My father always said that he had missed his calling. He fancied himself a renowned psychologist existing inside the body of a real estate investor. He was a follower of Timothy Leary in the fifties, practiced Silva Mind Control and psycho-cybernetics in the sixties and seventies and was a charter member of Optimist International. When I was a teenager he bought me books to read with titles such as You Are Not The Target by Laura Archera Huxley and The 7 Day Mental Diet by Emmet Fox. I grew up knowing what an “affirmation” was and had several taped to my bathroom mirror.
When I was first married my dad mentioned to my new husband that he was planning on purchasing the latest model Cadillac and in the meantime had placed a picture of it on the refrigerator where he could see it every day and visualize himself driving it. This gained him quite the reputation with my very conservative Irish Catholic in-laws.
But I understood him and was one of his faithful disciples, standing by his side and believing in his seemingly far fetched ideas throughout my childhood. In my teens his advice and wisdom elevated me out of the insecurities and doubts other adolescents experienced. As a young adult I looked to him for confidence and support as I discovered how to be a good parent to my three sons.
My father was probably the biggest influence in my decision to study the field of psychology. To this day I find such wisdom in books that I inherited from his bookshelf: among them The Greatest Salesman in the World by Ogden Mandino, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, Born To Win by Muriel James and Dorothy Jongward, and The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran… all replete with his personal thoughts scratched in the margins and noteworthy sentences underlined.
His legacy lives on in my heart and on challenging days when I am dealing with seemingly rude and obnoxious people I still hear him saying to me “Sis baby.. you are not the target!”
Happy Father’s Day to the first significant man in my life, Edmund Francis Shaheen Sr.