Soul Shakin’ Thoughts from the Mat

Father’s Day 2013 – Lessons Learned from my Father


Today we honor our father’s, men who like it or not have tremendous impact on our lives.  Leaving an indelible imprint on who we become as we journey through life.


Some men actively, compassionately guide us through the formative times of our lives, others stumble with this task, some just don’t even show up… yet all of them impact us to our core.  Sometimes those who give nothing impact us the most.


Unaware of the imprint that these men have left on us, we might struggle or flourish.  This day to me is a time to reflect on the role my father had in shaping my core beliefs.

My father left our family when I was 14 when he lost his battle with cancer…


For years I held a deep rooted resentment that I did not have the blessing of his guidance… But when I finally set aside the resentment, relinquished the pain of losing him, I came to understand just how much he had impacted my core belief’s of what it mens to be a man.  Who could ask more of a father than that?


Lessons I learned from my dad.


1)  It’s not what you do, it’s how you do what you do.  My dad has an aerospace engineer.  Helped to build the rockets that sent Neil Armstrong to the moon.  He was not college educated, but he did the best he could with what he was given.


When the space program was cut back my dad was laid off.  Aerospace engineers were not in demand.  He took the only job he could find, as a gas station attendant.  A job which he always showed up for early and did the best that he could.


At the time I was deeply embarrassed that my dad had fallen so low that he was pumping gas.  I finally realized the courage and strength it must have taken for him to take that job so that he could continue to support his family by whatever means were available.  His core value of always doing the best you can was deeply implanted in my soul.


The job at the gas station only lasted a little while, Lockheed hired him back to build the Polaris Missiles for the Nuclear Submarines.


2) Accepting people for who they are.  My mom was a tough woman.  Strong willed, opinionated, at time down right belligerent.  At times she was kind, loving and fun to be around.  But truthfully I don’t remember too many of those.


You know the saying, “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”?  I think that pretty much defined our household.  But my dad didn’t let it get to him.  He would never allow her to pick a fight.  He would just tune out.  Which of course pissed her off even more.  He would just say, “Mom wouldn’t be mom without her bark”.


For a long time I thought that he was just a wimp when it came to dealing with my mom.  Why didn’t he stand up to her?


I have come to understand that we cannot control the people around us.  We can control how we react to what they throw at us.  He chose to accept mom for who she was… all of her… and love her for who she was.


3) Never be afraid to let your love show.  My dad was a kisser.  He would kiss you hello and goodbye every time he saw you.  Now it’s not so bad to have your dad give you a kiss hello and goodbye, a little peck on the cheek… it’s very big in Europe.  But my dad kissed you on the lips.


Now being a boy in the 60’s it was always a little awkward to go to school, or football ball practice and have dad plant one on you in front of all the guys.


They say people have different ways of demonstrating their love.  Some people buy things, others cook, some just pucker up and let it show.  I am one of the latter.


How I wish I could kiss my dad hello and goodbye one more time.


So here is to you dad.  Thanks for being the man that you were.  Loving the way you loved, showing us the way to allow people to be who they are and teaching us that it’s not what you do in life that counts, it’s how you do what you do that makes all the difference.


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