Sunday, June 20, 2010
some of life's lessons learned from dad
LESSON #1 Choose your priorities
I began learning this lesson from my father while incubating in my mother's womb. Apparently times were tough when I was born, and my father had a decision to make. He had to choose between me and his other "baby". His other baby didn't have feet, but wheels. His other baby didn't need constant diaper changes, but an oil change every now and then. His other baby didn't demand attention and just sat patiently in the driveway. His other baby had cravings for gasoline, and never chocolate or boys. His other baby, he thought, was his pride and joy. His perspective, of what really was his pride and joy, may have done a little shifting in a hospital room spring of '83. Even though he had to sell his Land Cruiser to pay for me, and at times-- particularly through teenage years and a week every month, wished he could sell me back, he knows he got the better end of the transaction.
LESSON #2 Sometimes it's okay to expose yourself in public
Actually, this lesson has taught me never to go on the water with anything valuable in your pockets, but I thought the other title was better. My dad loves fishing. He especially loves going at early hours, which I never understood. Secretly I think it's cause he is the "Fish Whisperer" and gets out on the water to coax them into the boat with his charm. However, I think when you get up that early, you can't think clearly. Clear thoughts would tell you to put your keys/wallet/anything else valuable into a safe place on the boat. My dad thought it would be okay to place those things in his chest pocket. Leaning into the water to net a fish + Keys in pocket = dad stripping down and diving into the lake to retrieve keys and lose fish completely. The lakes he fishes on have lots of houses around them, so chances are he has exposed himself, and his religion, to countless people- more than one time.
LESSON #3 If you are going to do something, give it everything
I think I learned this lesson several times in life. Two stories come to mind.
First Story- Us kids were playing in the woods behind the house. I think it was my brother and his friends that started this project, but when you have four little sisters, you are stuck with them wanting to be a part of the action. Anyways, my brother and his entourage were out playing with wood scraps and started constructing a tree fort. It looked good, but was a little on the weak side. Dad came home from work and asked the guys if they wanted some help. That night, our woods had everything they could want- a rope swing, fire pit, chicken coop, garden, playhouse, honey bees, and an amazing tree fort. Dad taught us that night to give your projects everything.
Second Story- I can't remember where the idea came from, but my parents decided it would be cool to have honey bees. So here we were, a family that had all the typical pets- a cat (normal), chickens, and honey bees (how about that for show-n-tell?). My dad would gear up from head to toe to go harvest the honey. One small hole in his face net was over-looked, and ten minutes into the harvest my dad, in his lovely harvesting attire, came running through the woods yelling to my mom to get the hose. His face net looked like a hive- tons of bees were swarming his face. That night we sat around watching as my mother picked at least 30 stingers from ONE of his ears to his chin. The next harvest he was a little more thorough as he scanned his gear.
LESSON #4 Hard work can be fun
I have learned to work and work hard. I never wondered if my dad was going to be able to support his family. He's always worked hard to provide for our needs. I remember being so irritated that we would have to get up on Saturdays- early, do house chores, and then go outside to do yard chores. We would mow the lawn, weed weed and weed some more (we had a LARGE gravel driveway that wrapped around our hose that would grow weeds in it), pick rocks out of the garden or lawn, chop and stack wood (living in the woods there was always a tree that fell and needed to be made into fire wood), and help plant the garden. There was always work to be done in the yard. At the end of a long work day, we would choose a kool-aid flavor and make 'slushies'- ice + kool-aid = slushies. Knowing that we would get a 'slushie' at the end of a ten-hour work day would keep us and the neighbor kids working all day. We always had a nice yard.
LESSON #5 Shoot, cast, aim
Growing up with brothers and then having a son and four girls, I think my dad thought his hobbies couldn't be enjoyed by 80% of his children. Wrong. All five of us enjoy shooting guns, bows and arrows, crabbing, fishing, camping, and are not afraid of going to the bathroom in the woods (except when you have to hike to the hole in the ground in Yellowstone in the middle of the night with bears around).
We each got to join my dad and his buddies as they participated in archery tournaments. The men would shoot and then walk us children up to the kids' line to shoot our bows. We would carry our bows and our arrows on our backs- proudly.
There were days when mom would need to get stuff done and sent us fishing with dad. What a perfect place to baby-sit- kids all strapped in life jackets, sitting still so they wouldn't scare the fish, and catching so many to feed a family of seven dinner.
How about the perfect 'man' Christmas? A dad is truly lucky when all of his kids want guns for Christmas. My dad taught me to speak about and to shoot guns. It may have taken me a bit to memorize this line, but Dad taught me about my gun and now I can say perfectly "I have a Savage 22 ten-shot semi-automatic".
LESSON #6 Heed to the promptings from the Spirit
My dad drove into town to park his car and catch the bus into work. The bus stop was down in the wetlands and all the Boeing employees would park down there to catch the bus each day. As he was waiting for the bus with his friends, he felt he needed to move the truck. He felt the prompting a couple of times and told his friends he would be parking his truck in an upper lot that day. They all teased him for not feeling comfortable that day. Two hours later the river flooded and the lot and all the cars were submerged in river water. My dad's truck was completely dry in the upper lot. He gained some respect and a stronger testimony that day.
The life's lessons that we learned growing up were endless. I am a very lucky girl to have a wonderful father. I remember always feeling safe/protected when I was with my dad- no one could hurt me. I remember a LOT of laughter growing up. My wit comes from my dad. I know I am his favorite. I know that I made it through each school year, with limited problems, because I received a blessing at the beginning of each one. There are many more lessons, and stories attached to each one, but I also know that there are many more father's days to come. I love you dad!
I have wonderful men in my life and I am excited to see my husband lead our family in ways that only a father/husband/priesthood holder can do. I wouldn't let a man into my life that couldn't take care of me like my father did/does. He passed all of the tests. He lucked out with a wonderful father and mother that taught him how to love and abide by good principles. To them, I can't come up with words to express my thanks.