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.


Anonymous said...

Touching. My mothers boyfriend got her pregnant with me and left just before I was born. Don't know him, don't want to know him. Don't know if he is alive or dead and don't care.

My mother worked two jobs and helped get me into college. We're doing just fine.

Anonymous said...

of all of them number 5 is right on target. These teens are out here having babys and treating them like their best friend. They can't teach their children anything because they not knowing anything. These children need PARENTS not friends.

Anonymous said...

If everyone had a dad like yours Milton bet we wouldn't have all the problems we have now.

Thanks for the story.

Anonymous said...

Great guide to live by, most people would have kept that bag of money, but honesty was instilled in you that day. Thanks to your dad for giving us one black man that is decent and honest and taught to have common sense. THanks Reginald Milton's DAD !!!!!!

BP said...

Like Obama said dead beat dads. You can sum up 90% of all the problems we are having in the inner city to dead beat dads.

If you don't want to take care of the child wear a condom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Anonymous said...

Like father, like son.

Anonymous said...

You was lucky. That's why you turned out so well. You had a dad to look out for you. My dad left me and my mom when I was born. They was yong. Both was 18. He would come around to see me but that wasn't good. You need more than that. My mom didn't know anything and she was messed up on alcohol. It made me raise myself. Alot of stuff that got me in trouble becuase I didn't know better. You need people who care for you and know what to say and do. My life would be better if my mom and dad had their act together.