Sunday, June 19, 2011

Life Lessons Taught By Dad

Just like my mom influenced me to be who I am, I've learned some valuable life lessons from my dad.  I thought, because it's Father's Day, I'd share them with you.

  • Be Generous
Being generous isn't always about writing a check.  It's most often about giving time or effort.  I grew up watching my dad do exactly that.  I've watched him volunteer his time and himself with everything from blind kids playing baseball to fellow war vets.  And he's still at it today.

Interestingly enough, one of the most memorable things he ever said to me was, "you'd give away your last dime if you thought someone else needed it, wouldn't you?"

I would most likely do just that, but more importantly watching him live out generosity without ever saying a word about it, is a part of what makes me me.  I'm able to "give away" my home and my heart as a foster parent, in part, because of this example. 
  • Work hard.
Over my life time, I've watched my dad work hard.  He never really whined or complained about his job, even when it changed over and over again, or when it sent us moving around the state, year after year after year.  He bucked up and worked the bad shifts and the long hours and just plain did what he had to do to take care of us. 

Even in his "semi-retired" years, he worked hard at his job.  Always giving his best efforts to each job and turning in a days work worthy of being proud of. 

This example is part of my ability to be able to look at something in my life and decide to finish it well.  A hard or ugly task is something that gets done as best I can instead of something I choose to ignore or whine over. 

  • Do the right thing.
My dad often set the example of doing the right thing, even if the "reward" for it was people thinking you were crazy.  My dad often said, "nice guys finish last" kind of meaning that when you do the right thing, people often sort of scorn you for it.  But here's the thing.  You can sleep well with yourself at night, at peace knowing you did the right thing.

  • Help when you can.
My dad is a people helper.  He's good at noticing when someone needs help and just jumping in to do it.

I'll never forget being a little girl heading up north on some camping trip and us being not far behind a horrible motorcycle accident on the highway.  We pulled over on the side of this crazy busy two lane highway in our truck with this giant trailer in tow.  My dad was out of the car and over to the accident so fast I can hardly remember it.  Mom and dad were quick to get towels and our first aid kit out of the trailer on start helping on the scene.

He could have kept driving like most people on that highway, intent on getting on with their vacations.  He could have given in to the fact that even the slightest talk of blood or injury makes him almost pass out.  Instead he helped out.

  • It's never too late.
As a young adult, I watched my dad go to college and graduate.  Now, I'm watching him write the books he always dreamed about writing.  It's never too late.

  • Attitude is everything.
Whether he realizes it or not, my dad overall has a pretty positive outlook on life.  He's always just sort of looking for the best in each every day thing.  He's got a good handle on the idea that worrying about something doesn't do anything but make you sick.  He's pretty good at seeing the good in people and just being an all around happy kind of guy. 

Not that I haven't had my dark seasons in this life or that I still don't have some dark days now and then, but I try to "live light" as it were myself.  I know when my attitude is good, when my attitude is gratitude, my life is a delight beyond measure.  It's easy to see the joy and blessing and be content. 

That's a good place to live my friends.

There are more ways, I'm sure that my dad has taught me, but these are the ones that come to mind today, on Father's day.  So Happy Father's Day Daddy, I hope it was a wonderful day. 

I love you.

In the comments today, why don't you share with us some lessons your dad taught you.