Remember when you learned to ride a bicycle? I was so excited to finally get those training wheels removed and join the older kids. Once those wheels came off, there was no turning back; I would be a big kid. And yet, a part of me was still afraid. You know, that little voice telling you that you aren’t ready; you might fall and hurt yourself.
But the calm assurance of my Dad told me it was time. I vividly remember my Dad’s strong presence beside me, his hand lightly holding onto the seat as I pedaled away, suddenly realizing he had let go, and I was on my own. He said, “You can do this.” And I did, and it was exhilarating to finally get rid of those training wheels. And there was Dad, proudly watching me succeed.
My Dad has always been that strong presence beside me saying, “You can do this,” and proudly watching each achievement. I never dreamed I would be a business owner, and yet today, here I am celebrating YOLO Insights’® 5th anniversary, and a few days ago, Dad celebrated 81 years of experience.
In honor of these milestones, I’m sharing some valuable lessons my Dad taught me.
1. You always have something to learn.
Learning was a big part of my childhood. From my earliest memories, doing well in school, making the honor roll, and reading were emphasized. I remember having little five cent pocket books at church (yes, I’m that old) which I insisted on reading upside down. When I learned to read for real and read books the right way, my most treasured memories are spending time at the library while Dad did the grocery shopping. I went places and learned things through books that would not be possible in real life. Being an avid reader taught me to be a critical thinker, understand different perspectives, and expanded my world beyond the confines of my small town.
2. You are stronger than you know.
My Dad taught me to tap into my inner strength. Illness, financial strain, and pressure from work, will all take a toll on a person. I watched my Dad quietly work through it all. Tapping into your inner strength keeps you taking one step at a time with a smile on your face, even though you are hurting inside. Whenever life felt too overwhelming and I was at the end of my rope, I would hear his voice saying, “You’re strong; you can do this. Take one step at a time.”
3. Status is who you are and what you are known for.
You attract what you give out to the world, so make a name for yourself that is based on integrity, respect, trust, and compassion for others. Everyone (and I do mean everyone) knew him, which wasn’t always fun when you are a teenager testing your boundaries. Everywhere we went, there was someone who knew my Dad, and most importantly, knew that he was someone you could trust to get the job done right. He taught me to model the behavior you want others to emulate. He ingrained in me the importance of not taking shortcuts and doing things right the first time.
4. Money isn’t necessary to enjoy life.
My family wasn’t rich, and we didn’t have a lot of money to spare. There never seemed to be quite enough, and yet my father is still the most generous person I know. He taught me that you always have something to give, and to give generously even when it hurts. I’ll never forget the Halloween when we realized that a family in the neighborhood stayed away from the neighborhood party and didn’t participate in the trick or treating because they didn’t have money for costumes. My brothers, sisters, and I gave our candy to that family. While it hurt to give away my favorite candy, the feeling of helping someone else filled me up more than any candy bar ever could.
5. Treat everything with care and respect.
It might surprise you to know that the bicycle I got when I turned 8 years old is still in good working condition after more decades than I care to remember. Dad taught me to treat everything I had with care, to make it last. I have some treasured possessions because of this. In a world where everything seems disposable, I love looking at my treasured belongings and knowing that the reason I have them is because my Dad taught me how to care for them.
6. Support your family.
I have such great childhood memories of spending time with family — Mom, Dad, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and my grandmother. Every weekend, we would head to my grandmother’s house to help her. In the spring we planted her garden and tended baby chicks. In the summer we weeded the garden. In the fall we picked the vegetables, and cut and stacked firewood for the winter. We canned fruits and vegetables and prepared for the snow and cold. In the winter we shoveled snow and enjoyed spending time together. I didn’t always like this hard work, but I learned valuable life skills working with my extended family, and if you ever need firewood, my brother is excellent at chopping and stacking wood.
7. Always remember to say please and thank you.
The power in these three words is tremendous. Never forget that. A command becomes a request when you add please. And when you say thank you, you show appreciation rather than taking something or someone for granted. The return on investment from these three little words can’t be measured.
Do you remember the first time your Dad taught you something? What lessons has your Dad taught you that make you who you are, contributed to your success, or helped others in unexpected and fulfilling ways?
Your insights may be just what someone else needs to move forward. After all, sharing is caring, and in our insightful community we care about helping you succeed.