Happy Father’s Day! Today is the day we honor the “Dad’s” and the special men in our lives who have had a positive influence on us. Of course, my own Dad has been on my mind the past few days. I am the person I am today largely because of him and what he taught me through his actions and example. I admire him for many reasons, one of which is that he raised FIVE girls (no boys!). He always joked that he should have invested in Charmin, Kotex, and a nylon company. He would have been rich! Whether he knew it or not, he was always teaching me an important life lesson. Here are just a few…
My Dad in High School…I love his hair!
1. Be Positive and Happy: You only have to be around him for about 30 seconds to know of his happiness evidenced by the smile wrinkles on his face and his crazy laugh. Even when times were stressful or sad, my Dad could always find the positive side and turn our frowns into smiles.
2. Love your spouse: In all of my years, I have honestly never heard my Dad raise his voice to my Mom or say an unkind word about her. I can still vividly see my Dad coming home from work, walking up behind my Mom who would be cooking or doing the dishes, wrap his arms around her waist, and give her a kiss on the neck. I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes, but now I think it is so romantic.
3. Always apologize: When I was a senior in high school, by Dad was on the High Council in our church and had to speak a lot on Sundays. One Saturday evening, he had gone to bed early in preparation for an early morning meeting. A boy friend of mine called late that night and woke him up. He came downstairs to talk to me and was very angry for waking him up. Of course, my feelings were crushed, but by his apology the next morning I knew that he felt worse than I did about the situation. I will always remember how sincere he was in his apology and asking my forgiveness.
4. Love and respect everyone: By profession, my Dad taught Auto Mechanics at the local High School. The groups that he taught were amongst the more unruly and rebellious kids in school. But my Dad didn’t care. He loved those boys and didn’t treat them any differently than he did any other person. Many of those boys have gone on to make amazing lives for themselves as airplane mechanics, engineers, or owning their own shops. They give a lot of the credit to my Dad for believing and loving them.
5. Serve the Lord: Missions are a part of our religion. Young men 19 years of age, women 21 years of age, or older couples can submit papers to be called on a mission to proselyte about our church and do service. Several years ago, my Mom and Dad had recently retired and figured they would eventually turn in their papers when the timing was right. Much to their surprise (and ours) they were called into the Stake President’s office one afternoon and told that the First Presidency of our church had called them to serve in the Adam-Ondi-Ahmen mission. They weren’t planning on serving a mission at that time, yet they love the Lord and will do what is asked of them. Plans were changed, arrangements were made, and they faithfully served an 18-month mission that proved to bless all our lives.
6. Work hard: My parents always taught us girls to work hard. “Don’t be afraid to get up early, get dirty, and get the job done.” “Don’t wait for anybody to ask you to do something you see needs to be done. Just do it.” Growing up my Dad taught High School, took care of the maintenance and scheduling of the district school buses, owned a mechanic shop at our house, coached wrestling, and was the Bishop of our ward the majority of my youth. He worked hard, but he always had time for us, and I don’t ever remember him NOT being present at any of our events.
7. Money does not equal happiness: We didn’t have oodles of money growing up, but you could have fooled us. We were rich in so many other areas of our lives, that we actually thought we were millionaires. Our family didn’t buy luxury cars or take extravagant vacations. In fact, we camped every single summer and even drove a school bus cross country one July. Those memories are worth more than any amount of money.
8. Serve always: There were many nights I watched my Dad pull on his boots at 11:00 or later to rush out the door and help someone in need. Whether it was for his own family, a neighbor, or someone he just barely met, he was always the first to volunteer and serve.
Thank-you Dad for teaching me these life lessons and many, many more. It makes me happy to call you Dad.