Monday, January 11, 2010

#3 1/2 An Exercise in valuing fathers

In the book I have been reading I searched for an exercise about fathers.  Unfortunately I did not find one. Since it was really good for me to think of things I learned from my mother, I thought I should do the same for my father.  I am going to list 5 things I learned from my father, or that my father did to contribute to the person I am today.

1.  The importance of being honest.   My father used to say there was nothing he disliked more than a liar and a thief.  My sisters and I knew that if my dad asked us something, we better tell the truth.  If we were lying and he found out (which he had the uncanny ability to do)  we would be in more trouble for lying than for whatever we had done or not done in the first place.

2.  To do a job well no matter how small or big. My father used to say, "If you are going to do something do it right."  I think this was so important to him because he was an Ironworker.  If he made a mistake doing that there could be terrible consequences.  My dad was good at being sure that I knew exactly how to do a task.  He would teach me and then he would expect me to be able to do it.  I always knew that I would have the opportunity to redo it if I did not do it right.  Practice makes perfect right?     

3.  To work hard for what you want and to take care of it.  My dad was a hard worker.  He held a full time job and then he would work on his house.  He was not an educated man, but he was not stupid.  He learned how to be handy around the house.  He could do everything from carpentry to wiring.  I do not think there was a job that was too big.  Every weekend he would work around the house always improving something. 

4. To never let a man treat me with disrespect.  One time when I was about 10 my dad found out that my step-grandpa was mistreating (hitting) his mother, my grandmother.  So he went down to their apartment and invited Don (my step-grandpa) outside for a discussion.  We never saw what happened, but we saw the effects of their discussion.  Don had a bloody nose and black eye.  I was glad because I did not think it was right for my grandma to be hit.  I did not like it when people fought.  Unfortunately I heard and saw it a lot.  When my parents were married they fought a lot. I think that they must have had a lot of love for each other at one time as they displayed a lot of hate for each other.  That much passion does not come from no where.  They fought terribly and actually when they got a divorce it was a relief not to hear or see the fighting anymore.    So I was glad to see my father stand up for his mother.  I told myself then I would never let a man hit me.

5.  The ability to change. In my early years my father drank a lot and when he did he became a different person.  A person that I learned to fear.  But years later my father stopped drinking to excess and he changed.  He married a good woman and they built a very nice life together.  He became a grandfather and he was loved by many.  One day he came to my house for Mike's birthday party.  There was an incident and my father lost his temper.  I made him leave.  Later he called me and apologized.  It meant a lot to me to have him apologize.  It showed me that people can change, that he changed.

When my father passed away in 2006 we were not speaking. In fact we had not spoken in nearly 10 years.  I wish we had made amends before he died.  My heart aches for the father I missed out on. I love you dad.

1 comment:

KC Mom said...

This is a great post Kathy. I think it's important to recognize the things we've learned from our Fathers. I think my list would be very different from yours. But I'm grateful mine is still alive so I can pay better attention to what he might teach me now.