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The Man In My Mirror

Updated on July 24, 2021

A Dad Can Be The Best Teacher You Ever Have

Dear Ol' Dad

My dad always taught his children life lessons through those tried and true proverbs. I always said I was going to write a book someday about my dad and label each chapter with one of the proverbs he seemed to repeat endlessly: "The Grass Is Always Greener...", "Be True To Your Teeth...", "A Bird In The Hand...", etc. I can remember, after hearing any particular one, being able to recite the ending along with him. He didn't just spout them at various times, he only used them as they applied. And he made sure we understood what they meant. So as a child, I understood, but as years passed, they each seemed to have more meaning. They especially had more meaning when I could teach my child with the same proverbs my dad taught me. However, I think one of the best proverbs he taught me has to be: "Beauty Is In The Eyes Of The Beholder". I believe I like this one so much because it begs the question: Who exactly is the beholder? Is it the person you are looking at or the person who is looking at you?

Beauty In The Eyes Of A Child

I was taught the proverb of beauty being in the eyes of the beholder probably for the same reason most little children are taught it: another little child told you that you were ugly, or your clothes were ugly or something that you thought was pretty, was in fact ugly. So of course, you run home all upset, with tears in your eyes looking for confirmation that the other child was wrong. Who did you go to for that confirmation? Well, Dad of course. He is all knowing isn't he? I sure thought my dad was. I was in awe of how smart and clever he was. I look back now and think, hell, he could have at least told me "No, Sweetie, you aren't ugly". But no way! Hey, it's the perfect opportunity to teach the child a lesson. So with tears in my eyes, I beg for confirmation. I wait for it...and..."Don't let them get to you, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder". So I stand there waiting for what I know is coming next..the explanation. I was the all powerful "Beholder of the eyes". They were my eyes and they saw what they saw. It didn't matter what anyone else thought. If I thought something was beautiful...then it was. It kind of went hand in hand with "Suits the wearer, not the starer". Haha! I now had ammunition for the next time a child told me something I thought was beautiful was ugly. Not only did I have information, I knew what it meant. So now, not only was I pretty, I was smart too! Or at least I thought so and that was all that mattered.

The Mirror Has Two Faces

They say "Father knows best". This time it was true. Beauty really is in the eyes of the beholder. One of my favorite memories of my childhood and my dad was watching him at his mirror, getting ready to go out to wherever he may have been going. He would have his ritual it seemed; put some Jackie Wilson on the record player, tap on his Canoe cologne and comb his hair until he thought it was perfect, all the while singing along to Jackie's "To Be Loved" like the song was his own. I don't know if he knew it, (I believe he must have though, because again, dad's are all knowing), but I would watch him from my top bunk. He had a voice back then that I believed was actually quite comparable to Jackie Wilson's. I'd watch him and be absolutely awestruck.

I know I may sound biased when I say this, but my dad was an extremely handsome man (at almost 80,he still is). I have pictures of him holding me as a baby and I swear he reminds me of James Dean. I wonder what he saw each time he looked in the mirror. Did he see the beauty that I saw? Or didn't it matter to him? I suppose as long as he was happy at what he saw staring back at him, it didn't really matter.

So yes, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. If you can look in the mirror and be happy with what you see, you are a lucky person. If you can give a child great memories of you standing in the mirror, as my dad has done, that's just plain beauty.


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