Things I learned from my dad
- How to be a lifelong learner. Dad finds the world around him fascinating and enjoys learning more about anything that captures his interest. I can remember him taking college courses for fun when I was a kid. He already had a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree, but just wanted to learn more. Reading, traveling, and talking to everyone he meets are all ways in which he quenches his thirst for knowledge. Listening deeply to others as they share their stories has made him a very interesting person to be around.
- How to be a family- My three brothers and I were reminded throughout our childhood that family comes first. My dad encouraged us to develop close bonds with one another and made sure that we looked after one another. He felt that siblings are the people you begin with, and the people who will be there until the end. He was right.
- How to live with a spirit of adventure- Dad was a fun parent. He liked to have a good time and didn’t wait around for the good times to find him. Lazing away a day in front of the TV was not his style. When my dad was around we would go hiking, camping, canoeing, biking, to museums, play football, or anything else that struck our fancy. One of the best adventures I ever went on with my dad and brothers was our Harley Davidson motorcycle trip. We rode through Yellowstone National Park, saw the Grand Tetons, Mt. Rushmore, and a lot of the Midwest.
How to camp illegally on private property- My dad is not a big rule follower. One time when we were canoeing down the Shenandoah River, he saw the perfect place for us to camp for the night. My brother and I were a bit dubious as it looked nicer than our usual camping spots, was on the “private” side of the river, and there was a “no trespassing” sign that had fallen down. My dad dismissed our concerns and we set up camp anyway. When one of our sleeping bags mysteriously disappeared, our fears heightened. After a terrible night’s sleep, we woke up to the sound of a huge pick up truck roaring up next to our tent. The angry property owner pointed his large rifle at us and threatened to shoot us for trespassing. My dad tried to talk him down and offered to pay him $20 (good lord!) while my brother and I began packing up the canoes. We both thought we were dead. The landowner gave us 15 minutes to get off of his property or he’d be back to take care of business. You can bet we were gone in 10.
- How to tip over your canoe every time you go over a set of rapids- We went canoeing a lot when I was a kid. Passing the day drinking Shasta soda, paddling down the Shenandoah River, and just shooting the breeze with each other was the perfect way to spend a summer day. Of course, this idyllic time was always upset when we arrived at the dreaded “Compton’s Rapids.” About 96% of the time we ended up capsized and swimming around the river trying to recover all of our stuff that was sinking or floating away. This didn’t seem to happen to most of the other boaters. One time a Boy Scout Troop rescued me as I was being carried off by the current. Another time, my dad capsized the boat with his 73-year-old mother in it. Good times!
- How to avoid speeding tickets- I learned this one from watching my dad. This trick involves going even faster than you were already going, getting off at the nearest exit and making some very sharp, death defying turns. *note: I have never tried this and do not plan on doing so.
How to believe in myself- To say that I was shy as a child would be an understatement. My lack of confidence and shyness pretty much ruled my life leaving living in a tiny little world. I credit my father with gently guiding me into the light by being my biggest cheerleader and constant encourager. This was no easy journey. It took a LONG time and my dad was with me the entire time. I am a completely different person from who I was growing up and I am so grateful for his support and encouragement.
- How to be a great boss- My father was admired and loved by his employees. I think this is because he made it to point to get to know every single one of his workers. He knew their names, their stories, remembered birthdays, walked around and spoke with everyone on a regular basis and treated everyone with respect. When he was invited to weddings, he always attended; the same went for funerals, anniversary parties, and visiting those in the hospital. Each summer I enjoyed going to his company picnic when I could watch him in action and also see just how much his employees loved him.
- How to be a great conversationalist- My dad can start up and carry on a conversation with anyone. He’s great at asking questions, listening, and drawing people out. Watching him interact with people through the years has helped me become a better parent, wife, and teacher.
- How to be generous- Time, money, love, support and advice. My dad is one generous guy! He’s still learning how to say no to me…I’m hoping he never learns!!
Happy Father’s Day, Dad!
I love you!