Updated Jun 19, 2022 - Economy & Business

Axios Finish Line: What did you learn from dad?

Dads, from left, John VandeHei, Rudra Pandey, Gary Allen
Our dads! From left: John VandeHei, Rudra Pandey and Gary Allen.

The three of us are each going to share "1 big lesson" from our fathers — and we want you to do the same.

Why it matters: It's Father's Day on Sunday! 

What Jim learned: Lead by example.

  • My dad, John VandeHei, is a doer, not a preacher. He quietly modeled and demanded three big things that eventually stuck with all three kids: work ethic, honesty and attentiveness to family. 
  • One of the coolest manifestations of the third is how he takes equal and intense interest in all three of his kids’ lives, regardless of what we do. He pays close attention to the nuances, asks tons of questions and takes obvious pride. It is a huge reason all three of his kids do the same with our parents, each other and our kids. 

What Erica learned: Celebrate the small things.

  • My dad, Rudra Pandey, is the most fervent cheerleader — whether the wins are big or small. He was as excited when I landed my first job as he was when I told him I raised my hand to answer a discussion question in third-grade social studies and as he was when I threw my first dinner party.
  • He's given me confidence, a sense of ambition and just made life more fun. I try to spread my dad's ethos of hyping up the small stuff as much as I can.

What Mike learned: Be there.

  • My dad, Gary Allen, taught me the value of being literally present. He and my Mom had four kids in four years, so they had full plates. But whether it was diving for 50-cent pieces in the above-ground backyard pool or tent-camping in Sequoia, Dad showed up.
  • Dad coached youth football for years. "Coach Allen" was revered by the boys and their parents — he had a loyal crew that played together all the way up to high school. My brother, Scott, was great — even played a bit in college. I was terrible. But Dad found a spot for me on his fearsome Phantoms.

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Editor's note: This story originally published on June 15.

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