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Today is July 6, 2022


Letting our guards down

By Michael Callahan

Michael Callahan
Michael Callahan,
Executive Vice President/CEO
EPAs of Mississippi

On May 13, I sat in Reed Green Coliseum on the campus of The University of Southern Mississippi for what seemed like an eternity.  

My son, Michael, graduated at 9 a.m. Then my daughter, Katlyne, graduated at 2 p.m.

Michael had a three-year head start, but only graduated three hours ahead of Katlyne.  

Yes, son, there ARE people who take seven years to graduate — they’re called doctors and lawyers.

What surprised me the most that day, besides my son finally graduating, was when both kids walked across that stage. I felt a lump in my throat, and my eyes began to water. I’m not an emotional guy. In fact, I’m known as more of a cold, stoic type with a hard heart. 

My guess is there are many men like me. We are supposed to be tough and strong because people depend on us. We are providers, leaders, killers of spiders and mice, changer of flat tires, and cooks over open flames. When bad weather comes, while others run for shelter, we bravely go outside and look skyward for confirmation that danger is coming, so we can protect our families.  

We do not cry. There is no crying in manhood. 

That is, until you become a father.

It is difficult to understand what it is to be a father until you become one. I’ve never given such unconditional love to any other humans in my life. I have never known I could feel such pride in someone else’s accomplishments, or such hurt in someone’s pain until I had children. It is strange yet rewarding to look at another human being and see yourself in them, both good and bad. I had heard all my life that, “The love of a father knows no bounds,” but I never fully appreciated that saying until I had children of my own.

Sunday, June 19, is Father’s Day. Dads around the country will get funny cards (moms get the mushy ones), neck ties, and a pledge to be left alone to watch the final round of the U.S. Open. We will graciously accept the gifts, and hug our children, all while keeping that stiff upper lip because dads are strong.  

We are providers and protectors. We don’t cry. Well, dads, what if, for just one day, we dropped our guard down and allowed our children to see that soft, tender side we try so hard to hide. Let’s show a couple of tears and emotion, just for a day. Come Monday, we can bottle that stuff back up, and continue with life, because that’s what we do.

So, to all the dads out there, Happy Father’s Day. 

And to Michael, Katlyne, and Victoria, I love you.  


“The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son (or daughter) rejoices in him (or her).”  Proverbs 23:24 


by Michael Callahan

Executive Vice President/CEO

Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi

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