Monday, June 17, 2013

Father Fiasco

I was asked the other day by a friend if this is a hard time of the year for me. (Father's day.) Is it a hard time of the year for you?

I've been giving the subject a great deal of thought, and decided to share some of the things my dad taught me.


1. Honor: My dad was honest to a fault with everyone. He treated my mother with respect (always opening her door, never arguing with her in front of us, always greeting her with a kiss). He prayed for the leaders of our country and would rather take a hit on his taxes than accidentally claim something that might not apply. He taught by example.
2. A strong work ethic: He worked as a doctor. When I was young, he left at 7 a.m., got home at 7 p.m., and often delivered babies through the night. He built his own 6 foot fence around the yard. He fixed his own vehicles--and let me hand him tools while he did it. If there was a project to be done, he jumped in and got it done. Period.

3. Patience: You always knew when Dad was frustrated. His jaw muscles would clench, and the phrase "you turkey" might escape his lips, but he worked at it until he overcame an inherently explosive temper. Gratitude fills my heart that he allowed me to see him working through a weakness until it became a strength.

4. Forgiving: I clearly remember the first time Dad apologized for yelling at me--a time when I had been in the wrong. He entered my room, his head bowed, and said he was sorry, then expressed his love for me. Only the greatest of men can admit they're wrong, even if they're not.

5. Teaching: Dad had a bazillion hobbies. One was scuba diving, and he was kind enough to let me join in that adventure. Another was repelling and spelunking. I can't tell you how many high adventures I went on with my dad.


6. Loving: Dad was happiest when he was holding a baby in his arms. It's one of the reasons he and Mom had 8 of them. Not only did he always show love for my mother, but it was clear by all his interactions how he felt about people. If someone moved into the neighborhood, Dad was down the street helping them bring boxes in. If he knew of a financially struggling family, he would employ one of us to doorbell ditch and leave a package on the doorstep. And how did he spend his days? Healing the sick. I couldn't ask for a more selfless example.

Dad passed away several years ago, and although I miss him, he lives on through the things he taught me. They are a legacy I hope to pass to my children, and isn't that what family is about? One generation raising the next, passing on the good and discarding the bad for a brighter future?

We all fall short of the ideal, but I applaud all those who sincerely try. You are what makes this world awesome.

What's something you've learned from your father?

36 comments:

  1. Crystal, I don't think a more loving tribute could be written. Your father's devotion to family, community, and country brought tears to my eyes. I wish so many could read your post for positive role-modeling on what to do instead of whining. May your father rest in peace. (And I don't think the apple fell far from the tree -- his legacy lives through your good deeds.)

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    1. Much appreciated, Kittie. He's my hero and role model, and very much missed by not just my family, but the community he served. I sometimes wonder how I ended up with such a wonderful father.

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  2. Although it's painful that you didn't have more time with you dad, he definitely did his job, left a positive indelible mark on you that shows. :)

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    1. Thanks, Sherry. He did an awesome job and lives on, not just in me, but in my 6 other surviving siblings.

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  3. My dad taught me that you always drop everything to be there for the ones you love. He still comes to my rescue like he did when I was a kid.

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    1. Aw. How awesome! Sounds like a great daddy. :)

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  4. What a wonderful tribute to your dad. He gave you so much.

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  5. I'm sorry your dad is no longer with you. Thank you for sharing why he was so important to you.

    I've learned a great sense of right and wrong + doing the right thing from my father. I treasure him.

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    1. As you should. He must be a great man, Theresa.

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  6. Wow, what a wonderful dad. Sounds like he had a lot of respect for everyone he met and taught by example. Lovely post to honor him. :)

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  7. Your father sounds amazing, Crystal. I don't know where he found time to do all those things with his crazy work schedule.

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    1. Yeah, you're telling me. And I wonder where I get an unhealthy sense of overachievers syndrome. ;)

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  8. Lovely tribute to your father.

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  9. This is beautiful. I love the concept of passing on the good through to the next generation and discarding the bad. I love that as a person. As a writer, I get more fodder out of the people who pass on the bad to people who have to search out the good. :)

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    1. It's true. How do you illustrate a truly dynamic character arc without giving them a place to grow from, eh?

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  10. How perfect. I loved that he would say "you turkey" lol!

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    1. I know, right? I've never heard anyone else use his expression.

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  11. This is such a great tribute... to a great man!
    You're blessed to have had such a wonderful role model.

    Writer In Transit

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    1. You're telling me! I count my blessings regularly.

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  12. wonderful post---i too have learned many things from my father--but more importantly for me, i have learned more about him, in the two years since my mom passed away--we talk everyday---when i was growing up, i really didn't know him <3

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    1. Lynn, how sweet! It's hard lose a parent, but it makes you all that more grateful for the people in your life, eh?

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  13. Aw, what a lovely post! My father taught me that I need to work hard for everything I want. Boy, was he right!

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    1. Goodness, it's so true. He was a smart man. =)

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  14. What a lovely tribute to your dad. He sounded like a great man and role model.

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  15. Your dad sounded like a great guy! My dad taught me the value of hard work.

    You are the winner of Kamy's book, Breathe Again! Congratulations! If you would send me your email address, I'll have Kamy contact you. Here's mine: sherry.ellis@cinci.rr.com

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    1. Wahoo! And the cheese is abundant. =D

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  16. so beautiful. what wonderful lessons!

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  17. I lost mine too and father's day doesn't so much weigh me down as it reminds me of who he was and how lucky I was. And I was very lucky. Sounds like you were too.

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    1. Yes, indeed. It's nice to be able to feel that way, eh?

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  18. :) He was a great doctor (I saw him professionally twice, I think), and clearly an amazing father. I am glad you internalized his lessons so well.

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  19. i still remember the day when i was going to boarding school
    i remember my fathers advice..."don't get too close to anyone...you will get hurt if you do"
    he said that keeping in mind my 'easily getting hirt' nature
    it was the best advice ever and i'll always remember it!

    http://anj-lifeexperiences.blogspot.in/

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Hit me with your cheese!