John M. Tabor’s father learned sacrifice and responsibility at an early age, when he was left to provide for his mother and sister after his father’s sudden death. As the book recounts his experiences at a young age to struggle to fulfill this role, it becomes apparent that one of the most important lessons he learned was to provide more than financial security for his family members.
Over the years, the senior Tabor instilled his two sons, one of which is the author, with values that ensured they would be strong and determined young men with a sense of family history and support. The childhood home of the author is described in great detail, because it reflects his father’s ability to visualize and create a structure that embodied his personality, but more importantly, to provide a stable life for his family. This is significant because it evolved from his father’s younger years without his own father.
One of the most valuable gifts any father can give his children is simply to be part of their lives. It is evident from the experiences relayed in the book that the author’s father cheerfully welcomed the role of fatherhood. He was a consummate boater and fisherman and passed these skills along to his sons. Even when miles separated the two, father and son would continue to share fishing stories by phone on a weekly basis. When his father decided the boys should learn to alpine ski, they were horrified. The story of their skiing lessons and subsequent experiences as they tackle this new skill is hilarious. Many children would have given up and refused to proceed, but the author and his brother persisted and eventually learned to love the sport as they triumphed over the initial challenges. It is worth noting that character-building was achieved through the free-time activities arranged by their father. This could serve as an example for today’s stressed-out parents who drive their children from one extracurricular activity to another. Quality time spent one-on-one with children has its rewards.
The story ends with the last days of his father’s life, which takes the reader to a more somber place, but it is heartening to recognize that the legacy of John M. Tabor’s father will live on in his sons. IN MY FATHER’S SHADOW is more than a biography. It is a solidly conveyed tribute to John M. Tabor’s father which includes a great deal of history and humor.
~Karen Collins for IndieReader