Happy Father’s Day to all the Daddys, Fathers, Dads, Papas, Grand Daddys, PawPaws, all the men who are engaged in the raising and loving of their children!

I have spent a great deal of time lately thinking about my father and the lessons he taught (and continues to teach) me. Let me tell you a little bit about my Daddy…. I have a father who is a “man’s man”. You know, the guy who loves all things hunting, fishing, or sports related? Yep, that’s the man I grew up with. Add to the mix that I am an only child and female, and I stay in awe of the effort he placed on connecting with me. I can remember bonding with my Daddy while watching John Wayne movies, Hee Haw (we can still sing our favorite lyrics by heart) and the Atlanta Braves and / or Falcons. Thanks to him, I can hold my own during Super Bowl and world series times and I’ve sent him many a silent thank yous when I was able to hang in the conversations around the water cooler. My Daddy is a consummate storyteller, and I learned to love people and the stories that come connected to us, while listening to him tell a tale. You know a good one is coming when you hear him start to chuckle before he begins talking. He also taught me many things about life and his own value system. These lessons have been deeply ingrained in me and are the foundation for my own beliefs today. Here are some of my favorite lessons he taught me:

1 – Treat everyone you know the same and know their name. As the legend goes, Daddy went in to take a final in a graduate school leadership course. He was prepared and had studied, but everyone in the class knew the professor to be tough, so no one felt quite confident. On the test was only one question, “What is the name of the janitor on the hall where this classroom is located”? Daddy, of course, knew the answer. He understood that it’s people and who they are, the stories they hold, that matters. I was listening. Lesson learned.

2 – In the face of adversity, just don’t panic. It’s easy to panic when the going gets tough, to catastrophize all the things that could, should, and probably will go wrong. It doesn’t help though. Rather, taking a deep breath, managing the anxiety, making a solid plan for where to go from here, and seeing the possibility of a solution, this is how we move from one life crisis to the next. And, the truth is, it feels better.

3 – No one but me has the power to set the tone for my day. I didn’t like hearing this one as a child as I wanted to blame others for my circumstances. Blaming came easier to me… When I finally saw the power in taking accountability for my own life, and not letting anyone else control how I felt, oh my, what a liberation! Years later I told Daddy he was talking about Victor Frankl’s theories of existential psychology. While Daddy assured me he had never heard of existential psychology, he did agree with what they came up with!

4 – If something is bothering you, stop needing it to be different. I can vividly remember this lesson. I was so upset over circumstances and wanted them to change. Things simply weren’t working out my way. Daddy looked at me and said, “Darlin’, if you want this to stop hurting so much, quit needing it so much.”. Again, not an easy lesson for me. But, when I am able to accept that it is what it is, let go of what I think the solution just has to look like, I create possibilities for solutions. This ties in nicely with number 3.

5 – Don’t let small moments of time negatively impact the big pieces of life. This sounded something like this:
Daddy: “Rosemary, how long do you think you will live?”
Me: “100″
Daddy: “How old are you now?”
Me: “15″
Daddy: “Doesn’t seem to make sense to do something in the first 15 years that will negatively impact the next 85.”
At 15, I got it. I still get it. This is a good barometer that I often use to determine if I’m heading in the direction I want to go. How will this impact the next piece of my life?

Following the burst of Mother’s Day it sometimes feels like Father’s Day gets lost… Mother’s Day has become one of the biggest gift giving holidays in our culture. Florists sell out, restaurants are full, and the phone lines are buzzing with all the calls to Mom. And, the role of the father can feel minimized or even negated in the discussions about parenting and the impact they have on children’s lives. The truth is, a father’s role is every bit as important as a mother’s.

Fathers,… Your children are listening to what you say through your words, actions, and the examples you set every day. Speak kindly and gently. Leave them with messages you want them to hear.

Celebrating the Daddys,

2 comments on “A Father’s Wisdom

  • Your daddy is crying….As I read your beautiful tribute to your father, I glanced at him…tears rolling down his face. Thank you for expressing your precious love for your father. What an amazing Father’s Day gift!

  • God blessed you when he gave you such a good, kind, man for your daddy. I don’t begin to know him like you but I do know he not only holds his own with any man, he could probably out cook any of us women. Or anything else we might need to have done. He’s a giver but he’s also a keeper. Love your daddy. ❤️

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