Lessons I Learned From Dad

Roll Towards the Thumb
My parents were divorced, but even though my dad was not there, I still think he desired to give me skills to protect myself.  He was the one who taught me this simple, but very effective, self-defense move.  When an attacker grabs you by the arm, you need to always roll your arm in the direction of the attacker’s thumb.  The side with the thumb on it is the weakest part of a person’s grip.  On one side you have 4 fingers, and on the other side you have 1 finger.  If you roll your arm towards the thumb, I have found it works almost every single time.  I remember my dad teaching me this technique.  I would nestle my stick arm within his massive hands, and we would practice it over and over until it really became second nature for me.  I have passed on the info to my kids.  Knowledge is power, and in this case it could save a life.

Ask Questions
Boy, did my dad love to ask questions.  How did you make this recipe?  How much would you charge me (for a drink refill, to go get his shoes, etc.)?  Where did you get that?  How much did that cost?   My dad soaked up experiences.  He wanted to find out the most he could about people, their lives, and the world around him.  He loved to learn new and interesting things.  I wonder if the apple did not fall too far from the tree on this one.  I called up my insurance guy a few years ago to ask him a question about my policy, and after I gave him my name, he said, “Oh, you’re the question lady.”  My real estate agent last year called me “an information gatherer”.  I had not realized it before, but that is what I am-an information gatherer.  Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”  My dad taught me to ask questions, examine life, and gather information.
Say Thank You
My dad once told me that one of his biggest pet peeves was when he held a door open for someone (male or female), and they did not say thank you, nod, or anything.  He said, “If I have taken the time to hold the door open for someone, the least they could do is say thank you.”  He was absolutely right.  If someone holds the door open for me, I try to make eye contact and say thank you loud enough so they can hear me.  If a child opens the door for me, I try to bend down and say thank you to them.  I might even give kudos to the parents for raising that kid right.  It’s about honoring someone who has done something nice for you.  It is the right thing to do.

Real Men Cry

The first time I really remember my dad crying was when his grandmother died.  As his face crumbled, I couldn’t help but cry myself.  It was the first time in my memory he had cried, but it would not be the last.  He cried when we danced the first dance at my wedding.  He cried almost every time we talked on the phone for a year after my wedding.  This daddy’s girl had found another main man, and he didn’t know where he fit in anymore.  He cried when his daddy and momma died.  At 6 feet 3 inches tall and 250 to 300 lbs, he didn’t get the nickname “Big George” for nothing.  Seeing a big macho man cry taught me that real men show their feelings.  Now, when I look at my husband who cries when he hears the national anthem or who cries during the montage in the movie UP of the husband and wife growing old together or who cries when one of his girls says something sweet to him, I say to myself, “Now, that’s a real man.”
Explore the world
My dad loved to travel.  There was nothing he loved better than to get in the car and go.  When my brother and I were kids, my dad would take us to the lake in Arkansas, to go see my great aunt and uncle in Texas, and to see our grandparents in Mississippi.  These are my favorite childhood memories.  Zooming down a two lane highway in a burnt orange Mercury Cougar listening to Dr. Hook and Willie Nelson are memories of happiness for me.  Dad taught me a love of seeing what the world has to offer and staying connected with family.  I have married a man who loves to travel too, and we are passing that along to our children.  Yes, it costs money to travel, but we are making memories.  And if I had to venture a guess, my children would probably site a vacation or trip we took as some of their favorite childhood memories too.
This is the last picture I took of my dad before he died.  I always marvel when I look at this picture.  Why you might ask?  The last picture I took of him is exactly what I envision seeing when I see him again someday in heaven.  On that day I will not only be in the presence of my Heavenly Father, but I will also be reunited with my earthly father.  I imagine he will be there to greet me with arms open wide and a grin on his face, and he will say, “Welcome home, my girl, welcome home.”

1 thought on “Lessons I Learned From Dad”

  1. Thanks for the Tuesday morning tears, and for sharing pieces of your relationship with your dad. I always loved George and remember being so excited whenever he was around. Always remember that he had his ice cream and left a happy man. Can't wait to see him again when we make it home.
    – Blair Williamson

    PS, I made your garlic soy chicken for dinner last week. Turned out great!

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