Lessons From Dad
I’ve heard that kids learn some pretty important lessons from their dads. And, judging from the things my dad has taught me in the last twenty-five years or so? I’d have to agree.
“Don’t point that thing at me, dear—especially when it’s loaded!”
“Always cook meat on low heat for longer so it doesn’t dry out.”
“Don’t press the paint roller into the wall. Let the roller do the work for you so it goes on evenly.”
But even more importantly than gun safety, the art of a well-cooked steak, and remodeling, he has taught me some invaluable lessons that have inspired me to pursue a life of excellence.
In a society where it’s rare for a dad to be involved in kids’ lives, I feel privileged, honored and extremely blessed to have a dad as involved as mine has been in my life. I’m grateful for a dad whose character and integrity are flawless, whose relationship with Christ is genuine, and who isn’t afraid to to admit, when wrong, that he has “a great back-up gear” and is eager to apologize.
I’m thankful for a dad who taught me practical things, and just took the time to do cool stuff. You know, awesome dad-daughter stuff like: watching a good western or superhero movie, changing the oil in the car, going fishing, target practicing, going to concerts, and yes—even assisting me with DIY projects.
Dad does so many things well…and to be honest, I haven’t quite mastered some of them yet.
Here are a few things my dad does that mean a lot to me, that I want to improve upon in my own life to show kindness to others.
I was about ten years old. He walked into the living room after listening to me play the same piece for several days and said, “That’s really sounding a lot better! I love hearing you practice.” And he meant it, even though it must have been genuine torture to hear Pachebel’s Canon executed so violently.
I want to learn the art of encouraging. Not falsely building people up with fake complements, but genuinely noticing improvement.
Like my dad.
The art of taking time
It was late. I was exhausted and was still struggling with a research paper that was due the following day. Dad grabbed a cup of coffee, sat down and said, “Maybe if you explain your research aloud to me, it will make sense so you can write the rest of your paper.” So, I expounded on the gory details of aural listening patterns and neurological functions relating to music activity while he attentively listened. And it helped.
I’m embarrassed to admit I would probably not volunteer to do that for someone else. I want to be a good listener—even when it means taking time to hear about things I’m not interested in.
I think I was seven years old. We were in the process of remodeling a house, and I desperately wanted to use a paint roller with the cool blue paint for the laundry room. But…I was seven. Truthfully, I probably nagged a lot about wanting to do it, mom can do it, I want to try, blah blah blah. Dad finally caved. He gave me the little roller with some paint, and I was delighted! (He probably had to go back and fix it…but he never actually told me that part.) But, he let me try and learn.
Just over a year ago, we remodeled my grandmother’s house and needed to bust up several tile floors. It looked so fun—smashing the tile with the large hammer, wearing the safety glasses, and seeing the pieces fly around you! Epic. So, yep. I asked dad, and he showed me how. Again, he let me try.
In instances where I need assistance with specific tasks and someone offers to help, it’s my inclination to do it myself. That guarantees it’ll be done the way I want, and I won’t have to hurt anyone’s feelings, right? I want to learn to take a chance on people, and let them learn.
Like dad taught me.
Because of my dad, I am forever addicted to traveling and the adventure of experiencing new cultures and foods. Because of my dad, I use my horn when I drive. Defensive driving 101 from dad: “Assume everyone else is an idiot.” Because of my dad, I’m not afraid to try new things, and I love learning. “You can learn something from everyone and every situation, even if it’s how not to do something.”
Because of my dad, I know Jesus.
Dad’s Honey-Balsamic Salmon
1.5 lb fresh salmon
1 1/2 T brown sugar
1 T balsamic vinegar (or balsamic dressing)
1 T honey
1 t. paprika
1/2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. chili powder
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
Dash of salt/pepper
Preheat oven to 400* (or grill on a cedar plank). If using an oven, line a pan with aluminum foil. In a bowl, mix the spices together until thick and pasty. Add a little water, enough to make a spreadable paste. Spread spice mixture over salmon and place in the aluminum foil. Fold the foil around the salmon to make a tent. Bake for 12-18 minutes, until sauce has crystallized on salmon and until salmon is flaky.