What My Father Taught Me

Saturday, February 25, 2012

“Failures are divided into two classes – those who thought and never did, and those who did and never thought.” ~ John Salak

Yesterday was the anniversary of my father’s birth, and the day before that was the anniversary of his death.  Dad lived right up until the last day of his 84th year on this earth, leaving behind an impactful legacy for his eight children, 24 grandchildren, and numerous great-grandchildren.

Dad’s presence shaped my views on what it means to win or lose in life, and how significant it is to seek contentment and inner peace.  Dad spent most of his days working.  If he wasn’t building a house or doing renovations for someone, he was chopping firewood or crafting something from the finest wood in his workshop.

Dad’s days were active and his nights restful, and his words were as few as his moments of discontent.  Both a doer and a thinker, he had no time for those moments in between where one allows himself to wallow in boredom or misery.

I often marvelled at Dad’s quiet temperament in stressful situations or moments of crisis.  His lack of emotional reaction (when, really, most people would have lost their cool) caused me to ponder and appreciate the strength of inner calmness.  He had a wonderful sense of humor too, but his most outstanding quality in the heart of his youngest daughter was his steadfast committment to peace.  You see, I am the more expressive type, like my mother.  Mom verbalized happiness, sadness, anger, and pretty much everything in between, while nurturing eight little personalities into adulthood.  She was no weaker, just made of a different cloth, and with a different role to play.  She had an equally opposite strength.

I grew up witnessing the paradoxical values of expressing and remaining silent.  Both are equally important.

In any case, the challenges of raising eight children, whether you are earning the dough or baking it into loves of bread, is no easy task.  Dad’s calm, quiet presence taught me that we can be calm in the center of a storm, and not everything has to be verbalized.  Mom taught me that it is better to speak my mind than to fester.  Both hold important truths.

But this is mainly about Dad, and so I reiterate his teaching ….Dad & Snow - WordPress Pic

Sometimes quiet observation and simply not giving up when the going gets tough says more than words can ever announce or accomplish.

When Dad did speak, everyone listened.  His words were usually packed with wisdom and food for thought.

I also learned the wisdom in the above quote by John Salak, “Failures are divided into two classes – those who thought and never did, and those who did and never thought.”

Dad’s life exemplified this.  His creativity was put to use, turning his brilliant ideas into tangible things.

His endeavors to chart new waters were done cautiously and with meticulous planning.  He believed that to run boldly into some perceived great opportunity without much forethought held just as much folly as having a great idea or plan and never doing anything about it.  Both make you a fool.

Anything from a major purchase, to how to build something, were carefully thought out.  Dad never once jumped foolishly into something that would bring our family financial disaster or shame.   Neither did he waste time or energy brooding over an idea without either putting it into action or discarding it fully.

To sum up the nuggets of wisdom from my father that helped shape my world today, here are the values I aspire to:

– Be kind

– Be diligent in your work

– Use your God-given creativity

– Think before you speak (or act)

– Pray

– Laugh

– Enjoy yourself

– Trust that you are guided

– Use wisdom in finances, friendships, and business

– Eat well, and get plenty of fresh air

– Don’t let setbacks cloud your vision

– Do what you really enjoy

Dad left us in 2004.  Until I meet him again, he will guide me from beyond and from memories that are, in essence, far too precious to be described with words.



Verna         All Ways Inspired        www.AllWaysInspired.com

2 thoughts on “What My Father Taught Me

  1. I only knew your dad through the times he and my dad were together. But his manner left me with an impression of what he must be like and reading your words confimrs my instinct…a good man indeed.

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