Bonding our Family Across the Atlantic – Happy Father’s Day

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Bonding our Family Across the Atlantic – Happy Father’s Day

My dad was born in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia (which at the time was under Germany rule) and lived in Germany through most of his college career before coming to the U.S. His ties back to our European roots are extremely strong. In fact, today he is flying to Europe for a four week trip visiting all our relatives there.

Growing up, my dad made it a point to keep close connections with our European family. One particular tradition I remember well was our celebration of Heiliger Adend (Christmas Eve).

Our older brother, Robin, would play board games with us in a room that was far away from Der Tannenbaum (The Christmas Tree), to keep us busy while we all awaited the arrival of Der Weihnachtsmann (Santa Claus…or if you want to laugh it literally means “The Christmas Man”). We’d know Santa arrived because the electricity in the whole house would flicker on and off. Then we’d all run towards the Christmas Tree to see a pile of presents. But unlike presents that are typically given on Christmas Day, these gifts were all from our family in Germany.

One by one, we’d open the gifts and my dad would sit us down and explain who each family member was and their relation to us. We’d then have a traditional German dinner of Goose, red cabbage, white asparagus, and potato salad.

To finish off the night, my dad would lead us in singing O Tannenbaum…

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blätter!
Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit,
Nein, auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blätter!

Though an ocean separates our family, my dad’s efforts to keep us connected has stayed with us as we’ve grown up. Whether it’s seeing each other in person, or joking around on Facebook, our family bond exists because my dad made it a point to make it a point. Happy Father’s Day!

Tom Krieglstein
Tom Krieglstein
Tom started his first business, an online retail store, as a junior in college which he grew to $1.5 million dollars in annual sales. Through his second company, Swift Kick, Tom has spoken to over half a million leaders around the US and the world including South Korea, Indonesia, and Bermuda. Tom was named the #1 leadership speaker an unprecedented 5 years. He’s a TEDx speaker, Guinness World Record holder, and has co-authored the Amazon.com award winning book “First Year Student to First Year Success.”And on a personal note, Tom lives in New York City, was named after a cat, and loves peanut butter.