Every year for the past 3 years, I have approached June with apprehension because it meant another Father’s Day without my first love, my dad. You don’t realize how much a loved one means to you or what they add to your life until they’re gone. As this Father Day’s is nearing, I am excited and looking forward to celebrating the day because I have developed a new perspective on how to deal with the love I have for my father. I am celebrating his fatherhood by reliving all the amazing lessons he has taught me throughout the years.
These 5 lessons have helped me navigate through various difficult situations and come out on top. Most are derived from my father’s popular sayings but nevertheless are still relevant and wise.
# 1: Do It Correctly the First Time Around
Like most children, my siblings and I rushed to do our homework, Saturday chores and any task my dad assigned when my brothers went to work with him just so we could get back to whatever it was we were doing. My father was very big on achieving perfection so he required the same level of effort for anything we were asked to do. My brothers are particularly familiar with this as they worked closely with our dad who cared tremendously about his carpentry work. Before doing anything our dad would say, “Measure twice, cut once!” Usually as a warning to my brothers to make sure they do it right in the first attempt. Whenever I do ANYTHING I think about the amount of effort I’m putting in. I make sure my decisions are thought out so I can ensure I won’t have to redo it.
#2: I Can Do ANYTHING!
You can almost never talk to my dad about wanting to give up. For a man who lived with Multiple Myeloma for 25 years giving up on anything wasn’t an option. No matter what it was my father would recite a variation of one of Napoleon Hill’s famous quotes, ” What ever the mind (of a man) conceives and believes, it can achieve” as a way to encourage my siblings and I to pursue our hearts desires.
#3: Learn From Your Mistakes
Anytime we were in trouble my dad would sit across from you, look you seriously in the eyes and say, “In the future…” as a way to begin his long speech on what we did wrong and how it doesn’t only effect right now. He made it a point to make me realize that I needed to learn from my mistakes so I don’t experience the same situations again. Of course I didn’t always listen but it made me think twice because it’s annoying sitting through all of those speeches.
#4: Navigate Around Impossibilities
Every Thanksgiving and Christmas my dad would sit at the table and watch my mom put out all of the desserts. He would spend all week neglecting starchy and sweet foods so he could indulge in as many desserts as he liked. His doctor suggested he refrain from eating a lot of sweet/starchy foods because he developed Type II Diabetes. Watching him every holiday make calculated decisions about what to eat so he could eat what he wasn’t “supposed” to, taught me to find ways to navigate getting what I want when people tell me I can’t have it. He would say, “imma take just a slither” as he cut a piece or few of his favorite desserts and put them on his plate.
#5: Health Is Important
I remember sitting at the table watching my dad sort his vitamins. He took approximately 12 vitamins at once daily. He would check his blood sugar levels before and after he ate and he remained active in his day to day activities. Throughout most of my childhood I barely remember my dad catching a cold. When I asked him why he took so many vitamins all the time he smiled and responded, “take care of your body when it’s young and it will take care of you when it’s old.” I didn’t quite understand until I was diagnosed with my seizure disorder and learned the quality of taking care of my body. If I want to be present when my boys grow up I need to maintain a healthy lifestyle which will benefit me later in life.
For those of you who knew my dad, he’s probably sitting up in heaven proud that not everything he said fell on deaf ears.