Have you ever stopped to think about what your father has taught you? Something so small like how to hold the club the right way at miniature golf to something as significant as how to get through adversity with my head held high are part of the huge gamut of lessons I learned from my dad, including those he didn’t set out specifically to teach me.

The list, I believe, is infinite.  From my earliest lesson that it’s okay to cry when your pet goldfish dies, to the last lesson he inadvertently taught me, to not live with regrets, I sometimes wonder if I have taught anything significant to my children, besides how to tie their shoes and cut their food.  The task of parenting is undoubtedly the single-most important one that anyone can have.  It’s at times thankless, rewarding, heart-breaking and joyful-and all of those can be on one day.  It’s the proverbial “box of chocolates.”  One minute I can be enjoying a chocolate peanut butter candy and the next it might be one of those gooey unidentifiable flavors you took a chance on because it looked good. But my father handled parenting as if he was put on earth to do it- and I believe he was. There are many things I can do because of his tutelage and his example. His humility was his greatest virtue, and if he could see this list I know he would shake his head and probably tear up. But regardless, I know what I know, and I know why I know it.  And this is not to say that I haven’t learned an equally infinite number of lessons from my mom, (Can something even be equally infinite? I digress.) these are just SOME of the lessons I learned from my dad.

Because of my father, I can:

  • appreciate the outdoors
  • be a humanitarian
  • drive a car
  • take photos
  • speak more than one language
  • throw a decent punch
  • understand my heritage and defend it
  • watch a football game and know (most of) what’s going on
  • shoot a gun
  • not be afraid to delete toxic people from my life
  • have faith in God, even when I think I can’t
  • forgive my children easily
  • show affection to my children (even when they think it’s not cool)
  • appreciate the arts
  • show unconditional love
  • convey my anger without screaming (usually)
  • hold my children to high standards
  • bowl
  • value dinner time with my family
  • fly a kite
  • get back up after a setback
  • dream.

Today, when I began to think of specific things I can do because of my dad, I was both happy and sad.  Sad because he is not here to teach me something new or reinforce something I already know. Then happy because I often realize that I know something because of him but had I had never thought about before.  And that’s like a brand new lesson that he has taught me, and for that I am grateful.