook on humanity that if we can think it, we can likely do it. Dad also thought and thinks there are a lot of kooks out there. He was not overly warm and fuzzy as a dad while raising me, but I always knew he cared and he taught me a lot of practical skills. He'd fix woman's problems by day (and delivery babies by day and night) and then come home to repair stuff. I was alway in tow. Every time something broke around the big old house before he'd hire a skilled expert, we'd take a crack at repairing it: dishwashers, lawnmowers, plumbing, computers, VCRs, furnaces, fixing light switches, that curse of the 70's the trash compactor, the list goes on and on. Most of the time the call to the repair never had to be made. We would muddle our way with him cursing and swearing and smoking until we had the problem licked. Today, compared to most of my friends, I have mad home repair skills. It is all my dad.
Anyway, he never sat me down, as I imagine the brothers Novella might with their kids, and teach them logical fallacies and basic scientific thinking. He did teach me to sniff out bullshit, but not jump to conclusions just because I wanted something to be the right answer. He taught me the value of education, and he had high expectation of me especially when I went of to college. (I still have not told him that my freshman year I read well over twenty books and articles on U.F.O.s to figure out what was the deal with them. Luckily, my personal studies did not cause my grades to suffer.) I never had to come out as someone not of faith, or argue with him that ghosts or demons did not infest the neighbors house.
My dad, while far from perfect and not a self described skeptic, is pretty great. I hope to have him around a long time, but on this day I just want to let others know how lucky a guy I was to have him around.