5 things I learned from my dad
Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s June 2017 issue. Never miss an issue, check out SFM’s digital editions, here!
article by Jamie Beeson
5 things I learned from my dad
Communication skills are important.
I still remember standing at the counter in the kitchen phone to my ear, curly cord in my hand, and tears in my eyes. I must’ve been 8 or 9. My dad was making me order pizza for our family. How mean. At the time, I had no idea why this was so important for me to do but he was adamant. Probably even more so because I was so fearful of it! I remember having thoughts such as: “What will I say?” “I’m too young to order a pizza.” “What if I mess it up?”
Our family doesn’t have a home phone. I think about what my kids are missing by not learning and practicing how to properly answer a phone, listen, use polite manners, take a message, pass on the message, etc.… I love smart phones as much as the next girl but I learned some valuable lessons that day. Communication skills are necessary, they are learned, and they take practice. Oh, and talking to strangers isn’t that scary.
It never hurts to ask.
I remember hearing the words, “Just ask.” and “Why don’t you ask?” They have come in handy so many different times. Once, while I was in college, I had been really sick and I was unable to get a paper finished to the standard I felt necessary for a good grade. I could’ve turned it in as it was but instead I decided to “just ask.” I asked for a little more time so I could put more effort into it and refine it. The answer? Yes. It never hurts to ask.
You can use the same joke material on strangers.
My dad is infamous for “nicknames.” It has bit him in the butt a few times but that hasn’t stopped him. Interact with him for 10 minutes and by the end of the conversation he will have called you by a new name, said he’s “ornery”, or thrown out some kind of joke my family has already heard on the last 50 strangers. But you know what? It works every time. It makes the strangers smile every time. True, it may be a forced smile by some but even a forced smile can change a day. Sometimes people just need a reason to smile.
It’s never too late to change directions.
My dad went to college to become an accountant. When I was very young he was a C.P.A. He has a brilliant mind and loves to help. It made sense for him to pursue accounting. Later in my childhood, my dad did what a lot of adults are afraid to do. He took a totally different turn. The end of one job led him to make the decision to go back to school. He became a teacher in middle school, then high school, and finally higher education both as an educator and in the technology field. I’d say he was pleased with his decision and the change was worth it. He was able to train my brother in technology, which led him to a lucrative career and he influenced my decision to pursue teaching. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks and sometimes the new tricks are better than the old ones!
We have a running joke in our family (which has quite a bit of truth to it) that we wouldn’t have furniture or cars if it weren’t for my parents giving us these things. Even as I type this I’m staring at a huge ottoman my parents just bought less than 6 months ago. It looks brand, spanking new. They could have sold it for quite a bit of money but no; here it is, in my living room. They’re not just generous with their kids. Before moving to Billings, they left their home nearly furnished and gave ownership of the furniture to their renters. They also gave several, very nice pieces of furniture to a single mom of 4 children. Generously is how they give and generously is how they live.
How would our parenting change if there were three areas or three values that we intentionally planned, focused on, and taught to our children? Sometimes I feel like I have missed it. My kids don’t seem to have learned a darn thing. Then all of the sudden it shows up when I least expect it. Identify three core values you want to instill in your kiddos and write them down, contemplate, and intentionally create opportunities. Watch as they pass them on.
about the author...
Jamie, wife of her high school sweetheart and mom of 4 boys, has been in the fitness industry for 18 years. "Fuel the body, mobilize the soul" is her mission. Connect with Jamie on Facebook www.facebook.com/jamiebeeson1
or online at: www.workoutplanz.com