Axios Finish Line

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1 big thing: Honor thy father

Dads, from left: John VandeHei, Rudra Pandey and 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! 

  • Send lessons learned from your father to [email protected]. And just as we did for Mother's Day, we'll include the most enlightening ones in a special Sunday edition of Finish Line.
  • Please keep it to one sentence and one lesson. And please include your name and city. All of us can learn from your dads too. 

We'll start ...

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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🎁 The gift of your time

Illustration of a bouquet of tulips with the Axios A on the vase.
Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

If you're looking for thoughtful ways to celebrate dad on Sunday, here are two ideas.

  1. Try his hobby. Does dad like to cook? Fish? Garden? Spend the day doing it with him. Quality time goes a long way.
  2. Story time. All our fathers have great tales from the past. Take him out to lunch or give him a call — and listen.

Thanks for reading. Invite friends to sign up.