A few days ago I went for a long walk with my Dad and Little Bee. It took a week to coordinate schedules but it was a call that was long overdue. As summer nears its end, it was a gift of a day. Beautiful and comfortable. Now having a very busy family life, I am ashamed I don’t make time more often to experience such a simple and satisfying activity as a stroll with my Dad.
It was great to catch up on all the important and even mundane things going on in our lives. I took some time afterwards to reflect on the lessons learned from him when growing up in the hopes of being more intentional to pass them on to his grandchildren.
1. It’s always nice to greet people with a smile and say hello. Each person we encountered got a sincere greeting and a smile from my Dad.
2. Be on time and be ready. I can always trust that my Dad will be somewhere when he says he will. And because it was so ingrained in my own upbringing, many times I am unfashionably early or on-time for things. Maybe a little socially uncool…but It’s hard to curb the tendency to be so punctual as the daughter of a military man!
3. Protect your health. Exercise. Take vitamins. Long before GNC’s and juicing were en vogue my Dad was touting the benefits of vitamin C and the like. It has definitely made life easier and more enjoyable to have that example to follow.
4. Enjoy the spice of life. An appreciation for good food and good music is essential to my existence. From a slice of Chicago-style pizza to the funk and soul of Earth Wind and Fire, I can’t imagine how awfully vanilla my life could be if little influences like these had not been on my radar.
5. Be willing to work…hard. Starting with a dose of effort, adding some elements of detail and purpose and finishing with a dash of pride and any project he was willing to put his name on was done right.
6. Make time to goo goo and gaa gaa with the baby. It’s completely endearing how much joy and sweetness are wrapped up in a greeting for Little Bee – or any of my children when they were babies. There is no care or concern for who’s watching or how un-masculine it could be perceived. Babies grow up fast and there is no time to waste a kiss or a squeeze.
7. If you want something in life, find a way to remove the obstacles and make things happen. My Dad started out on a college track that didn’t satisfy or suit him. He made some changes and ended up with a long career he loved as a corporate pilot. When I was little I remember him telling me that one of the best parts of his job was that he could see the sun almost every day. Pretty cool.
Dare I hope there might already be a few seeds of these great tools for living starting to grow in my kids? Glimpses of some of them are already visible. And while on a walk with my Dad it was with great joy that I reminded myself exactly where they came from. Good call.