Waldlaw Blog

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Honoring Our Fathers

This morning, I read a beautiful piece written by my friend and colleague Richard Hearn, the Founder and President of Starcare Associates in Newport Beach, California. Richard is a financial professional, with over 30 years in the finance industry. He is facing this amazing moment we're in -- which many are calling an unprecedented financial crisis -- with the poise and articulateness for which I have come to count on him. In this morning's piece (which is too new to even be up on the Starcare website yet), he talks about the lessons he learned from his father. Richard's father was a car salesman, who apparently was there to help his customers with problems with their cars, night or day, even years after he had sold the car, any time they called him. Richard describes the ultimate lesson he learned from his father as: "Just be there, without exception, when [your clients] need you." The story Richard tells about his father strikes a chord with me for two reasons: (1) because I have embraced a similar ethic in my own law practice to the one his father embraced in his car dealership and that Richard himself is embracing in his financial services firm; and (2) because, when I find myself in uncharted waters, I also have often been known to look to lessons I learned from my own father for guidance and support. Ironically, and completely coincidentally, I also got a short note from someone -- sent to info@waldlaw.net -- saying: "Was George your father? I was one of his many students and admirers." Yes, George Wald was my father. He was a Jewish boy from Brooklyn -- the son of a tailor -- who worked his way through college, went on to study science at Columbia in the years of Albert Einstein, became a professor at Harvard University, and eventually won the Nobel Prize in Science & Medicine for his work on vision. He made his career studying vision; but more than that he was a visionary who chose to use the bully pulpit he got from his status as a Harvard Professor and Nobel Laureate to work full time for peace and human rights around the globe for the last 30 years of his life. I consider myself lucky to have had a father whose wisdom and humor can provide me with strength and guidance in times such as these. Apparently, my friend Richard is lucky in the same way. To have both his piece about his father and the surprise note about my father arrive in my email inbox this morning, by complete happenstance, suggests a message from the stratosphere: I guess it's time to think about our fathers....


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