Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day - 10 Things I have Learned from My Father

My Dad was laughing at Mother's Day when I wrote about the 10 things I have learned from her. Then he was reminded that Father's Day was coming. There is no way I could list everything I have learned from either of them, but here are the Top 10 things I have Learned from My Father.

1. Always wash a car from starting at the top. I don't know if my father has every had a dirty car for more than a few day in his life! Growing up it was not a chore but an event every week to wash and wash the car. I remember a number of times helping and being small I would start with the sides and get what I could and every time Dad would say "Start from the top otherwise the dirt from the top is going to get the lower parts dirty again". This has stuck with me. Wash from the top so you don't have to wash anything twice.

2. Never trust a guy who won't take a drink. Man or woman on this one. Dad is a common man with strong principles of trust, honesty, and giving. His thoughts are if someone isn't willing to have a drink with you, most likely they are not willing to do much else with or for you. This has been a pretty good compass for me and even though I don't drink anymore, the statement is still true. If someone isn't willing to converse at your level they may not be worth their weight in gold.

3. A good joke can last for years. My father always has a joke or two in his back pocket. I can never remember a time when visiting or growing up that he would not be sharing a new joke. Most were pretty darn good and I wish I could have remembered them, but always have a few good jokes handy to get the conversation going.

4. Every tool has a job and every job needs a tool. If you are going to fix a spark plug - use the right tool and if you are going to tighten a screw on something - use the right tool. These tools are made for a purpose and job and using a spark plug socket tool is NOT the same tool you will use to tighten a screw!

5. Measure twice, cut once. My Dad was a carpenter by trade and an excellent one at that. Very rarely did I see him cut a board that didn't fit exactly into the spot. Seriously, not a saw blade short or long! Me on the other hand use to just looked about the right length. Measure twice, cut once. I have a hard time picking up a measuring tape and saw without his words flowing through my mind.

6. Even if you hate the process of getting somewhere, you will have fun once you are there. Oh yes, I have this characteristic nearly as much as my Dad. I love planning and looking, but the getting there really is tough. Going some place or doing some thing, I get the "why bother" attitude so quickly. I tell myself I won't have fun and that I am tired and that I would rather just stay home. And then I go and I have a good time. I have had some friends who have wanted me to come out to their lake place and hang out for a few months now. I really do want to go, but the process of doing it just is so much like my Dad.

7. Love your country and the men and women who serve to protect it. I am a Lifetime Member of the Womens Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxilary. My father served in the Marines and gave up pieces of his life to protect the USA. He is a proud Marine and to this day has he would give up his life for the sake of others. He has a tremenous sense of service and it shows.

8. Be aware of your money. My father probably knows at any given hour or minute how much cash he has in his wallet or change in his pocket. I think it is maybe because he didn't have much growing up and this has made him keenly aware of it. He is also very in line with spending only what you have so credit cards to him are not what you have. Now this is great but carrying around large sums of cash can be silly, if not dangerous. As we have begun to travel more together he has figured out that it is okay to use credit cards when you know you have the money to pay them and it is okay to know exactly how much money you have in your wallete ever hour!

9. You are never to old to buy toys. I love, love this about my father. He always wanted a motorcycle growing up and with 3 kids to raise and colleges to pay for, he never felt he could spend money on a toy for himself. Age 50 - kids are out of school and none of them living at home - go and buy a bike. The second part of this learning is always buy the toy you want - never settle. He started with a Honda even though he wanted a Harley. A few years later, the Harley was in the garage. Never settle and never be to old to buy toys!

10. And the last thing I have learned from my Father for this list is "If you are going to do a job, do it well". I get a lot of my perfectionist and work ethic from my father. Any job, from vacuuming the house to building a house, is worth doing it well. My father does not do "half-ass" jobs. Mowing the lawn - must have straight mowing lines, tilling the garden - must be at least 8 inches down, building a deck - must be big enough for everything and include as many 'kiss my ass' angles as possible. If you are doing to do something - do it right and never settle.

There you have it - 10 things I have learned from My Father. The list could go on and on as every day I think of more ways I am like him and more things I remember him telling or showing me that have stuck. I know how to change the oil on my car, I know how to handle loaded guns, I know how to fish, I know how to mud a wall, I know how to organize a garage, I know how to iron shirts, I know what it means to stand when the flag goes by, I know how to clean a house, I still love an old Kitty Wells song, I know the names of every John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movie ever made, I know how to made "good" coffee, and I know I have so much more to learn.

Here's to all the Dad's out there that have taught up the meaning of hard work, honesty and trust. Happy Father's Day!

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