Monday, June 21, 2010

Lessons From Dad

With yesterday being Father's Day, I couldn't help but think of all of the small moments thus far with my dad that have served as great life lessons. Here are just a few of those off the top of my head:

-Being woke up first thing on Saturday mornings after Friday night football games to cut or hang tobacco. Those mornings with sprained ankles were especially rough. Walking around on those barn rails with a messed up ankle was definitely tough early in the morning but by the end of the day, most of the pain had worked itself out. Having sprained my ankles at least a dozen times in high school, the "work it out in the barn" method definitely helped me get back to practice much quicker than the "walk around on crutches for a week" method. I also learned the value of working hard -- even though I hated waking up early on those mornings.

-At the end of one of my first "dates" (whatever you call being in 8th grade and chaperoned around by your dad), I found it appropriate to allow my date to walk from our car to her house by herself. As soon as she left the car and the door shut, my dad said "Aren't you going to walk her to the door?" (Not really a question but more of a statement) To be honest, the thought hadn't even crossed my mind, but I knew right away that he was right. I proceeded to open my door and catch up to my date to finish the walk to the front door. This still resonates in my head today in how I try to treat Ashley. "Aren't you going to open that door?" "Aren't you going to cook dinner tonight?" "Aren't you going to..."

-During one of my Babe Ruth League baseball practices, I learned a bit about being respectful. It was my time for batting practice and my dad was at the fence to the side providing pointers. This wasn't uncommon for my dad. He was pretty much a staple at all of my sporting events and I was always able to pick his voice out of the crowd. I'm not sure how he did it, but he was always to broadcast his voice over the hundreds in attendance at the football game, the PA system, and my coaches. Anyway, I wasn't particularly intersted in being criticized on that day. I turned and said "Do you think you can do any better?" Right away from the look, I knew I had slipped. He said something to the effect of "give me the bat and I'll show you." I didn't give him the bat but went back to swinging -- one, because I just wanted to pretend like I hadn't said that; and two, because I really didn't want him to take the bat, step in the box, and hit the ball (which he could have).

These three are just the tip of the iceberg on these types of moments. One of my biggest hopes around this Father's Day is that I'm able to have similar moments to teach Caleb lessons that will be important to him in his life and that I'm able to continue to learn from my dad's wisdom. I might also have to talk dad into raising tobacco again in 10 years to give Caleb something to do on Saturday mornings.