What makes a good man? When I contemplate this question, I think about the Boy Scout Law - the standard of excellence for men - young and old alike...
My father's scouting influence on me was significant - these are probably some of my strongest and best memories of him. From cub scouts, to Tenderfoot, to Eagle Scout, dad was along my side from my earliest memories to my later teenage years. He was my bowling coach too, but that's another story.
In our later teenage years, we kids turn stupid and try to start distancing ourselves from our parents on our quest for freedom and independence. Despite my stupidity, Dad was always there - willing to listen - willing to help - and eager to play euchre.
The Boy Scout Law says that a scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent. Richard Allen Hayes was all of these things, and more.
TrustworthyWhen people do the things that they say they are going to do, this builds trust over time. Solid trust takes years to build but can be destroyed in a minute. As best I can remember, and I've wracked my brain trying to think of exceptions, Dad's integrity was impeccable and I can't think of any circumstances where people did not trust him. Thanks to Dad, to this day, as I've aged and become a business leader, I highly value trustworthiness and integrity.
LoyalAlmost 51 years of marriage to Barbara Elaine Hayes, my mom. He stayed with Xerox for most of his career until outsourced. No question about Dad's loyalty.
HelpfulI can't think of any time that I asked for help and was turned down. Dad was generous and helpful, often putting the needs of others ahead of his own.
FriendlyI think he was a bit more introverted than extroverted. He did not cast nets far and wide to amass 1,000's of friends. On Twitter or Facebook, he'd probably have a dozen or two followers. His circle, like mine, was a small group of select, quality individuals.
CourteousCourteous is defined by "polite; considerate and respectful; having excellent manners". Being polite, respectful, and having good manners were core values that Dad taught us from our earliest days. He was an icon of courtesy. And following his lead, I have taught and demanded courtesy from my own children, nieces and nephews, and those that I work with and employ.
KindThere are many definitions and synonyms for "Kind". It is marked by benevolence, generosity, thoughtfulness. We know kindness when we see it, and I think we can all agree that Dad was kind.
ObedientOver the years I watched my father follow many "orders" or "directives" from my mother. He was probably the best trained human dog on the planet. But his obedience didn't stop with just following the household rules and demands of the day, for Dad rarely broke the law (that I'm aware of) - perhaps earning a minor traffic infraction or two. His obedience was exemplary.
CheerfulMost of the time, Dad was noticeably happy and optimistic. Sure, he had his down days, but mostly he exuded contagious happiness. I probably inherited my abundant, sometimes excessive, optimism from him.
ThriftyDad had to be Thrifty --- Mom was out spending all his money before he had earned it, or so he would tell us. "I'm so poor I can't pay attention" he'd sometimes jokingly say. But humor aside, he didn't live lavishly--- he embraced frugality for his own needs so that he and mom could be more generous to everyone they loved.
BraveDad had abundant courage. He fought cancer and won. He hiked into remote places and he would readily attempt to tackle things he had not done before. His sense of adventure has rubbed off on me as well. Dad favored "Can Do" over "Can't Do", and I admire positive thinking people because of him.
CleanNo question --- Dad was usually well dressed or appropriately dressed for most occasions. He shaved. He bathed. He rarely smelled bad, except for maybe after a long hike in the woods -- but then, we all smelled bad, so it didn't matter. Even in his final months, he tried to stay clean. He maintained a clean mind too.
- feeling or showing profound respect
- showing great reverence for god; "a godly man";
Richard Allen Hayes was a good man by Boy Scout standards, but there was even more to his goodness--- Elevating him, we could reasonably argue, to Greatness.
He was Humble. He knew humility. He wasn't the bragging type. If he was wrong, he would admit so and apologize.
He was constantly Loving to his wife, his children, and his grandchildren.
He was smart --- capable of managing complex computer environments and programming. He seemed to learn new things quickly, and he was keen to share his knowledge as well- as a peer, a father, a scout leader, a bowling coach.
He was Wise. His repertoire of anecdotal wisdom included thoughts such as:
- "A well stated problem is a half solved problem"
- "Smart I'm not and dumb I'm not either"
- "Call me what you like but don't call me late for dinner"
- "Don't beat up your sisters --- you might need them someday"
On June 10th, 2011, his great spirit escaped a body that was failing him. His spirit is now set free. He is all around us, embedded in our memories, watching over us, and he's laughing his ass off. I know this with certainty because I, and many of you, are now receiving multiple SPAM emails from him daily. Rejoice, if you like, in the receipt of his thoughtful emails --- just don't click on the links!
Richard, Dad, Dick, Pops, Grandpa, Dicker --- thank you for all the love, good times, and strong values that you shared with us. Hope you are having fun at a euchre table in heaven.