Everyone teaches me something. That includes my dad.
Dad was a traditional man, soft-spoken with occasional bursts of temper. Most of his advice and wisdom were not handed to me through direct words. I was sure they were there but I had to decode them. Some of the decoding took awhile, and some, many years later.
He seldom gave straightforward advice such as "You ought to study harder...". Come to think of it, he had never directly acknowledged my academic achievement of any kind. It was as if it would have been too arrogant to do so.
His rare advice in words were cryptic, like "That is not the way". I usually took the heed and tried some other ways to do the same.
Over the years, I realized that he has taught me much, in his own unique ways. Here are some:
|Embrace 'now' before it becomes the past. [Pic]|
Lesson 1: Everyday is worth celebrating
My dad was never too impressed with special celebrations such as birthdays. To him, 'Everyday in our life exists only once'.
That is so true. Special occasions are indeed special for some reasons. But 'today' will never revisit.
I learnt to embrace 'now'.
Lesson 2: Read widely and wisely
My dad read widely and as a child, I admired his wealth of knowledge. We would discuss anything from history to entertainment.
I remember bringing home a children magazine which was popular among the kids back then. In his usual nonchalant manner, my dad simply said, "It won't teach you much". Since then, I gave little attention to that magazine.
I learnt that some books are worth more than others. Always read something worthy.
|Learn to see possibilities. |
Not obstacles. [Pic]
Lesson 3: Be observant and see beyond the surface
Occasionally, I followed my dad on his work trips. I would wait patiently while he attended to his business. I knew that some 'mini tours' around the town were next on our agenda.
My dad was not a typical 'tour guide'. He would show me sights that were often overlooked. Once he showed me some barnacles along the river bank and said "They are there all the time but you can only see them during low tides".
Many things are always there but it is really up to us to 'see' them. Very often, we look but we don't see. (read "You Look But You Don't See?")
I learnt to look for 'barnacles' around me.
Lesson 4: Walk into the alleys of life
When I traveled with dad, we walked a lot. It was a good way to feel the place and be close to him. He usually would not stick to the main road and I found myself weaving through alleys and lanes.
I did not like that but I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by many unusual sights. I would not have seen them on conventional routes.
I learnt to try new 'routes' in life and welcome surprises.
|The alleys of life are full of surprises. |
Explore them. [Pic]
Lesson 5: Everything has its good side
As a child, I hated my neighbor's dog, Napoleon. He was unfriendly and often terrified me with his hostile approaches. Just to clarify, I loved dogs and I still do. I just did not like Napoleon.
One day, on our way home, my dad brought my attention to a street sign. Sitting there was my most hated dog in his most unusual serene manner. Dad said Napoleon was a faithful dog and would habitually wait for the return of his owner at that time of the day.
Sometimes, we can get so caught up with our initial ideas about a person or something. We forget to see what could be good as well.
I learnt to see the good in people (and dogs too, of course).
Lesson 6: Earn your respect
We lived in a small town and my dad knew many town folks. I could see the respect they gave him and I could see why.
My dad was one of the most unassuming men I know. He was humble even though I knew he was superior to many in numerous ways. He earned his respect through his contributions, not status.
I learnt to earn the respect of others too.
|No one owes you a living. |
You decide how you live your life. [Pic]
Lesson 7: Don't indulge in negative emotions
My dad was not the most patient man I know. I have seen how he would burst into flames and cause everyone around to be uncomfortable. I did not fully understand why but I am sure he had his reasons.
When we lose our cool, we always find our actions well justified. We give little thoughts to how unhelpful our actions might be. More often than not, some damage is caused.
I learnt that others do not owe me a living and I have no privilege to impose my foul emotions on them.
Lesson 8: Dirty your hands
When I was in Primary (Junior) School, I used to ask dad questions found in my science text books. He would suggest, "Try it out!"
I remember he helped me magnetize a metal pin and we saw how it worked like a compass.
I learnt that life is a lab. I need to do some experiments to learn in it.
|Life is like a lab. |
Do some experiments in it. [Pic]
Lesson 9: Parental advice isn’t always correct.
My dad did not know everything. He taught me what he knew but he might miss the point.
He had a certain way of learning a language and he believed that was good for me too. I was not gaining much mileage under his guidance.
We have different learning styles and I learnt not to copy learning approaches from others blindly.
Lesson 10: Don't hold back
We were saddened by dad's untimely demise. I have always wondered what more he could teach me if he had been around awhile longer.
The answers will never be known.
I learnt that life is short. So say what you want to say and do what you want to do, now.
|Everyday is the right day to celebrate. [Pic]|
Today is not Father's Day and why am I writing this? Just like what I have learnt from Dad, everyday is worth celebrating. Don't wait till the next Father's Day to celebrate who your father is, or was.
You might want to read up more dad blogs.
"Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance." ~Ruth E. Renkel~