Dads, as a whole, do a pretty good job of passing on life lessons to their children.
Some of them do it with their actions, some of them do it with their words and some use a little of both.
My dad falls into the last category, but only barely. A big man physically, and with the experiences of graduating from high school in the middle of the Great Depression in the 1930s, having to quit college and come home and support his family when his own father lost his job on the WPA (Works Progress Administration) and then being shuffled overseas to serve in World War II, he didn’t talk much.
There were days when he may – may, liberally so if you spotted him a few words – have said only about 10 words, but every one of those words meant something. They had real significance. He never talked just to hear himself talk. That was being chatty, and wordy, and for the most part, those World War II guys didn’t do that.
Instead, Dad led – and taught – me, his only child, by example. Instead of lecturing – again, not his style – he provided lessons that could be seen, and heard.
A lot of times, I never realized that a lesson was being given by my dad, as it was being given. In fact, mostly those lessons didn’t occur to me until years later, even after his death. He’s been gone for nearly 40 years, and some of them are being learned, and digested, only now.
Either he was a great teacher who knew the test of time would back his actions and what he was trying to get across would eventually be realized by me, or I am a slow learner. Most of the former, but not all of it.
About a week ago, a co-worker who is always looking for inspirational words, gave me something entitled, “I Promise Myself.” Written by an unknown author, it is a list of 10 things we all need to promise ourselves to do, think, say, believe or live to make a better life not just for ourselves but, more importantly, also those around us.
As I looked at the list, I realized I had seen my dad, at one time or another, demonstrate every single word of all 10 promises.
Perhaps you’ll feel the same way about your dad as you read these. And if you, then, with Father’s Day coming Sunday, seek him out and tell him thanks, even if you have to look up to the heavens to do it.
Promise you’ll do that?
• I promise myself to be so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.
• I promise myself to talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person I meet.
• I promise myself to make all my friends feel there is something special in them.
• I promise myself to look at the sunny side of everything and make my optimism come true.
• I promise myself to think only the best, to work for only the best and expect only the best.
• I promise myself to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own.
• I promise myself to forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
• I promise myself to wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature I meet a smile.
• I promise myself to give so much to the improvement of myself that I have no time to criticize others.
• I promise myself to be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.