The Best Advice For Kids Struggling With Their Identity Came From A Farmer In The 50s

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StoryCorps — the NPR-backed, mobile storytelling collection effort that lets anyone contribute to the country’s oral history — has uncovered an unlikely a candidate for World’s Greatest Father, and he was a farmer in 1950s rural Washington State. Patrick Haggerty, now 70, recently recounted for StoryCorps a bit of wisdom his dad Charles bestowed upon in a decade better known for poodle skirts than progressive thinking.

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wHjJUdN16k expand=1]

Turns out Charles knew his son was gay before Patrick himself knew it, and when a high school-aged Patrick chides his dad for wearing “cow-crap jeans” to a school recital, Charles delivers some unexpected, tough-but-brilliant love: “Don’t sneak. Because if you sneak … it means you think you’re doing the wrong thing. And if you run around spending your whole life thinking that you’re doing the wrong thing, then you’ll ruin your immortal soul.”

You’d be hard-pressed to find better advice given in the ensuing 60-plus years for any kid struggling with their own identity — maybe bookmark it until your own hit high school.

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