The past few months have been a wirl wind and a blur to me. Cindy and I have never known when to slow down and when to say "No", and then we had Harper in October and it's been busier than it ever has been. I always remember growing up and asking my Dad questions about things he was doing or talking about and he'd always say to me, "One day when you're a dad you'll understand." I always thought that was such a cop-out answer for not dealing with the issue or answering the question I asked so it always made me mad! I was always a curious kid (imagine that!), and I always loved to learn so I always thought he was blowing me off. But now that I have Harper, I think I understand my Dad on a level I could've never imagined before.
My Dad is one of the hardest working men I've ever met (next to both my grandpa's). We grew up (like he did) farming and ranching so there is no such thing as 8:00-5:00. You work until you get done and if you don't, you keep working. And all the years growing up, I never heard my Dad complain, at least not to me. Maybe he did to my Mom behind closed doors, but to me, he never complained about how hard he worked, or that he didn't get to make it to every tennis match or every shooting competition because it was planting season and they had to get done. He worked hard so that I never had to worry about a thing growing up. We weren't rich, but we never had to wonder if we could afford anything either. My parents did a great job with their money, especially for as little as they knew about it. My Dad wasn't necessarily the saviest business man and he'll tell you himself that he missed some big opportunities to invest in some ventures that shot through the roof, but he made up for his lack of business knowledge with hard work, honesty, and integrity. The thing I always remember and never forget is when he used to take me with him when he'd go to work. It didn't happen alot when I was younger because he didn't want to bother me on my days off, but when he took me around with him....I loved the way people in town responded to my dad. I was always so proud to go into "Walker's Auto Parts" and "Graves Implement" and "Franklin's" with him because every where we went, EVERYONE liked my dad and everyone respected him. My dad is a pretty quiet guy (I must've got mine from Mom!!), but when he talked, people always listened to him.
I'm really hard on people because I expect alot out of people, mainly....because I expect more than that out of myself. And I've realized that even though my dad isn't perfect and hasn't been perfect all the time....neither have I. I think I've been too hard on him the past few years and because of that I've held him at arms length to protect myself from either me not measuring up to what he thought I should be, or maybe to protect him from not measuring up to what I thought he should be to me....I don't know. What I do know is I am who I am today because of the things my dad has taught me. I plan on passing these lessons on to Harper:
1. Honesty: My dad was always honest and taught me that there is never an ok time to lie. Because of his teaching, I'm honest to a fault sometimes. When guys got in trouble in school, the principle (my best friend's dad) would bring me in because he new I was never scared and that I'd always tell him the truth no matter what. In this world you're not rewarded for being honest anymore, you're rewarded for the opposite...sad really.
2. Work ethic: My dad worked his tail off for us and that's what I'm doing for my family now. Laziness was not an option for us growing up which helped me to learn how to work hard. My dad was a bit of a workahaulic, which I unfortunately have inherited as well so that is one part I hope to not pass on to Harper, but I'm glad that he'll know how to do a good days work and be proud of what he's accomplished.
3. Confidence: Dad taught me to have confidence in the things I was doing and to believe in myself that I could do anything I wanted to. He taught me that there was nothing out there out of my league if I wanted it bad enough.
4. Never, Never Quit: This has gotten to be such a cliche as of late, but to my dad and I this is sacred. No matter what I did growing up, dad taught me to give it 110%, and to never, ever quit on myself, no matter what happened. I was never the most athletic guy on the team or the smartest kid in the class all the time, but I would out work everyone else to get the job done.
God has blessed me on so many levels and continues to do so every day, and he is teaching me areas I need to grow and showing me new areas I need to surrender to Him, but one of the greatest blessings I have, is my Dad and the lessons I've learned.
So this is for my Dad......thank you, for everything....past and present. Thank you for working so hard for us all those years with no thanks. Thank you for always being at my games and showing up for stuff I did. Thanks for all the shooting lessons out back in the yard. Thanks for supporting me and Cindy and Harper. And I'm sorry, for all the times I haven't appreciated you, you deserved and still deserve better. Here's to the years to come...cheers.