On Fathers' Day, I figured I would ponder a bit about the things my dad taught me and how they have affected me. I must first admit I am not the ideal daughter. After all, I make sure I still send a card to my 85-year old dad but I may only see him a couple of times a year. So, this post is not meant to profess my daughterly goodness, but instead to talk about what I will always remember about my dad.
1. Work hard and play hard. As a band director his entire working life, he gave his all to teaching high school students how to march. He spent hours and hours poring over marching band formations, hand-drawing the drills (no web-design back then), and "drilled" into us the image of hard work and how it pays off, as his shows won many 1st division ratings over the years. When I talked to Daddy about it, he said, "I always tried to make it fun, though, for the kids and for the audience. Other bands may have been more precision-driven, but everyone always enjoyed the versatility of our shows."
2. If you love something, truly love something, keep doing it for as long as you can. Honestly, my dad could still likely play clarinet and saxophone better than most people half his age but he finally "retired" from his multiple jazz bands, big bands German polka bands and quartets with whom he was playing a few years ago. Ironically, or maybe not so, he has reconnected with many of his former students. One student told my dad he was the strictest disciplinarian he had ever had. Another credited my dad for his love for music.
3. Don't hide your talent under a bushel. Although he might not have been a church-going man after I was a young kid, he knew this verse well. When he could perform and make other people smile, he did it. I would guess most people can't remember what food was served at Dave's and my wedding, but I'll bet most everybody can remember my dad channeling his inner Louis Armstrong to sing "I Want a Little Girl" and "What a Wonderful World" and so many other tunes for our wedding music.
4. Sometimes you have to be quiet, especially when fishing. I will admit I didn't really enjoy the being quiet part but I always loved the time spent with Daddy, as a little girl. We'd sit in a canoe or on the bank of the Chocolate Bayou in Southeast Texas and talk about...who knows what? Who really cares what? We were spending time together.
5. Patience pays off. After doing instrument repair for so many years, Daddy realized he loved that intricate work so much he parlayed that love into building model ships. He watched a VCR tape (I know, it's been a while) of how to build a ship then he set his mind to it and did it. The family members have all reaped the benefits of his work, as well, and I love the idea that he is still working on ships. In fact, when I called Daddy an hour ago, it took him a minute (or maybe a couple of minutes) to get to the phone because he was in his "Shipyard", as he calls it, working on a Spanish Galleon.
Just for today, I hope you remember the life lessons you have been taught by someone important in your own life. They matter.