Lessons learned from dad…


Lessons learned from dad…

When you’re a child you don’t realize how much your parents are teaching you just by the way they are living their lives. This father’s day is different for me, I see things through different eyes after being tossed around a bit by life, and I appreciate now more than ever the lessons I’ve learned from my dad.

This father’s day I’d like to share with all of you the lessons I’ve learned from my dad. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last two years it’s that life is hard, but with my dad’s guidance I know I can overcome any challenge. I will always aspire to be like my dad—to display determination, respect for my country and heritage, to be creative, and to live my life to the fullest. I hope you enjoy my recollection of lessons I’ve learned from my dad.

Determination

While on the phone with my mom the other day I realized something about my dad, he NEVER gives up. While explaining all of the difficulties I’ve been facing at work to my mom I realized my parents have both been through complicated work and life situations, I asked mom how she and dad got through tough times when they were my age and working in physically demanding jobs for long hours. Mom replied “your daddy never gives up, he always tries, even if he can’t do something he’ll try first”. After our conversation I took some time to reflect and I began to imagine how I would deal with the challenges dad faced as a father, husband, son, homeowner, employee, friend, and patient. I thought to myself “what would I do if my body began to change because of a disease like Muscular Dystrophy, if I realized I’d have to retire in my 30’s, and how would I handle all of this while caring for my children, wife, and elderly father?” Then I challenged myself to look back at my childhood memories and analyze them from an adult’s perspective, what did my dad’s actions throughout these challenges say about the way one should handle difficulties in life? I remembered how dad continued to take care of our house and yard, how he must have struggled to find ways to make ends meet, I remembered that I always had what I needed, how I attended public school for only a year before he and my mother found a way to pay the tuition so that I could return to Catholic School to get a better education. Through this exercise I realized that it couldn’t have been easy and in fact I still can’t figure out exactly how he kept it all together, but that’s exactly what a determined man would do. My dad’s determination pushes me to keep trying, and I’m proud of him for fighting through his personal struggles, while being a provider and a dad. Dad—your strength amazes me.

Unit. Core. God.

From the time I was a little girl I understood that my dad served in the US Marine Corps. I recall hearing him shout “get up, get up, get out of the rack” many early weekend mornings, and I can assure you mom, Janie and I were not enthusiastic after receiving that wake up call. While there were disagreements between my father and I about military service, I have always respected him for serving our country, and I have benefited in so many ways because he is a veteran. One of the lessons I can appreciate today is the lesson of personal discipline. While I didn’t always appreciate that I was forced to iron my school uniforms, shine my shoes, and keep my room and the house neat and clean I can recognize as an adult that these lessons were important to learn. Thanks to dad I’ve learned the importance of discipline and this has helped me to lose over 80 pounds, maintain a clean apartment (even when my roommates and partners haven’t been supportive),and even retain an orderly system for personal record keeping; all necessary elements to becoming successful professionally and personally. Over the years I have had the opportunity to meet many different types of people from all walks of life, I’ve witnessed people young and old who weren’t taught discipline, and I’ve seen it prevent many from progressing as adults. I’m proud to say that I’m a Marine’s daughter, and the importance of service to my country resonates with me every day that I serve as Social Worker. Dad—I want you to know that I appreciate your dedication to our country, and I want you thank you for applying that same dedication to raising your daughters.

Creativity

While talking with mom the other day I remembered how creative my dad can be. She recalled that dad created a safety gadget for mail trucks that was later installed on all mail trucks throughout the city. Dad’s creativity showed me that it’s important to be efficient. He always told us to do things right, “don’t half ass it” he would say. I understand now that professionally and personally, you have to be creative in life. No matter what difficulty dad faced, he has always made time for his hobbies and while not always successful he’s tried to include his family in sharing those hobbies. I have many fond memories of camping and fishing with mom and dad, some of our happiest family moments happened around a camp fire. My parents traveled all over the country with my sister and I in the back seat watching the clouds and stars pass by. I’m lucky that I had the opportunity to see this beautiful country, from the Appalachian Mountains to the beaches of the Carolinas. Not only was dad creative with vacations and at work, he also made things fun for Janie and I at home. Dad created a safe and fun place for us to grow up in a neighborhood that was always changing and sometimes deteriorating. On snowy days he’d take us to Lake Erie to sled down hills, he’d attach ropes to our dog and pull us through the snow, in the summer he taught us how to garden and plant flowers, he gave us plenty of toys to play with to expand our imagination, and we even had a pool and swing set right in our back yard to play with. Dads—thank you for showing me how to be a creative employee, student, friend, daughter, and someday parent.

This father’s day I hope you see how many amazing lessons you’ve taught your daughters. As the years pass I recognize a new lesson every time life hands me a challenge, and thanks to your determination, dedication, and creativity I know that I’ll be prepared to face each challenge with my head held high. I love you dad—Happy Father’s Day!

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