Friday, June 17, 2011

5 Things My Father Taught Me

With Father's Day just around the corner, thoughts of my own dad have been occupying my time. He was not an important, well known person in society; he did not hold a position of power or have a life saving career; he did not make millions and live in a mansion on the hill; he was not perfect; but, he was my dad and I loved him. I am who I am today in big part because of him, and I thank him for being a part of my life for as long as he was. Here are a few things my dad taught me, either directly or inadvertently, that have stuck with me through the years.

1. Follow Your Dreams - No Matter What People Say To You. My dad was definitely a dreamer. I grew up in a house with positive affirmations on the bathroom mirrors and magazine cutouts on the fridge. One of dad's mantras in life was "Speak it into existence". It would actually drive me crazy as a teen, but looking back I have to admire his drive. He did not live long enough to reach most of his dreams but he instilled in me that same drive to work hard and go for it - no matter what people say to you or about you. You only have one life, so you might as well just do it. There will be no I wonder if's at the end of my life.

2. Love Those Around You. You know the saying from Bambie that Thumper's mother makes him say, "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all"? (How many of you just read that in Thumper's voice - I did!) Totally my dad! People loved my dad and my dad loved people. We couldn't go anywhere without having to go back after dad because he struck up a conversation with someone - in the grocery store, garage sales... don't even get me started on trying to get out of the church building on Sundays. Love people. Love them for who they are. Love them even if they don't love themselves. Love them and never speak unkindly of them.

3. The Little Things Matter. Picture this. It's 5:30 a.m. on a Monday morning. You are 16 years old and sound asleep. Dad bursts into your room singing "Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day. I've got a wonderful feeling, everything,s going my way"....... Um, ya. That was how I woke up most mornings, with the smell of breakfast cooking in the kitchen. The amazing thing about this scenario is that my dad cared enough about me to get up before me to make my breakfast and get me going. I wanted to throw a pillow at him back then, but I laugh now, and have to admit that I have done it once or twice to my own children - just to have a little pay back time. The point is, it's the little things in life that really matter. It's the small things, that at the time you don't really think about, that really stick with you. I have tried to use this philosophy in raising my kids (and one of the reasons that I have started this blog). It's all the little things that you do that show you really care.

4. Don't Let Others Put Limitations On You. My dad was not blessed with any sons, he got two girls. That never deterred him from doing anything with us that he wanted to do. He never made us feel like we couldn't do something because we weren't strong enough, skilled enough or capable enough. I have moved pianos, poured concrete, help fix cars, learned to sew and got my culinary suave all from my father. Yes, even sewing and cooking. He was the one growing up that made his sister's barbie clothes and cooked the dinner while his mom was working (though you would have never meet a more macho driven man than my father). He has never put labels on gender or limitations on someone because of them. When someone tells me I can't do something, that makes me all the more determined to do it and prove them wrong. My dad taught me to never let the limitations that people try to put on you effect you, because that will only hold you down and keep you from being the person you were meant to be.

5. Say "I Love You" Often and Live Life to It's Fullest! This lesson was taught to me every day. My dad was an emotional sap: he never hid his tears and always shared his smiles. We never wondered if dad loved us because he told us often. One of his most powerful lessons to our family was the day he died. I had just come home from an amazing morning run with friends when Aaron sat me down with the news. Dad had died in a trucking accident. Just like that - gone. That one event has taught me how short and precious life is. You never know when it will end so you have to live every single day to the fullest you can. We NEVER leave the house without saying "I love you", because you don't know if it's going to be your last chance. Don't have "should have, could have, would have's" at the end. 

All of the above lessons can be summed up in this last one, Live live to it's fullest. Go for your dreams and never let others put limitations on you; treat everyone around you with kindness and surround yourself with good people; recognize and appreciate all of the little things in your life, it's those little things that really matter the most; say "I Love You" often to those that matter most; just enjoy life!

That is what my father taught me.


  1. This is very touching. I love hearing about your dad. You know it's funny, Weldon sings that song in our house on a lot of mornings (not that early of course), but that is really fun and even now Jade looks at him funny.

    This made me think about mornings with my dad. He is a early riser and when I was a teen, I remember him coming into my room and sitting on my bed and bouncing the bed to wake me up. He would sit there in my face and do that for as long as it took to get me up. I couldn't hide the smile it gave me. That's funny, I had forgotten about that.

  2. Great post...your dad was one of a kind, and certainly loved people!