Family get-togethers are not only fun; they are also educational. That was the case a few weeks ago when relatives got together to celebrate the high school graduation of my cousins' granddaughter. I learned how my cousin Alex chose his college and I was reminded about something about my Dad.

Alex recalled that when he was a high school student, he was asked where he planned to go to college. "Well, where did Uncle Joe go to school," he asked. "Uncle Joe was the smartest guy I knew." Alex's brothers Bobby and Chris echoed the same opinion. That's how Alex ended up at Bloomsburg State College (now Bloomsburg University).

It's been many years since I had to figure out algebra or the angles of geometry, but whenever I think about them I can't help think about Dad's love of and aptitude for learning.

The mathematical part of his brain functioned at a whole other level than mine. For goodness sake, he would do calculus problems and read physics books for fun. I even gave up asking him for help with my algebra homework. He would show me three or four ways to solve a problem and my math teacher only knew one.

Decades after he ended his career as a high school teacher and administrator, his former students tell me how smart a guy Dad was. It took Alzheimer's to diminish that intelligence.

However, as much as Dad loved education, teaching and learning, he loved God even more. He was a regular attendee at daily Mass for decades. Even more importantly, though, he lived his faith. He and Mother did not have to preach sermons. They demonstrated what they believed by how they lived their lives.

Dad was indeed the smartest guy I knew, but I think the smartest thing he did was to give top priority to loving God, loving his family and loving others.

I'm not nearly as smart as Dad was, but I am smart enough to try to follow Dad's example in making sure that my life is centered on God and family.


The Father's greatest lesson is love.