Most of us have heard that children may listen to what their parents say, but it’s their parents’ behavior and actions that children tend to follow. How lucky I am to have had a Father who’s actions and behavior makes me proud to be his daughter.
For the most part, in my growing-up formative years, he was somewhat quiet at home. This is in contrast to how the rest of the world knew him. In his day to day life, in the outside world, he was gregarious, extroverted, and had an endearing humorous personality. In fact, when most people speak with me in remembering him, they often say they recall his unending repertoire of jokes. He was also a physically strong man and one that commanded respect always. Other than the usual disciplinary exchanges, of which there were many with me, our conversations were limited and few in my younger years. It wasn’t until the last several years of his life that I got to know the man I call Dad as a person and as my best friend, and appreciate the extraordinary man he truly was.
He had dyslexia but was never diagnosed or received special education, for that wasn’t addressed in his era in school. Sadly, he lived his life thinking he wasn’t “smart” or “intelligent”. I totally differ with his self-assessment, for my Father was one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever known. Reading may have been difficult for him, but his knowledge about life and people, and what was worthy of knowing and doing was extensive.
As I stated, what parents say is one thing, but what my Dad taught me, through my observation, in his behavior and action was a PRICELESS education.
God and Faith: My Dad taught me to have strong faith in God. He taught me to have a trusting relationship, and that all would always work out, for my higher good, even when I didn’t understand life’s difficulties and challenges. He would always say “Don’t worry, it’s all going to be okay” and he said it with such sincerity and conviction, that I always believed him and he was always right. As strong as my faith is, I miss his gentle reassurance and reminder more than I can say.
Family: My Dad taught the importance of family and loyalty to your family, and the importance of doing all you could for loved ones to the best of your ability, even if some self-sacrifice was required. He also taught me that if this level of love and commitment isn’t deserving or appreciated, it’s okay to let go. No revenge is needed, but avoidance and boundaries are acceptable.
Friends: My Dad taught me the value of true, loyal, trustworthy friends and to cultivate relationships with friends that were of character, integrity, and that were worthy of that loyalty, trust and love.
Work: My Dad taught me to always give my best to any employer for whom I worked. It didn’t matter if I liked what I was doing, or thought it would be a life-long career, but to always perform to the best of my ability and give value for my compensation. That has carried over even now that I am self-employed. My clients get my best all the time. Dad also taught me to respect everyone with whom I worked, from the top to the bottom. He literally subscribed to the saying “Treat the boss to the lowest level co-workers with the same respect”, unless it isn’t deserved.
Honor Your Word: My Dad grew up in a time when someone’s word or a handshake had the same value as a written contract. Whether he agreed to something for work or as a personal commitment, he honored what he said he would do. Before I agree to something, I always take a step back to discern if I can honor my word or commitment. Being viewed as trustworthy is important to me so this is a code I live by.
Own Your Mistakes: My Dad taught me to admit to wrong doing, whether it was intentional or not an aforethought of wrong-doing. Mistakes in life happen, so be willing to admit them, fix what can be fixed, and make amends or restitution when required.
Be a Person You’d Admire and Respect: My Dad taught me to work at being the best person I can be. Granted some days and situations will test my ability to be a nice, kind person, and there have been and will be moments that I regret my actions or thoughts. But more often than not, I try to be the person my Dad would be proud to call his daughter.
Life doesn’t come with instructions. There are many moments and situations that I wish a road map, or an answer would be clear cut and given. But I was blessed to have a great mentor and guide, to instill in me the importance of being a faith filled, humble, and honest woman of integrity, character, and compassion. And if I keep my Dad’s Life Lessons in the forefront of my thoughts and actions, I hope when we meet again in the afterlife, that he will look me in the eye and say “Well done, I am proud of you and I love you”.
Wishing you health, moments that make your family and friends proud of you, and living your best life.