Father’s Day is always a natural time to reflect on the importance of family and the tremendous joy and responsibility of raising children. This year though, those thoughts take on an even greater significance, since many dads have been spending months in unusually close quarters with their kids, or, regrettably, apart from them. With the holiday approaching, V76 founder Vaughn Acord wrote a letter to his son Zane and his daughter Zoe relating what he’s been feeling while being with them during the lockdown—sentiments that are sure to resonate with nearly every parent who’s navigating this uncertain time.
Dear Zane and Zoe,
Sometimes life throws you resets. Things we were worried about a few months ago certainly were put into perspective pretty quickly. I think when I look back on all that’s happened, the first thing that's going come up is going to be the word “loss.” The loss of time, the loss of business, the loss of life. When you hear about so many people dying it causes you to really stop and reflect on things. A lot of things will change you, but deep down in your core I think the only thing that really changes you is birth and death. It’s made me start to wonder about whether you’ve got what it takes if something were to happen to me. Would you be OK? Do you know enough?
It’s tough for me to accept that you do. But then being with you at home during the stay-at-home orders, I’ve noticed how responsible you’ve become, how much you’ve grown up and matured. You’ve really impressed me. We’ve dug into subjects that we ordinarily wouldn't have had time to, and the things you say in conversations can be really deep, and enlightening, and wise. Instead of your mom and I doing all the talking, you’ll inform us about things we didn't know, and we'll have a new and interesting perspective. That’s been the silver lining of this time at home. It used to be when we could get you both home, we would say, "All right, Friday night, we're all having dinner, and that's it, no questions." Now it's not just Friday night, it's Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. It’s breakfast and lunch, too. So to be able to take that kind of time, it's golden. I’ll miss this time together when you leave, of course. But we didn't think we would have it in the first place, so I have to be very grateful that we've had it. And luckily we talk all the time anyway. Communication is everything. That's the oil in any relationship; it certainly should be with you and your children. But it is with your relationships in business, and the partners you choose to marry. I believe if you can communicate with your kids, connect to them, and respect them as much as they respect you, then they're going to be OK. Aside from family time, I’ve appreciated the chance to slow down. Prior to the pandemic it was like somebody had their hand on a knob and would turn it up every year just a little more, and a little more, and a little more. You get going too fast trying to do so many things. When everybody talks about getting back to normal, I say, "I don't know if that was such a good place to be before it all ended." So pushing this pause button has allowed us all to reflect—it’s what we do with it that’s tricky. At the end of the day you’re just trying to find a balance through it all. Enjoy the victories, but tomorrow's going to come. And when you're defeated, you’ve got to do it again. You can't go too high on the highs, or too lows on the lows. Always remember that you’ve got to put everything into perspective. Some days you wake up in the morning and say, "What's going on? What's going to happen to my career? What's going to happen to kids going to school next year?” But hold on to those other days, the ones where you wake up and feel positive, and you just know we're going to get through this.