Last month, I dedicated my Mother’s Day blog to my mom and shared what I have gleaned over the years from my mom. So, it is fitting that in honor of Father’s Day, I share what I have gleaned from my dad.
When it comes down to thinking about what I learned from them both, there is a stark difference between the two. I believe to become a well-rounded individual, it is vitally important to have both. And for that, this daddy’s girl is incredibly lucky.
1. God is always first. My dad became a Christian in his thirties, and because of that, I think is why he has never taken his spiritual connection for granted. Having Christian parents was definitely something I always appreciated, but never fully understood how fortunate I was growing up with a spiritual, God-fearing family. When I was a child, I just assumed everyone went to church and worshiped God. My goodness, was I surprised when I got older and realized the truth! My family always prayed at the dinner table, held family devotionals and was heavily involved in the church. The importance of putting God first is imperative in passing on to my daughter.
2. Finish what you start. It didn’t matter if I started a silly art project or a college course, if I started it, I finished it. To me, that is such an important lesson for people to learn and I am grateful that it is engrained in me, because as an adult, I see people start and stop things on a dime; quitting something when it becomes challenging. In my mind, that has never been an option.
3. Self pity stinks. My brother and sister will probably roll their eyes reading this one, because all three of us heard that line from my dad too many times to count. But it’s true. Feeling sorry for yourself will not accomplish anything. We were taught if something goes wrong, or you fail, dust yourself off and try again.
4. Work/life balance. My dad is a retired air traffic controller, and now that I am grown, I realize the enormity and stress that he must have been under. Though growing up, I never knew him to ever bring work stress home with him, (or he hid it very well), which has been very inspirational for me to do the same. His work schedule was pretty grueling and he had to work overnight shifts at times, but somehow he never missed a piano recital, softball game or program at school. I still remember a magnet on my parent’s refrigerator that read, “The most important thing to spend on your children is time.” I couldn’t agree more.
5. Work ethic. In 1981, there was a national air traffic controllers strike that involved a walkout, in which my dad did not participate. During that time, there was a lot of peer pressure among controllers for strength in numbers, but my dad did not get involved. Because of that, he was able to keep his job when the ones who walked out were fired. That couldn’t have been easy for him, but he knew he had to stay true to himself and do what he needed to do to keep his job. Ironically, I had a similar work situation occur that wasn’t exactly a strike, but had two lines drawn and everyone wanted people to choose. I chose to be neutral and I learned that because of my dad’s situation.
6. Always improve yourself. My dad is in his seventies and is still on a quest of self improvement. He is always searching for new topics to be discussed in the adult Sunday school class he teaches at church; he taught himself how to use a computer and even recently purchased Rosetta Stone to learn Spanish. He has always taught that you can never stop learning or improving yourself, and he certainly practices what he preaches.
7. Save your money. From the time I understood what money was, I was told this line. Anytime I wanted a toy, an outfit, you name it, I was told this repeatedly. Thinking back, this was a wonderful lesson because it taught me that things will not be handed to me. I had to work to obtain it. When I was 16, I had to get a job to save up for my first car. My parents paid for half, but wanted to make sure I learned about saving for something on my own. I didn’t like it at the time, especially because a lot of my friends were handed new cars for their sweet 16. However, to this day, I still work hard for everything I want to purchase, and appreciate it so much more that way.
This list isn’t even close to letting you know what all I have learned from my dad, but I have included the things that I think are most important. I am still learning from my dad all the time. Believe me, having him and my mom is something I have never, and will never, take for granted. I have always said the world would be a much better place if everyone had my parents growing up. And in my world, I assure you, it always has been.
What has your father taught you that you have passed on to your children? For all the wonderful dads out there, I wish you a Happy and Blessed Father’s Day!