Things My Father Taught Me
With Father’s Day around the corner and having written an article about my mother for Mother’s Day, I decided my Dad needed some equal time. Just as with Mom, I found myself often remembering his advice as I met new challenges at work.
My father was a terrific athlete. In high school he was a top basketball, softball and baseball player. He had even been approached by a scout from the then Brooklyn Dodgers to join their farm team and won numerous local awards, not just for excellence but for sportsmanship.
He would have loved sons but with two daughters and three granddaughters, he switched from baseball to tennis and swimming so we could spend quality time together. He was also a child of the depression era and was cautious with any investment.
My father’s favorite saying to me was, “You can get anything you set your mind to, but it’ll take sweat.” He never had it easy and he wanted his children to not be afraid of hard work. He worked 6 days a week, 9-6 and Thursdays 9-9 for 50 years, rarely taking a vacation.
Never once did I hear him complain about going to work. So how could I complain? Whether it be sports, grades or my career, I never expected it to be easy. So I learned to buckle down, practice and go beyond what was easy. I also learned to keep going when it got tough (my son-in-law calls me “the energizer bunny” because I am usually the last to quit).
Dad was a believer in equality for women from day one. He worked side by side with my mother in their business and supported my decision to go into a male dominated field. He never told me I shouldn’t or couldn’t. Bu again he reminded me not to expect it to be easy.
Another one of Dad’s techniques when I was hesitant about going after something was to make a bet with me that I COULDN’T do it. But the prize was always something I wanted (like my first car) so I’d take the bet and often win it. Dad wasn’t really betting against me; it was his way to push me on. I frequently found this technique of “Dangling a carrot” and “I dare you” useful as I became a manager and needed to motivate others.
Finally Dad loved solving problems. I remember spending hours together when I was in seventh grade solving logic puzzles that my math teacher sent home. Dad would write me letters in college in code and once sent my daughter a letter you could only read by holding it in front of the mirror. No wonder I loved math and science.
As Father’s Day approaches, I hope you will take the time to appreciate what you learned from your dad.