My dad. If you ever met him, then you know that he was a quiet, good seed. He was a gentleman with a heart full of love – and the very best dad jokes ever. In my eyes, he was the best example of a dad out there. This week, it has been 7 years since I lost him. And while life moves on and things change, the grief, the pain, and the missing piece are all still there.
Over the last few months, I have been thinking a lot about all of the lessons he taught me. You know, the things that I still think about today in certain situations. Sometimes, I can even hear him saying the words. I thought Father’s Day would be an appropriate day to share them.
Lesson One: Love through Faults
We all have faults. Lord knows I have my fair share. We all make mistakes, we all make poor choices. That doesn’t mean we stop loving. My dad? Depending on the situation, he may have given a look or even voiced his disappointment. But, mostly, he would shrug his shoulders and move on. I let him down more times than I can count, but he would never let me know it. He just kept on loving me.
This is my reminder to let the small things go. The little quirks and things that drive us crazy about those we love — we have to love through them.
Lesson Two: Respect Privacy
I remember my dad telling me that he heard a great piece of advice once. He said – Never go snooping through someone else’s stuff. If you find something that you shouldn’t have seen, you can’t take it back. If you bring it up to the person, you have violated their trust (which is hard to get back). And, if you don’t, it will eat at you. So, it is best to just respect privacy and leave it alone. I have thought about this a lot in my adult years.
Lesson Three: Never Drive Upset
This should be a given. Driving requires you to pay attention and be focused on the road. When you are upset, well… you can’t do that. Whether it was after an argument or when I was upset about something that happened at school, etc. I can hear him saying to me, “Now Shelly, just sit tight until you calm down.”
Lesson Four: Take Care of the Things You Have
Maybe it was his age or his upbringing, but my dad taught me to take care of the things you have – you don’t just dispose of it and buy a new one. He took such care of his home. He’d wash his cars every weekend, inside and out. He would even wind up the extension cords just right so they were ready to be used next time. My dad didn’t dispose of anything — he cared for it. Things in life are not meant to be disposable. I don’t know how many times those words have come out of my mouth.
Lesson Five: Be Proud of Your Accomplishments
My dad never forgot to tell me he was proud of me. Whenever I did something new or even something I thought was cheesy or not my best, he acted as though it was the greatest thing ever. And I was the greatest because it was my accomplishment. It always felt so good to hear those words from him. This is really good, Shelly. Or, I’m proud of you, girl. We have to share these things. We have to tell others that we are proud of them so they can feel good about what they are doing, whether they think it is worthy of praise or not.
Lesson Six: Work Hard Everyday
My dad set the example for working hard. He never had to tell me because I saw it. Throughout the week he left early to go to his shop and he would work until he came home in time for dinner. Saturdays were meant for playing catch up at the shop or for doing yard work, taking care of cars, and so on. He was always working hard. I can hardly ever remember a time when he was not putting in the work. Even when he retired, he was still quick to take care of things. My dad worked hard and he had a good life. A modest life. A life of love that mattered.
Lesson Seven: Be Patient
I get worked up easily and I will be the first one to admit that I run really low on patience. My dad took the brunt of my lack of patience quite a bit over the years. In fact, it is something I wish I could take back. Little did I know he was always trying to get me to practice my patience. ha If you have ever had a conversation with my dad, then you probably know it would go something like this near the end:
Me: “Ok, Dad, well I will talk to you later. I love you.”
Dad: “Alright, well…………………………………………………huh…………………………………………………. I had something I was going to tell you………………………………………………………. hmm……………………………………….. I can’t think of what it was………………………………………… alright, well, I love you……. Oh, I know what it was………”
I remember taking a trip out of the country years and years ago. I told him I would call him to let him know I arrived safely, but that it would be a very quick and brief call because that was when it was super expensive to make international calls. So, I called him and the conversation went just like that one above. It still makes me chuckle when I think about it. But, truth be told, I used to get so aggravated sometimes when I was in the middle of something or when I needed to get back to work, etc. Now I wish I could have a conversation with him and I’d sit there forever listening. I’d show him just how patient I have become.
Lesson Eight: Always Say I Love You
Whether it is a momentary text, when you are hanging up the phone, or parting ways – never miss that opportunity. He always told me he loved me — and I never ever once doubted that. Every phone call, every time I left their house, or a random message in the middle of the day. I knew he loved me. He showed me and he told me. Sometimes it takes both to get the point across.
I always make a point to say, I love you. Cherishing relationships and friendships are so important because – in a moment – life can be so, so different. And will they know? Will the people in my life know how I felt about them when I am gone? I hope so. And if they do, it’s because my dad (and my mom) taught me.
Well, I could keep going, but I will stop there. My dad was an incredible man. I only hope that by living his example I make him proud. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love you and miss you more than words can describe.
Until next time… ❤❤