Fathers are towering figures in our lives, whether we follow in their footsteps or blaze our own trail. We carry their names, traits, talents and wisdom. To celebrate Father's Day, we asked seven extraordinary people, “What did you learn from your father?” Their answers are a celebration of Dads everywhere.
A Champion's Champion
I learned humility from my father. I learned by observing him. He never boasted, bragged or thought too highly of himself. He treated everyone equal.
I learned the hard-work ethic from my dad. He worked 10-hour days at Holiday Park, giving lessons, stringing rackets, signing up courts and brooming courts. He never complained. It made me want to spend more hours on the court. I saw how people respected him and his work ethic. Even though I was making millions, instead of quitting his job and living off me he worked till he was 75 and didn't take a penny.
I learned how important family was to him. He visited his mom every day after work. He was a devoted son. He was a devoted husband and always put mom first. He was a devoted dad and treated his five children the same. He devoted his whole life to his family, teaching us tennis, traveling to tournaments, etc.
He was devoted to his faith, going to church every Sunday and living his faith every day by his actions.
Lesson: When I was 13, I wanted to be a cheerleader and cheer at games two to three times a week, which would take time away from my tennis practice. My dad didn't say, ‘No,’ but said if I wanted to be great at something I'd have to devote all my time to it (meaning tennis). He also said if I was going to split my time this way, he would split his time also, as my coach. That made my decision.
—Tennis legend Chris Evert, daughter of tennis player and coach Jimmy Evert
Guiding Light, Generous Heart
My dad is the man I aspire to be. He is one of the wisest, most kind, generous and calm people I know, and he has had an enormous influence on my life.
I didn't always recognize my father's wisdom when I was growing up. But eventually I figured it out and I have turned to him for advice more times than I can count.
He has a remarkable energy and commitment to making the world a better place. Our foundation would not be what it is without his guidance and inspiration.
—Bill Gates, cochair Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, cofounder Microsoft and son of attorney William H. Gates Sr.