Column: Post-Father’s day reflections

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 24, 2011

By Madison Burke
For The Salisbury Post
I had national training for my new internship at KPMG LLC (an accounting firm) last week. Our keynote speaker was an audit partner and vice chairman of market development. As one would expect, he spoke a lot about what makes our company so great and unique, and the opportunities and advantages available to us if we choose to stick around.
But he didnít leave it at that. He asked us to picture in our minds someone for whom we hold tremendous respect and consider successful. He gave us a few moments to think, and then he began to describe our images. He said that the men and women we were picturing did not gain our respect because they were handed a great fortune.
ěWe are not inspired by lottery winners,î he explained. He bet us that our well-respected person worked hard to achieve something great. He suspected we were thinking of mothers, fathers, religious leaders, political figures, and athletes. We were thinking of people who not only succeeded in something, but truly earned their success. We are motivated by these people because we can see ourselves in them. These are our role models because we believe that if we strive to follow a similar path, we will be rewarded with a similar goalóa similar fulfillment. We are empowered to take control of our fate, rather than wait around and wish to be granted the same stroke of luck.
I was thinking of Alan Burke. This would not surprise anyone who knows me well. I was blessed with my motherís looks, but the older I get, the more I relate to Dad. When I was a little girl, I envisioned my dad as practically perfect. He was all-knowing and gave the best advice. He had a really important job that had something to do with counting numbers, and he had to work late the first three and half months of the yearÖ it seemed boring. Iím 22 now and I have learned that my dad has faults, he actually needs my advice sometimes, and now we both have really important jobs that take over during tax season.
But I am not inspired by my dad because of how much he knows or how much he has. My dad inspires me because if he lost everything tomorrow, I know he wouldnít focus on the loss or wallow in self-pity. He would wake up at 6 a.m., get a shower and a cup of coffee, take my sister to school, and start tackling the day.
Through my dad I have learned that good things come to those who work for them, success is nothing without integrity, and bad things happen to everyoneóit is your response to those events that defines you.
Every night I thank God for the opportunities he has blessed me with in the past and present, and for those that await me in my future. Then I thank him for my dad, because he is the reason I choose to turn those opportunities into achievements.