although my dad never took the role of teacher as something he was supposed to do intentionally, he still taught me some pretty valuable life lessons.
he taught me the value of providing and protecting. my father was a classic hunter-gatherer in his role as a husband and father. he worked long hours. when i was a child, my dad was a common carpenter…taking whatever jobs he could. whatever it was, he took it, because we needed the income. he never complained. he was always grateful to have the work, because it allowed him to fulfill his role.
he taught me to be content with what i had. there was no a lot of excess around our house. money went to essentials. no room for complaining. just a simple existence…and it was always enough. i know he wanted to provide more, but it was never his driving force.
he taught me not to compare. we always rented. we didn’t own a home until my senior year in high school. i never knew difference. i knew there were kids that lived in bigger and nicer houses, but it never mattered to me. i know i owe that to my dad.
he taught me the joy of giving gifts to my family. maybe it was because we didn’t have much…or because he really wanted to provide more…or simply because it was in his heart…but my dad loved to give gifts to me and my mom. usually pretty extravagant, by our standards. he bought me my first real baseball glove when i was ten years old. it was a “rawlings trap-eze”. he paid $55 for it…in 1964. that would be the equivalent of a top-of-the-line, $300 glove today. i can still remember the joy on his face when he gave it.
he gave me the love of surprising. he loved making his gift-giving a surprise. he loved wrapping presents. he loved going out in secret and shopping for my mom for her birthday or for me at christmas time. i always loved trying to surprise him with a gift. he had no idea he was teaching me about the heart of god…
he taught me the value of loyalty. my dad ultimately became a boss…first a foreman, and then a superintendent with a large commercial construction company…in my high school and college years. he was intensely loyal to his workers. he went to bat for them when they were walked on by subcontractors. he worked hard to create work for them, so they could provide for their families. he inspired loyalty in them.
he taught me not to “over-complicate” my belief in god. my dad was pretty matter-of-fact, when it came to his belief system. he didn’t need to read books. he didn’t have much time for people who didn’t believe the way that he did. no real need to spend time discussing religion (as he put it). he just accepted it. although i can pick his belief system apart right now, looking back i realize that his simple, firm resolve is embedded deep within me.
these are good things.