“One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.” George Herbert
How often do we take for granted the foundational lessons that we were taught as kids not realizing that without those lessons we would not be the people we are today? I know I am guilty of this so, because this Sunday is Father’s Day, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about what I learned from my dad that contributed to my success so far in life.
I grew up on the outskirts of a small town in northern Alberta called Peace River. My parents were both from farming backgrounds and were comfortable with a very uncomplicated and frugal lifestyle. By the time I came onto the scene, my mom was a substitute school teacher and my dad was in the dairy business, neither of which were very lucrative. We never had running water until I was about 10 years old and we heated our house with a wood fireplace as much as we could (but the old furnace did kick in during those cold northern winters!) To say we were part of the lower income bracket is probably an understatement!
Although this sounds like a really backwards upbringing, I never thought there was anything wrong with it. It was perfectly normal and the only thing I really knew.
Moving from that environment to becoming an engineer and then running a large, global business is quite a step change to say the least! However, there were many things that I learned from my dad that have served me well as an engineer and as a business executive.
- Faith – is more than just picking a religion and labeling yourself as a Catholic, Protestant, etc. My dad’s faith was important to him and he lived out his beliefs every day in everything he did.
- Integrity – my dad was a man of his word. He taught me that you always do what you said you were going to do . . . no exceptions.
- Hard work – cows never take a break. They always produce milk. Consequently, if you are in the dairy business, you get up early and work hard all day. My dad was up most days at 3:30 AM and worked a 10 or 12 hour day. Day in and day out. On his “days off”, he worked hard at home in the garden or other things that kept us housed and fed.
- Perseverance – when I was in kindergarten there was a huge flood one spring and our house was basically decimated. Back in those years there was not much assistance for those affected by natural disasters. My dad had to deal with this massive burden on his own. He stuck with it and was able to clean up our property after the flood and get us back into a house before winter set in.
- Loyalty – loyalty was a big thing for my dad. He proved it by teaching Sunday school for 45 years straight and he worked at the same dairy for 42 years before they relocated to a different town and laid everyone off.
- Generosity – we often had people staying over for a night or two and we usually had someone for lunch or dinner each Sunday. We had foster kids that lived with us for years and my dad generously gave from the little money he did have. He also donated his time to organizations and events wherever he could.
All of these things have profoundly impact my life and my worldview. I am forever indebted to my dad for providing such a great example and for drilling home these foundational lessons through his everyday actions.
Spend some time this week and reflect on the foundational lessons that you have learned over your life from people who have influenced you and then thank them for this. These lessons are invaluable!
Leave a comment on your foundational lessons below.
“Success is a process that continues not a status that you reach. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.” Denis Waitley
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