What I learned from my dad

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Today is my dad’s birthday. He was a fun loving guy who wore cowboy boots 99% of the time. They had metal tabs on the heels and you could always hear him coming. He served in the Navy and had 49 tattoos to show for his time. He loved country music, in fact he often said there were 2 types of music, country and western. And he was a big Chiefs fan regardless of the season they were having. Even though he only visited me on Saturdays growing up, he taught me a lot. I’ve come to find out you can learn a lot from someone, even if they make big mistakes. Rick Warren said, “ We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” So learning from other’s mistakes can be the key to keeping us from repeating them.

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My dad taught me to drive in his extended cab, long-bed truck. After learning to drive in that truck, there was no vehicle I couldn’t manage. He taught me how to fish and was patient every time my line got tangled. I remember him stocking up on good snacks and sodas before we headed out on fishing trips.

He taught me how to enjoy a good meal. My dad thoroughly enjoyed eating good food and trying new restaurants. He always made sure he paid the bill before anyone saw it. If I ever tried to pay he would say, “I invited you out so I’ll take care of it.” He was very generous with his money.

He taught me the importance in owning tools and bought me a power drill as a housewarming gift when we bought our first house. He also spent countless hours giving us instruction and helping us renovate.

He taught me the importance of reading and learning. He was knowledgeable about many things. I could call and ask him a question on just about anything.

He taught me the excitement of giving and receiving gifts on holidays. He was like a big kid when it came to presents. But that made it all the more fun. He made it a point to make me feel special with the gifts he chose.

I’ll never forget the excitement he had before walking me down the aisle at my wedding. It was a big deal to him. And I know he was proud of me when I graduated from college. He didn’t have to say it, I could tell by his smile.

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Unfortunately, he also taught me how much a daughter needs her father, and what it looks like when she doesn’t have him. I learned how selfish choices and actions can split a family and have ripple affects for generations to come.

My dad has been gone 6 years now, but some days it feels like yesterday. There are many things he didn’t do and many times he wasn’t there. Sometimes it is hard to balance your feelings for someone who came up short when you really needed them. But I know he loved and wanted the best for me. We’re all human and make mistakes.  Here on earth, people will always disappoint us, however, we have a Heavenly Father who never will. I can trust he has my best interest at heart and will always be there for me. I’m thankful for the good memories I have with my dad. I consider it a blessing we were on good terms and am grateful our relationship was in a good place when he passed. I read an old saying that said, “It takes a wise man to learn from his mistakes but an even wiser man to learn from others.” So today I chose to remember the good times and try to learn from the bad.

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