Happy Father's Day Dad
Here’s to my dad. Though he may no longer be with us his wisdom and commitment to his family lives in me to this day. Here are the 5 things I learned from my dad without him ever having to say a word.
1. Stay Organized - My dad was an Army man. His philosophy was everything has a place, put it there! You can tell a great deal about people by looking at how well they maintain themselves and their home. Many times when people become depressed or apathetic their physical surroundings suffer. Remember disorder never comes all at once, it grows slowly. Set aside maintenance time and productivity and self-esteem will increase.
2. Order of Importance – The best way to state this is by quoting the financial guru, Suze Orman – “People first, then money, and then things.” All too often I see people sacrificing everything for stuff. You see people driving around in expensive cars but don’t have a roof over their heads, and you see people cheat others for a dollar. My father was never a rich man but he was never poor – be it money or friends.
3. Maintain Calm – You will just have to believe me when I tell you I never once saw my father loose his temper. Even when he spanked me he did so without even a frown. He never raised his voice and he took setbacks with a stoic nature. I remember when my mom wrecked our family car, for the fifth time, she was in tears. When my dad came home from work my mom sobbingly told him what had happened. He asked if she was alright and then had anyone else been hurt? When she said no one was harmed. His only comment was, “Good, what’s for dinner?” And that was that. We will all face challenges there is nothing we can do about that, but how we respond is totally within our control.
4. Be Honest – On my way home from school one day I stopped off at the “Chinese Store.” That’s what we as kids used to call it. It was operated by an elderly Asian couple. Being a typical corner grocery store I went up to the counter and pointed to a large jar of cookies. The wife, who spoke only a little English, had just placed in a bag the money from the cash register. She then put my cookies in another brown bag, but before she handed the cookies to me she turned to yell at a kid who was playing in the aisle. Without looking at me she grabbed the bag and shoved it in my hand. When I walked out the store I reached into the bag to grab a cookie but instead came out with a handful of money. I didn’t know what to do so I went home and showed my dad. There must have been a million dollars in that bag. Ok, I was eleven, a million dollars or fifty dollars it was all the same to me. My dad hesitated for a moment, but only a moment. He looked at the money and then he looked at me. He then said, “Come on.” We walked back to the store and when we went in we saw the husband running around looking in the trash cans and his wife was crying. My dad walked up to the owner and handed him the bag. The guy was in shock. He kept shaking our hands. To this day I can remember the fear in that couple’s faces. Now that I am a business owner I can appreciate what an impact the lost of an entire day’s earning could have. I’m glad my dad made me do the right thing.
5. Be Father First, Friend Second – All too often young parents try to be their children’s best friend above all else. This might win you brownie points today but tomorrow you’ll only have a throbbing tooth ache better known as a troubled child. Though my father and I would often do fun things together he always maintained his role as a parent. This left no confusion in my life and it anchored me.
On this Father’s Day I think of how much my dad gave to me. He taught me how to be a man, how to respect others, and how to have a fulfilling life.
To you dad, thank you.