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Ten Things of Thankful: Dad's Influence Edition

Infant-me, sitting on the wood floor, looks up at my dad, who is sitting on a brown sofa and smiling down to me

Here in the United States, it is Father's Day weekend. I did not realize until recently that Father's Day was not officially made a holiday until 1972. 1972! Now, while I realize that many people consider 1972 eons ago, I do not. I'm glad that fathers have a day of recognition now, because they surely deserve acknowledgement. 

I thought for this week's Ten Things of Thankful post, I would list ten lessons I'm thankful my dad taught me.

My dad is a teacher. Not only did he impart his knowledge to countless junior high aged kids throughout his career, he taught--and still teaches--my siblings and me. He is not a preachy teacher; he's a humble man whose lessons I feel like I learned through osmosis.

When he would get home from work, we'd all sit down as a family for supper. Often, our phone would ring, and on the other end of the line would be a parent of one of my dad's students. 

Hello, Mrs. _______. How can I help you? . . . (an irate woman's voice is heard coming through loud and clear) Yes, that's the grade he earned. I had several conversations with him regarding what he needed to turn in. Did he not tell you?. . . (the same woman's voice yells at her son in the background). . .It's OK. You're welcome. Glad I could clear that up for you. 

1. It's a joy to eat together as a family.
2. Be polite to others, even when they are upset.
3. Students need to take responsibility for their assignments.

After supper, he would announce, "Well, I think I'm going to go digest." In my little brother's mind, "to digest" meant, " to go lie down on the sofa." Newspaper or paperback book in hand, my dad would read for a while. Pretty soon, the entire family would be gathered in the living room, noses in books. 

Toddler me, doing my best impression of "digesting."

4. Reading is important and enjoyable.

Sometimes, Dad would pick up his guitar, open the Burl Ives Song Book (only if he needed a reminder of which chords to play), and we'd sing together. Skip to My Lou required skipping around the room, too, of course. I loved singing, "Oh, the fox went out on a chase one night. . . " Music, not history class, taught me, "Oh they built the ship Titanic to sail the ocean blue."  And while many songs did have sad messages--we had to stop singing "Say Say Oh Playmate" because the fact the dolly had the flu made my little sister cry (And don't even get her started on "My Grandfather's Clock")--I seemed steeled to the sorrow, and loved singing "The sow got the measles and she died in the spring." 

Image may contain: one or more people, beard and guitar
My dad, bearded and long-haired as I remember him for most of my growing-up years, playing the guitar

5. Music is amazing--energetic, educational, but most of all, enjoyable.

My dad kept me well-stocked with coloring books from the Keep America Beautiful organization. In the early 70's, he was the advisor for the Eco-Activist Club at his school, and his students won national awards for their work establishing a recycling center and cleaning up litter along I-5. I learned to "give a hoot, don't pollute," from his example. 

6. We should be wise stewards of this earth.

We lived in a 1950's era rambler outside of town. When a housing development started going in across the street, Dad's "don't fence me in" instinct kicked in, and before we knew it, we had moved into a new house. Well, we moved into a frame of a new house, which was finished little by little, over time. This house was like no other--a custom design, dreamed up by Dad with energy efficiency a top priority. I remember standing on the property on the summer solstice, as Dad methodically measured the angle of the sun. The house would be heated by passive solar energy, so determining the best placement for maximum rays was essential. The land needed to be a southern-facing hill, because not only would the house take advantage of solar power, it would also be built into the hillside, insulated on three sides by dirt. We were moving into a hobbit house!

7. Just because no one else around is doing it, doesn't mean it can't be done.
8. Research and careful decision-making lead to good results.
9. It's OK to be different. It took years before the house was finished, but it never even occurred to be to be embarrassed, even though I was a teenager at the time we moved. We all had the vision of the finished house, and we loved its uniqueness. We lacked nothing important, and had an abundance of what is most vital--love.

I realize I'm almost to the end of my list of 10 things, and I haven't even mentioned snakes, goats, or dogs, nor bamboo, poppies, or Scotch broom. Tales of tying fishing flies and hunting for gophers will have to wait. Bird-watching and photography will, too. Just suffice it to say that my dad has taught me--and continues to teach me--a lifetime of lessons. Because of his great example, I was able to recognize a good guy when I saw one.

10. If you have a great dad, if you marry a guy who is similarly kind, you'll have a great marriage. 

Happy Father's Day! 

My dad in his element: in nature, behind a camera

What lessons have you learned from your dad? What are you thankful for today?

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  1. What a beautiful tribute to your father. I learned so many things from daddy, but one of the most important one is to not give up on your dreams.

  2. Great lessons!
    Happy Father's Day!

  3. Excellent 'oT!
    One of the things I enjoy and have kept this bloghop fresh for me is that we all, in our own ways, share glimpses into our realities. And, as I've said, before, one way of looking at it, is that we share tales of our lives.
    Kinda fun.
    I'm thinking...clark. but being a teacher in junior high school tends to not be our preferred environment (either as a pupil of a teacher), lol.
    But earth-sheltered house, not needing to live close to others... does suggest a person of my persuasion.

    1. Clark might be right. His classroom was not typical (unless a classroom typically contains multiple snakes). The guitar photo above was taken on a camping field trip. He never taught at a school I attended at the same time I was there, but if he had, I would have loved to be his student.

  4. This was great, Kristi! Lots of lessons and impressions.

    1. Thanks. I just ran out of numbers before I ran out of things to say. :-)

  5. You are such a terrific wordsmith! #10 is spot on. And I've seen your dad's photography and it is AMAZING.

    1. Aww, shucks. :-) And yes, my dad's photography is amazing. He'll say it's because he takes hundreds of shots to get one good one, but I know there is talent involved.


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