This year's Father's Day Flash from the past, made his blind son a banjo for his 11th birthday. He wouldn't let him dwell on his blindness (lost sight before the age of 1 year), and he even taught him how to use a cross cut saw at age 14 years, so that he could go on to build a two room utility building and rewire his house.
Who was this? This was General Dixon Watson, dad to Doc Watson, a remarkably talented picker. From a Biography of Doc Watson: "Looking back at Doc's professional music career, it might be said that that little banjo his father built for him was the most important thing the elder Watson could have done for his blind son. However, when asked, Doc will say that the most valuable thing his father did for him was put him at the end of a cross-cut saw...'He put me to work and that made me feel useful. A lot of blind people weren't ever put to work..."
Looking over Doc's recollections, we also saw how his father knew how to challenge him in a positive way, and keep his youthful dreams alive - "One morning his father heard him trying to play the guitar and, not knowing that Doc had already learned a few chords, told him that if he could learn to play one song on the guitar by the time he got home from work that evening, he would take him down to Rhodes and Day's...and help Doc buy a guitar..."
On this Father's Day weekend, we salute the fathers who in so many ways help their children become the wonderful people they are. Here's Doc's Deep River Blues for you:
Eide Neurolearning Blog: Flashes from the Past: "My father...was the best man I ever knew..."
Eide Neurolearning Blog: Flashes from the Past: A Great Dad
Eide Neurolearning Blog: Inflection Points: Personal Discoveries that Redirected Children's Lives
Technorati tags: Father's Day, Doc Watson, parenting, biography