5 Lessons From My Dad


It's so cliche.

You never appreciate the best things in life until you are a bit older. 

Now that I am 41 years old, I'm starting to gain a tremendous appreciation for some life lessons my father worked hard to impart to me.

Work Hard

I don't ever recall seeing my dad just sitting and relaxing. He was ALWAYS productive. 

When I was a little girl I would sit with my dad at the kitchen table while he was working (he was a civil engineer and ran a road construction company). He gave me pads of paper and rulers and pencils and I would work, too. 

He worked 6 days a week and kept his schedule like clockwork. 

If something was going to be done, it would be done well and nothing less was acceptable. 

No Sympathy - No Handouts

It sounds a bit harsh, but I didn't get a lot of sympathy growing up. 

If you didn't feel well you were expected to tough it out and carry on with your day. 

If you wanted something you had to WORK for it. 

When I graduated from college it was NOT an option to move back home with my parents. I remember working two jobs to pay for my first apartment, but I can say that at the age of 22 I was 100% self sufficient, living on my own in a big city and making my way.

My dad gave me the tools to make it (a college education) and expected me to use my good sense to get by.

I am so thankful he and my mom didn't enable me to be a mooch.

Head Down and Keep Going

If ever I had a problem, I knew it would do me no good to dwell on it or complain. I learned from a young age to just put my head down and keep going.

After the birth of my youngest I had a terrible time with postpartum depression. I didn't want to get out of bed and could have cared less about my precious new baby. My husband, in his wisdom, knew something was wrong. He made me an appointment with my doctor, and then called my mom and dad to come and help.

In typical dad fashion, my dad immediately came to assess the situation and provide help.  My parents helped us until I was back on my feet (it was nearly a month), but in that time they were both steadily preparing me for taking care of my children. 

I cried and cried when my dad said they were going to go home, but I knew that I had to make it on my own and that they (once again) had given me the TOOLS I needed to carry on. 

Some might not agree with this philosophy, but I was taught there is very little time in life to feel sorry for yourself. Even when life deals you some horrible blows you have the ability to keep your head down and keep going.

It's All About People

My dad is a huge people person! He knows everyone everywhere he goes.

Growing up, I remember being embarrased by this. 

He always, however, took an interest in people and genuinely cared about them. 

When friends from college speak with me now one of the first things they ask is, "How's your dad?" He was the dad that made hamburgers and malts for my friends when we would come home for spring break. He's the dad that came to each school I taught in and got to know my students and other teachers.

He is gregarious and fun-loving and I would like to think I inherited these qualities.

Plan Ahead

It's good to be prepared.

When I went to college my dad measured the trunk of my car and then measured the boxes and luggage I was putting in the car. He had a diagram of my trunk and packed it SO efficiently.  {He forgot to tell me he put all of my shoes in the wheel well, though, and I had a hard time finding them when I got to school!}

I always knew everything would be taken care of if my dad was involved. Sometimes that drove me nuts.

Guess what? As I was showing my daughter how to roll up her outfits to maximize space in her duffle bag for her mission trip this week I was behaving JUST LIKE MY DAD!  

The nut never falls far from the tree!


What I admire most, though, is that while my dad taught me all of these great things, he also made me feel like I was his princess. Don't all little girls need to feel like that?

He has always supported me in each and every decision I have made. Oh yes, he will give me his input and advice, but then he supports my decision.

I knew (and still know) that he would do anything for me. He and my mom have been married over 50 years. I think men like this now days are rare. (I consider myself so blessed to have married a man like my father in many ways.)

Happy Father's Day, dad. You are a blessing to me and I hope you know that!