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Giovanni Roselli: Great Dads Lead by Example

“Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example instead of his advice.”  – Charles F. Kettering

The American Dream

My father Vincenzo Roselli was one of five brothers and sisters born and raised in a small town and commune, Carato, Italy.  He came to the United States with nothing, and built a career, a family, and a life that I look on with admiration.  

After having two wonderful daughters, my parents got to hear the words, “It’s a boy” when I was born and it was met with a little extra sense of pride to my father. It ensures the family name would continue on, which is something very meaningful in the Italian culture. 

As the co-owner of R&T Auto Repairs in White Plains, NY along with my uncle Charlie Tota, my father made a living as an auto mechanic specialist. I have added the word specialist because it would not do him justice to simply call him a mechanic.  I remember my father coming home anywhere between 7pm-8:30pm every day from the gas station.  As a child, I was basically winding down the night and getting ready for bed.  He would eat dinner and then go read the paper on the couch, and often fall asleep there.  I saw my dad fall asleep on the couch a lot over the years.  We often joked and commented on his snoring.  Being so young, what I didn’t appreciate and realize until later on is that he was falling asleep on the couch because he worked so hard and was so exhausted that he literally had no more energy. He was drained both physically and mentally. And guess what? He woke up the next day and did it all over again. Day after day, and year after year. But why?       

Putting Things In Perspective

If there is something that exemplifies my father it's that he has proven that we should take care of three specifics things in life:

  1. Take care of your family.
  2. Take care of your house.
  3. Take care of your car.

Talk about simple. Talk about priorities.

He always made sure we made a strong roof over our head and food on the table.  All three of his children graduated from college with honors, have gone on to successful lives, and provided him with many loving grandchildren. He may drive my mother a little crazy at times (what spouse doesn’t), but they have always been there for each other.      

He meticulously takes care of anything and everything that he works on – and the job isn’t complete until it’s done well. This doesn’t just go for working on cars; this goes for everything in his life, including his immaculate garden and pristine homemade wine.  The word “old school” is often thrown around nowadays, but there are a very few like my dad out there who can truly live up to that moniker. 

Leading By Example

I vividly remember one talk we had when I was in my early 20s, and he told me that, “I don’t want you to go as far as I did.  I want you to go further. I want you to be better.” And isn’t that every parents dream, to create a life for their children that is better than theirs were.

Growing up, I really didn’t think I was very much like my father. Now that I’m grown up and a father myself, I realize just how much we are actually alike and I can only hope and wish to be like him.

We both ended up working with our hands, just in different ways. We are both very emotional.  We both can have a temper.  We are both passionate in what we do. He is tough and it made me tough. I’ve even found myself falling asleep on the couch. That’s one similarity, among many others that I will be happy to share for years to come.

To all the great men and fathers out there, Happy Fathers Day.