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Lessons From Dad

Father’s Day is approaching and this gives me pause to reflect on wonderful memories and great lessons I learned from my dad.  It’s hard to believe he’s been gone for 21 years.  Thankfully, his memories and lessons allow the best of him to live on strongly within me.

Spread joy! My father would whistle and joke with people moments after awakening in the morning.  He greeted everyone with a smile and a good word.  Some people would groan when he would pop in whistling and chipper at 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning, but he was never discouraged.  He spread joy everywhere he went, and everyone was always glad to see Chuck coming.

Live life fully! “If you want to try it, let’s try it.”  That was his motto for life.  I recall him spending $60 at a circus on one game because I was having fun and he also wanted to teach me through experience how tricky those games are designed!  At work, he was a jack of all trades and master of just a couple because he felt work should be fun, too.  As he became unhappy or bored, he moved on to try a new job or career. While my risk-averse mother busied herself worrying about the changes, we never lacked for anything.  All the while, he enjoyed his work and his life and encouraged us to do the same.

Be positive! Expecting the best in others, the best outcomes in situations, and happiness in life may seem naive to some, but this outlook on life endeared many to him, and put a smile on his face every day.  Often, people live up to our expectations of them.  Expect good and quite often that’s what we get!

Relax and Play! While he definitely gave his all to work throughout the week, he relaxed and played with the same passion.  A nature lover, our family regularly went fishing, crabbing, swimming in the surf, camping in the forest, or simply barbecued with friends in the back yard and played croquet.  Laughter and relaxation renew us for the next thing in life.

Savor every day; it may be your last! One afternoon, my father suddenly began having strokes from a blood clot just like the one that had taken his mother from this world too young.  From that moment on, he was never able to communicate again and we lost him a few short weeks later.  While I’d always expected death to come when we are old and sick, he was neither.  He taught me that our end comes when it comes and we had better share our love, talents, and joy in a way that prepares us accordingly.

I have a small humidifier containing a bit of my father’s discontinued pipe tobacco in a drawer in my bedroom and it loses a bit of its smell every day.  On special occasions like Father’s Day, I indulge myself to open the lid and allow the fading smell to release a flood of thoughts and feelings as only smells can.  Vivid memories of laughter, love, and zestful living fill me with joy.  May you treasure all that is good about your father or his memory with gratitude and love.  Release any negativity that may be there with Love and Light.  Life is short, and as Dad knew, we all have good in us that deserves to be recognized and celebrated.  Happy Father’s Day!

Sheryl’s Blog


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