What My Dad Showed Me About the Holidays

December 19th, 2012

My dad is a little infamous for being grumpy around the holidays. The merrier those around him got, the harder and longer he would work. At the time, I didn’t quite understand why he worked Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas, and…quite frankly almost all the days I saw the other dads take off. They might have been teachers or engineers or had what I considered ‘a normal job’.

You see, my dad was building something: a small company. During that time, some years were hard, maybe even lean or awful. Other years were good or maybe even superb years. But each year his company grew a little bit. He was always there looking over things, insisting that the newest employees or the rookie manager got the time off to spend with their family and friends. This is a Burkhardism to this day. I am not perfect with it, but I come back to it always and live by it. So if you need anything this holiday season, I will be around! I am thankful that my dad taught me this.  But this is about another holiday story…

Many years ago when I was a young boy, I went with my father to the local mall to volunteer and ring the bell for the Salvation Army. My father believes in service and encouraged us to give our time to the cause through his Rotary Club. All kinds of people donate money, but those with the least to give seem to give the most!  At some point throughout the day, a small girl walked by with her mother. The girl was visibly upset and crying loudly. You couldn’t help but overhear the entire conversation between the little girl and her mother. The girl had lost all of her Christmas shopping money, a prized twenty dollar bill, and her cries could be heard across the parking lot. This was quite distressing to the mother, who appeared to perhaps not to be in a place to replace it, and so she struggled to calm her daughter as she searched for the lost money amongst the bystanders.

What was so amazing to me, as I looked around was that everyone seemed to be watching all of this unfold, as if it was happening in super slow motion. No one was doing anything but watching. It was really quite moving. Yet, also quite painful. Then, we all watched as my dad walked up behind them, took a twenty dollar bill out of his pocket, crumpled it, and bent down behind the little girl. “Excuse me,” he said tapping her on the shoulder, “Here is your Christmas money!” It appeared as if he had just found and picked up the girl’s twenty dollar bill. The girl’s face lit up and she smiled, her crying subsiding completely. Her mother let out a big sigh of relief, look towards my dad and mouthed a quick “Thank you” before she and her daughter walked quickly into the mall.

If you know my dad today, then you know that that twenty dollar bill is not as important to him now as it was the day he helped that little girl. But what he taught me was that somebody always needs it more than you. What’s more, he taught me the value of giving. Before that moment, I had always thought that charitable actions were something people did because they had to, or because everyone else was doing it. After watching my dad, and his interactions with the girl and her mother, I realized that those who give to others do it simply because its the right thing to do.

From CBI Group, Placers, and Barton Career Advisors, we hope you will have peace, great thoughts, safety, and your health this Holiday Season!

3 Responses to “What My Dad Showed Me About the Holidays”

  1. Joe Jerome Says:


    This is a great story for the holidays. Especially from my POV when its read by an business owner, written by a business owner, and written about a business owner. And even nicer when it’s read by a father, written by a father, and written about a father. Happy Holidays to the CBI group and your family.

  2. Victoria Says:

    Thank you for sharing such a lovely story about the true meaning of the holiday season!

  3. Molly Oshea Says:

    What a nice story too bad the rest of your family does not feel the same way when it comes to charity.

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