Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lessons from my dad

I have written a lot about the people I admire.  I am so fortunate to have so many in my family - my brother, my sister, my grandmas.  Recently I was thinking of my dad and how important he is to me.  Charlie looks up to his dad a lot and turns to him for advice often.  I don't go to my dad very much for advice.  I was feeling bad about that recently - that I don't turn to my parents for help.  But then I realized why I don't turn to my parents for help.  They have already given me all the help I need.  I started thinking about everything that my dad has taught me and more importantly how he has taught me these lessons.  My dad is a very quiet man.  He has taught me his wisdom through his quietness.  He has given me three pieces of advice over the years that have stuck with me and it is this advice I have always turned to when I have a decision to make.

1.  In high school when I was picking a college and a major - I was trying to decide between the school of technology and the school of engineering.  He told me that I was smart enough for engineering.  I shouldn't sell myself short and there would be more opportunities for me with an engineering degree than a technology degree.  He was right.  I now have my P.E. (professional engineering) license and I am very proud of it.  Lesson: Shoot for the stars - always go for the challenge.  Don't take the easy way out.

2.  In college, I broke up with a guy I had been dating several months.  I didn't date a lot and this was one of the few boyfriends I had.  I broke up with him right before spring break.  I remember being broken hearted at home that week.  Finally my dad said something along the lines of "he wasn't all that great anyway".  Lesson: Get Over It.  Don't dwell on it. 

3.  When I graduated, I had several job options in several different cities.  I remember being home at spring break, taking a walk with him and discussing the two of the offers.  Finally he said "Why do you keep talking about it?  You already know what you are going to do.  You don't want to leave her."  "Her" was my new baby niece.  One of my job offers was near my new baby niece and I didn't want too far away.  I wanted to be near her to visit her when I could.  Lesson: Trust your gut.... and move on.  Don't dwell.  Your instincts are good and will lead you far.  Second lesson: Always choose family.  I'm so glad I chose where I did...  It lead to Charlie and my own family.  

My dad is a very quiet, humble man.  I love that about him.  He never talks about his accomplishments.  He has done some great things.  So many of them I wouldn't even know about and I just stumbled on them from my mom.  I learn humility from him.  Humility is a hard lesson to teach.  Right now I spend so much time praising Laci to build up her self confidence that sometimes I am afraid we go overboard and she will be too braggy or boastful.  

My dad's confidence is in his faith.  He is never vocal about it.  But I know his faith is what leads him.  His faith is what allows his gut instinct to be right.  My dad has been a great role model for me - as a person and especially as a parent.  I can only hope that I can teach my children these lessons too as simply as he did. 

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