Valentine’s Day and Life’s Lessons


For those of you who are waiting for yet another cranky, irascible post from me, you may as well just jump over to your favorite Web site.  This one is a bit more rare and a bit more personal.  I keep my personal like just that — personal – but sometimes, you just gotta say important things.

Inspired by people like Jason Falls, Chris Brogan and Todd Defren and in recognition of St. Valentine’s Day, I’d like to share a few lessons that I have learned over my 44 years on what really matters.

First, let’s start with St. Valentine’s Day.  For most of my years, I thought (and still partially do) that it is a “contrived, Madison-Avenue-Hallmark-Card-You-Suck-If-You-Don’t” holiday.  Part of me still does.  But that’s changing — and here comes the part about life’s lessons.

I have made a vow to slow things down a bit.  We who blog, are parents, do other social media efforts and oh, by the way, hold down demanding full-time jobs often find ourselves in a whirlwind of activity that drives us to think that being online 16-18 hours a day is normal.  For some of us it is, but I have decided to opt-out of that for a while.  To take a little break.  A series of operations/illnesses got my attention that if you slow things down a bit, you have time to think about important things.

So what’s important?  And do I need to look at at the calendar on February 14 to realize this?  Not so much.

There is nothing in my life more important than my family.  On my old blog, I used to always to a Father’s Day post to my family, but that one is gone so I’ll cram a little sentimentality into a social media realm.

Those of us who think we are “real men” don’t have a clue until we become dads.

Being a dad is, without question, the most life-altering and amazing experience in my life.  Just today, I got a little inspiration and decided to buy some flowers and surprise my little girl at her elementary school.  They called her to the office and there I was with a bouquet of flowers.  The look on her face told me everything that I needed to know about being a dad.

So here’s a little more that my children may or may not ever read:

For my wonderful son: Maybe someday, if the Way Back Machine still exists, you’ll find this post.  But hopefully, you won’t need to read to it know how I feel about you.  You are my first born, my hero and my best buddy.  I learn more from you about being a man than I could ever teach you.  You are such an amazing son, friend, student, athlete — but most importantly — PERSON — that my goal is to live up to the standard that you set.  Every day, I learn something new from you about how to be a better person.  I have written this before, but God gave you my eyes, but it was really you who taught me to see.  I was born to be your Dad.

To my little princess: They saying is true, but you can be a father to a son, but you have to be a Daddy to a girl.  I love your hugs and night, your back rubs when you know I’ve had a bad day, and your smart and determined personality too.  And days like today when I surprise you with flowers at your school teach me too:  the look in your eyes tells me that I may be on the right track.  They say that every daughter marries her daddy, so I want to set the bar so high that for the the man you marry — and make sure that he knows that he deserves the most wonderful girl in the world.

So, regular readers, please forgive my momentary lapse into sappiness.  I am been blessed with people (and I can’t leave out my dog, Prince) who every day remind me of what is really important — and make me a better person.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.




  1. Thanks, pal. I’m reading this at a public library and there’s tears in my eyes. All I can think about is my son. Which is a good thing.

  2. Raquel Fuentes Says: February 13, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    That was very personal and touching. Thanks for sharing a part of yourself.

  3. Mark Story Says: February 13, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Thanks, Jonathan. If you are thinking of your son, I’d bet that you are a pretty good dad too.

  4. Shakirah Hill Says: February 16, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    That was truly beautiful. My fiance` and I are set to be married in October and just recently his father passed away very unexpectedly. It really put things into perspective for us. The best things in life are truly free-as cliche as it may seem-you cannot put a price on love,trust,happiness, and commitment. We have learned to love each other a little better and not sweat the small stuff because tomorrow is not promised and sometimes love is all you need. As far as the post to your children, amazing. I am not a parent yet but I know there is no love like the love you get from your daddy. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Mark, you’ve said the things most of us feel but don’t often articulate. Thank you for this loving gift which is shared more widely than you’ll ever know. 🙂

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