“Never fret for an only son, the idea of failure will never occur to him.”
—George Bernard Shaw
Today’s story is contributed by Dr. Klee Bethel.
When Savvy Dad asked me to share my dad’s best lesson, only one person came to mind — my son.
Growing up, I was taught that success was defined in terms of wealth and influence.
Klee with David, his son, and grandsons Caden (age 13) and Brenner (age 8)
A “successful” man had a tailor-fit wardrobe, a lavish home, and enough cars to fill an oversized garage.
As an ambitious young man, I saw my path to success in the medical field. In time I became a prominent doctor. A success, I thought. I tried to pass on my idea of success to my son, David. It was my duty, right?
But David didn’t see it my way. We were close in his adolescent years — best friends, I would say. But in his teenage years, we started to grow apart. I didn’t approve of his GPA in school. He didn’t approve of my second wife.
By the time David turned 20, and had his first son, we were estranged. I didn’t approve. His choices were all wrong. No college? Working as a waiter? His new wife merely a receptionist?
As a physician, I had made a good living, but eventually went bankrupt when the economy fell. I also divorced my second wife. As it turned out, I was not the portrait of success I had envisioned as a youth.
But my son… Today, at 33 years old, he is the most talented food server in the restaurant. He is deeply in love with his lovely wife, Sedina. They have two wonderful boys, Caden and Brenner, now 13 and 8. My son and his family live a remarkably happy life.
My son’s prescription for success is simple — being an amazing husband and a fantastic father to my grandsons.
After my second divorce, I finally “woke up.”
David, Sedina, Caden, and Brenner.
I realized that my formula for success was shortsighted and wrong. My son was more successful than I had ever been. So, I decided to adopt his vision for success as my own!
Today, I am dedicated to being the best dad and granddad I can possibly be. I visit my son at his restaurant frequently. I attend my grandson’s football games. My daughter-in-law works with me in my medical practice.
As parents, David and Sedina have structured their lives to revolve around their kids. As a granddad, I now structure my life to revolve around them.
I always felt it was my paternal duty to show my son the path to happiness in life. Now, I look to him to show me the way. I consider it an honor to be part of his life.
Of the two of us, my son is The Successful Bethel.
Klee with grandson, Caden
Klee Bethel practices Interventional Pain Management in Mesa, AZ at the Beth-El Clinic. He is a board certified MD anesthesiologist who has focused on pain intervention for the past 12 years. Dr. Bethel has been an Emeritus member of the Board of Trustees at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine since retiring as its Chairman in 2009. He practices the art of medicine in both a traditional and non-traditional fashion. Dr. Bethel is also an associate medical school professor teaching a class in plant-based nutrition.