Going to school and being taught the required academic “lessons” is not an optional choice in our country. However, in many cases the lessons taught at home have been. I was blessed and privileged to grow up in a home where lessons taught were not an option. In addition, learning the lessons was not an option either.
Today on what would have been my Dad’s 92nd birthday I dedicate my “Lessons Learned” to his memory.
My parents were amazing. There were so many lessons taught in our home. Love was one of those. My parents loved each other so much. Their love for the six of us siblings, although very different in personality, was given unconditionally. Then came the lesson of respect. That was an easy one. However, it was a lesson that was not optional. In my 22 years of living under their roof I never remember hearing my Mom or my Dad disrespect each other by having shouting matches laced with sarcasm and name calling and they provided the same level of respect to each of us.
Obedience was expected at all times and not just when comfortable to do so. “Why?” was a question that was not welcomed nor often answered. Faithful church attendance and giving coupled with a Godly lifestyle were taught by example 24 hours a day. We were taught true patriotism and that it was a privilege to live in America, the land in which my dad nearly lost his life defending. Giving was a natural thing to do in both finances and in acts of service. The “supper table” was a very special place that we all met at each night and shared our day not our complaints. I never remember a day that my dad just took off work for the sake of having a day off. A lesson we all learned was proper work ethics.
Probably one of the harder lessons for me to learn was Dad’s definition of being on time. On time for him was 30 minutes early and late was 29 minutes early. See what I mean? I guess that was one lesson I never quite mastered and it never ceased to frustrate him. Dad never taught us to sing or to clap our hands. Rhythm and pitch were never one of his strong points. However, he did teach us to worship!
The last lesson I learned from Dad was just a couple weeks before he passed away. He looked over at me and asked if I knew that you could witness to others without ever saying a word. He then went on to share a story that proved that very “lesson” as a truth.
Now that I have lived 5 years without him I ache at no longer being able to sit with him and learn the many lessons that he still had within him to teach. However, I am doing my best to follow his lead and pass my “Lessons Learned” down to my children.
Happy Birthday, Dad. You are still changing lives as we make the choice to live “your” lessons learned.