1/10: Sometimes you wonder why people behave the way they do. It’s not always easy to pinpoint the drivers, but for many people it starts with the examples they’ve been surrounded by from youth to adulthood.
2/10: For me, I believe that “truth telling” is one of my foundational characteristics (to a flaw) and the drivers for me are obvious: Superheroes and my dad.
3/10: The “truth and justice” world of comic books taught the younger me the importance of always standing up for what’s right even when faced with a dire situation and a nigh invincible foe.
4/10: Good was good. Bad was bad. And even though the bad guys were ALWAYS more powerful than the good guys (otherwise the stories wouldn’t have been interesting), the fun was watching justice triumph in the end (most of the time).
5/10: And my dad was a salt-of-the-earth product of the Depression. He taught high school English for 32 years in the Philadelphia public school system and to this day is still looked up to by many of his students as the best teacher they ever had.
6/10: When I was graduating from college and looking for work, his only advice to me was to find a job that fit my skills, allowed me to deliver a work product I could be proud of, and afforded me a salary that could support a family. Everything else was noise.
7/10: Years later, I sent him a copy of a book I wrote in my “spare time” (which is a funny concept for those of you who know how much I work). He sent it back to me marked up with his teacher’s “red pen of truth”. Pages and pages of comments and suggestions.
8/10: I called him on the phone and asked what he thought of the book. Guess what he said? “It’s pure shit. But I’m proud that you had the mental stamina to write it. That’s puts you a step up on all the arm-chair novelists. Next time, just write a better book.”
9/10: Was I upset? Not really. He’s my dad and he’s a truth teller. It might have been “his truth” and not “the only truth”. But I knew I could count on him to tell me what he thought of it and he knew I could take it.
10/10: So when I see public figures ignoring an obvious truth or fighting on the wrong side of justice, I wonder if things would have been different if they grew up in my household. Tales of Superheroes and a little of my dad might have made a difference.