It's funny - I sometimes feel like I got 'ripped off' because my Dad died when I was so young. I think...hmmm...what would I ask him now that I didn't think of asking then....in his wisdom, he answered those questions well before they were even on my radar. Let me explain:
My Dad died right after teaching me how to drive a car. I don't know if he was Republican or Democrat. I didn't ask how he felt about abortion or pre-marital sex. I have no idea if he cared how many children I would have, and we never had a conversation about the type of house I would live in, how big my wedding should be, etc...
So you're probably wondering how he answered all those questions if I never brought up the subjects?
Here's the scoop. He taught me a lot of things, but the important stuff can be explained in Ten bullet points (not all that different than the Ten Commandments come to think of it):
1) "You don't have to know everything, but you need to know where to look for the answers" (he was referring to the card catalog at the library.....but on a larger scope you can apply this in so many ways)
2) "This is a small town and I'll know what you did before you get home from school" (you could summarize this one - reputation is important in any business or walk of life)
3) "Practice does NOT make perfect, but if you don't practice there's no way you will get good at anything" (he was talking about my piano lessons when I was 4, but this is so true about marriage, relationships, jobs, etc....if you don't even try to make it work, it won't...so if you stand a chance in hell of being successful at anything, you need to put forth a little effort)
4) "If you don't vote, you have no right to complain" (self explanatory)
5) "If you do it right the first time, you won't have to do it again" (self explanatory....but had I paid more attention to this one and #3, I wouldn't have had a practice marriage and painful divorce...)
6) "Right or wrong, people judge you by what's on the outside. Don't leave the house unless you look respectable" (I think he mentioned something about running into a future employer in line at the check out of the grocery store...still good advice & I think about it every time I leave the house - which is why you probably don't see me in sweats or jammies in public)
7) "I may not be big, and I can't run fast...but a baseball bat gives me the advantage" (This is how he felt about anyone who tried to hurt the ones he loved...he'd beat the crap out of them with a baseball bat)
8) "If you wouldn't say it to me, you shouldn't be saying it at all" (in reference to swearing, lying, etc...and at one point he mentioned that cuss words weren't used by ladies and when people do use them it's a sign that they're too stupid to come up with the right word)
9) "God isn't just in church" (he encouraged me to talk to God whenever and wherever I was - and when he was close to the end, he said I could talk in the same free fashion to him)
10) "Always do your best - in school and in life, because there are things you cannot go back and fix" (yup - right on here too)
So - in short...here are the Ten things I needed as a child that we all need as adults:
1) Use the tools available to you
2) Act responsibly & treat others well - even if no one is watching
3) Constantly improve yourself
4) Take responsibility for yourself and your actions
5) Do the right thing instead of the easy thing
6) Put your best foot forward
7) Protect what's important to you
8) Choose your words carefully
9) Put God first and know that he loves you
10) Always give more than is expected of you
As you can see, I do have all the answers to my unasked questions. Little lessons learned, remembered, cherished, and shared. There's no better way to honor my Father than to pass this along to my children. Thanks Daddy - you still are the most influential person in my life. I never thought it would be possible to say that nearly two decades after saying Goodbye - but thanks again...you really area always here with me!
And with that - good night dear friends!
May your paths be abundantly filled with lemons, sugar, sunshine, and may you find ways to never say goodbye to those you love!