Monday, June 16, 2008

Lessons From a Father

I wrote this for Father's Day last year. If you don't recall it or if you are new to my blog since that time I'd appreciate if you took a moment to read it as it explains some of the background for today's post.

Growing up under my father's influence was fairly difficult at times. He's a hard man who can be impossible to please. He's an angry man who is easy to ignite. I'm not saying it was an unmitigated horror. It wasn't. It was just painful. I can't engage in some sentimental remembrance of tender times with him but I can think back over the lessons that have come from being his daughter. Some came from happy experiences, others didn't. As you read this, please do not read any of it with a tone of sarcasm. Although I can be prone to that, this is not one of those times. I just think any difficulty has its lessons and I don't want to waste the lesson, lest I have to repeat it.

From Dad I learned...
  • Riding a motorcycle is a great joy in life.
  • The best way to enjoy a thunderstorm is on the back porch with your dog next to you as you watch the lightning dance over a field.
  • When you are 4, if you can sit on Daddy's shoulders the big waves in the ocean are not so scary.
  • It is important to be precise in communication.
  • It is important to be able to defend your ideas.
  • Don't accept authority blindly.
  • Some people will never be pleased with any effort you make so your effort should not be for their sake.
  • Love is not always forever, sometimes people change their minds.
  • Some people are givers, others are takers.
  • Avoid angry people.
  • Never let them see you sweat.
  • Some people will not honor that which is honorable.
  • Don't ask a question unless you are prepared to hear the worst possible answer.
  • If you don't deal with your own wounds you're only going to wound other people.
  • The pain you inflict ripples out farther than you care to see.
  • Some bullies back down when you screw up the courage to confront them.
  • Sometimes when you've long since given up waiting for a person to apologize, in a surprising moment, an acknowledgment of wrongdoing comes very quietly.
As I did last year I just want to thank the men who stop by here who are good fathers, who love their children, who nurture their children patiently and lovingly. I want to thank the men who may not be fathers but who have influenced kids in their lives in a positive way, who have inspired a child whether that child has been an extended family member, or a neighbor, or a student, or the child of a friend. To each of those men I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for making the world a better place for a child by offering the best of yourselves.

28 comments:

G-Man said...

Of course I remember this wonderful tribute, but this should be mandatory reading...AWESOME!!!
Have a better week Trini....G
xox

G-Man said...

BOOYAH!!!!!!!!

...And I got your Yahtzee right here!!!...Bitches!!!!

Sudiegirl said...

This was a good post...it's nice to read other people's "Moments of Dad".

EmBee said...

Are you sure were not cousins? Because I think your dad and my dad just might be brothers.

James Goodman, Author said...

lol, G-man. Now, now...there's no need for childish behavior in here. :D bitches, indeed, hmmpf. lol.

Great tribute, Lime. :D

furiousBall said...

this was nice lady. dads are good stuff

NYD said...

You are more than welcome.

coopernicus said...

I believe we had similar Dads. Now that my kids are grown and gone, fighting their own demons and looking for their niche in life, I sometimes spend time in wanton self-flagellation (like this past weekend)looking at all the negatives rather than the positive effects I had on my kids. Thanx for the reminder that not all is gray and that there is always good to be seen.

S said...

I dont remember that post from before, but I like his advice.

I am such a lame-o I didnt even know it was Fathers Day. My dad will get his cards....late.
HEH.

Ask me if I care.

Have a lovely day Lime!

barman said...

What a wonderful thing to share. Although I remember reading it last year I so needed a refresher course. Some of those items would take a little thinking to understand but for the most part, very wise. Just think, good, bad or indifferent, your Dad helped make you a stronger you and helped shape you into the wonderful person we see today. You are doing the same for your children even though it may be hard to see at times. I guess in many ways that can be called the circle of life.

I hope you have a wonderful week.

BTExpress said...

Good advise, but some of those lessons you learned sound like they were difficult to learn.

lecram said...

:)

Mother Theresa said...

Father's Day here is long gone (March 19th) so I completely forgot when it's celebrated elsewhere. Sounds like you didn't have an easy childhood and you are brave to share that with us. Those must have been hard lessons to learn.

You are right, we should thank all those good fathers out there. My husband is one of them, and for that I am thankful every single day.

Craver Vii said...

Spread the diaper in the position of the diamond with you at bat. Then fold second base down to home and set the baby on the pitcher's mound. Put first base and third together, bring up home plate and pin the three together. Of course, in case of rain, you gotta call the game and start all over again. ~Jimmy Piersal, on how to diaper a baby, 1968

Doesn't it seem that it is more natural for a girl to grow up to be a good mother than for a boy to grow up to be a good father? Honestly, if it weren't for the help of my wife, I think I would be worthless as a dad.

Fortress Guinness said...

hey Mich...i hope i qualify... although i was certainly not the 'perfect' father i wish i had been, i have two well-balanced intelligent, funny kids and i can't ask for any more than that...

having lost 2 fathers (sic) very early in life, it's something i feel i've missed out on, as my father-in-law was not a very nice man although we got close over the years despite our differences...

anyway...thanks for your comment hun...i see suse and my 'C' share similar memories...!!! ha...!!! xxx

Kathryn said...

I'm glad you reposted that. I didn't get the chance to read it the first time.
All good lessons, though painful.

Suldog said...

I'll take your word on the sometimes toughness of being raised by him, but he seems to have done something very, very right. If not, you might not be the extremely marvelous woman you are.

"Some people will not honor that which is honorable."

Magnificent thing to remember. I've never heard it expressed that way, but it rung true as soon as I read it. Thank you.

Rob said...

Lime, didn't he teach you not to pee into the wind? Oh wait! You're a girl (note my use of understatement/stating the obvious to make a point!). I guess that wouldn't have come up -- at least not literally! Never mind...

Yeah, Father's Day was good for me -- just the right blend of quiet/relaxation/watching sports on TV and being treated to dinner by, and good conversation with, my daughter. She's living proof that they can still turn out to be really great people even if you learned on the fly how to be a dad (and made plenty of mistakes along the way).

In your case, it's apparent that even if quite a few things could have been handled differently/better, a WONDERFUL, bright, kind, loving, positive human being can emerge from the father/daughter dynamic. I'm glad you are a living example of that truth and that you share yourself with us each day to remind us of it!

Thanks for another great post -- insightful, poignant, respectful, kind, and loving. Just what I've come to expect from you...

Fred said...

Very nice post, Lime. I wasn't around last year, so reading that post helped me frame up this one.

Your last paragraph was excellent. I see how people can make a difference in a child's life every day.

I need to tell my dad more often how much I love him.

Beach Bum said...

Excellent points of wisdom but my two favorites were the ones about watching thunderstorms and how when asking a question expect the worst possible answer.

Moosekahl said...

I think I like "Don't accept authority blindly". I must have learned that somewhere too because I'm notorious for questioning it :)

Thanks for sharing your lessons with us.

Mona said...

I miss my father as well. I had a lot to learn from him & he was elemental in shaping my personality to a great extent.

This is such a wonderful post Lime!

( I am writing this comment from my sister's office right now, while my son is taking his college entrance test at the moment)

San said...

Lime, since I wasn't blogging this time last year, I'm SO glad you re-posted this. I didn't feel up to writing a mushy post in memory of my dad, but you've given me an idea for something I might write later. Thank you.

And I also appreciate your acknowledgment of the men in blogland. I'm a big believer in "girl power" and all it entails, but our men are so important--I love them!

John-Michael said...

For all ... each and every influence, power, voice, spirit, and yes, even Authority (ugh) that has ever influenced, guided, challenged, and/or inspired You on your path to becoming the lovely Wonder that I love today ... I am grateful. That would include your Dad. For he did, indeed, leave you with a repository of valid and useful "reference materials" in the library of your Soul.

I love You Michelle.

KFarmer said...

Good lessons to learn~ however hard they may have come.

Jocelyn said...

These tributes are amazing. I'll tell my husband you thank him.

Maggie May said...

That is a lovely post. You deserve Post of The day!

Momma said...

My favorite line: "If you don't deal with your own wounds you're only going to wound other people."

Amen.

D