Voices: My Father

by Campbell Robbins ’09

June 15, 2007

We would learn a little about work, and how nothing comes to you magically.

As a very young boy, before I even knew how to swim, I loved to run and jump into my dad's arms in the pool at my Grandma's condominium. I knew that once I was in my father's arms, nothing could hurt me. A sense of calm and tranquility would overwhelm any tension or fear I might have had.

Believe it or not, two decades later, I still feel the same way whenever my father is present.

The good examples my father has set for me are countless. I've never met a person with such high moral standards. Despite many attempts, I never could budge my way out of going to Sunday School or church each week, nor could I miss prep meetings for Confirmation Sunday afternoons, even when the Colts or Hoosiers were playing. Schoolwork and then music lessons always came before athletics. Several of my coaches were constantly frustrated at the fact that, every Tuesday from 4:30-5:30 I had piano and guitar lessons, and that my parents were not going to budge at all. We would miss any game or practice scheduled during that time.

What was the end result? While I stopped playing basketball after my senior year in high school, my piano and classical guitar continue to be sources of stress-release and pleasure and will be for the rest of my life.

Dad helped set my priorities straight as a young boy, and though it was annoying as hell at the time, I'm now forever grateful.

Loyalty is one of my father's strongest traits-next to his devotion to God, nothing is more important to him than his family and friends.

As I now realize how hard my father works and how dedicated he is to his job, I'm awe-struck by the way he has always made time to spend with his sons, cooking us pancakes on Saturday mornings and coaching our basketball and baseball teams. Weekends that could have been spent golfing or watching football all day on the couch were instead spent taking us down to Morgantown to spend the day fishing (where lessons of patience and perseverance were taught), or we spent Saturday afternoon out in the yard willingly helping him dig up weeds, planting bulbs, and picking cherries, among other things. I can't recall one Saturday afternoon spent solely watching college football. My dad wouldn't hear of it.

We would learn a little about work, and how nothing comes to you magically.

Today I deeply admire the hard work my dad, his brother, his mother, aunts, and grandparents had to do to come through, especially when Dad's own father died when he was barely six. This determination and courage spanning three generations, has allowed me to have so many undeserved gifts, and I know that I too often forget how very fortunate I am.

Looking out tonight at Wabash icons like professors Raymond Williams and Bill Placher, I can see how they helped shape my father during his Wabash years. I understand why my father is so fond of his alma mater, and why he proudly displays his diploma in his office at home. Wabash, without a doubt, played a key part leading my father into manhood, as it is doing the same to me right now.

I am grateful to be able to publicly acknowledge all the things my father has done for us, and which he is too humble ever to bring into the open. Dad, you are Some Little Giant, some great dad,and forever my hero. I love you.




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