On this Father’s Day, we would like to take a moment to share some of the life lessons our dad, Dick Cheney, has taught us. We also want to thank him for without a doubt being the world’s greatest dad.

1. Always take time to fly fish. You get to do it in the most beautiful place on earth, Wyoming. You can’t do it well without patience, perseverance and commitment. You also can’t do it well, usually, if you are a chatterbox. This leads to life lesson #2.

2. You never get in trouble for what you don’t say. Some people, especially people in Washington , think the more you talk, the more important you are. Actually, the opposite is true. Our dad is a man of the West, where a nod often conveys as much as you need to know.

3. You learn more when you listen than when you are talking. Our dad is the world’s best listener and, along with our mom, the person we have turned to for advice on every big decision we’ve ever had to make.

4. When you do speak, your word should be your bond. After over 40 years in Washington , our dad has known many men and women from all across the political spectrum. He reserves his highest regard for those, on both sides of the aisle, who keep their word. And he always keeps his, whether it is a policy commitment or a promise to attend a softball game -- if he tells you he’ll do it, you know you can count on him.

5. Have the courage of your convictions. In politics, people sometimes move as a herd. Our dad has never been afraid to stand up for what he knows is right, even if he’s the only one doing so.

6. Love your country, learn its history. For nearly 40 years, our dad has been dragging us -- sometimes kicking and screaming -- to Civil War battlefields from Gettysburg to Chickamauga. He was especially fond of the re-enactments which invariably took place in the hottest, most humid summer months. When we were younger, we viewed this as a unique form of punishment for our latest transgressions. Now that we’re older, we drag our own kids to the same places for the same reasons. Our dad understands the importance of remembering the struggles and sacrifices that have made this country great, and of teaching our children how blessed they are to be Americans.

7. Honor the men and women of the US Armed Forces. Serving as Secretary of Defense, in command of America’s armed forces, was one of the greatest honors of our dad’s life. He will never forget the time he has spent in the company of these amazing men and women.

8. No matter how impressive your title, or important your job, nothing matters more than your family. In every job our dad has ever had, including his most recent as Vice President, we’ve known that when we needed him, he’d be there. Whenever either of us needed advice, wanted to share a story, or just wanted to check in, we knew if we called the phone on his desk, he’d answer it. He might say something like, “I’m with the Prime Minister of Japan, can I call you back?” And he always would.

9. Real men know how to cook. It never occurred to us, growing up, that it was odd that our dad was the best cook in the family. Admittedly, he had no competition. Our dad learned from his grandfather who was a cook on the Union Pacific Railroad. To this day, he loves to cook Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.

10. Never, ever, ever trust The New York Times.


Happy Father’s Day, Dad. We love you,
Mary and Liz