This is my dad, Rex.

He is my hero, and my brother’s hero. He is my mother’s best friend. He is kind to animals and strangers and loves nothing more at this point in life than playing in his men’s club at the golf course with a bunch of guys who have 20 years on him. Or hunting with his son and brothers.

He also likes to talk about the weather, water the lawn while sipping a beer, or and chase those noisy raccoon out of the church attic; those golf geezers might be wearing off a bit.

This week a DJ was asking radio callers, “What is the one skill you use most that your father taught you?”

Immediately, I knew. Kindness.

Sure, he taught me to ride a bike, throw a ball, take care of a car, stick with goals, and a handful of other skills. But sincerely, he (and my mom) taught us kindness. I vividly remember him telling us when we started elementary school that our jobs as Donleys were to find the kids on the playground no one else wanted to play with, and to be their friends and protectors. No matter what, we were to be kind to everyone.

Granted, I still fail at this — but I remember the pep talk when I’m walking into difficult conversations at work, or dealing with the exhausted and rude postal service clerk. Kindness goes a long way. And my father is one of the most generous, kindest people you’ll ever meet. As a result, my life is rich with friends far and wide, interesting people I know in person and from this blog. I’m really lucky to have had the examples in my parents that being kind and creating friendships makes life much sweeter.

Thank you, Papi. You really are the very best dad in the entire world, and you are beloved.