That's a tough Subject Line - I know. So first off, let me say - I have an amazing dad. I know that now. Growing up though, he was tough. Today is Father's Day, so I found it fitting that I would dedicate this blog to him and revisit some of the things he
My dad was the son of a woman who was first generation Greek American, and a man who, as a Greek boy living in a small Turkish Village (in Asia Minor), fled in the middle of the night to avoid being killed. They lived in an area in Ohio that was full of Greek immigrants. Everyone on the street had similar stories. They came over together to flee from the Turks and start a life of working hard in the Steel Mills like Diebold and Republic Steel. What did they know about America and its ways? Not much. They were driven by fear and fueled by each other and the need to survive and take advantage of the home of the free.
My grandparents insisted my dad and my uncle went to college. They were the first of their group. They were fortunate and they knew it. They never once thought failure was an option - it was succeed - and not only succeed - do everyone proud and pave the way for others like them to get an education.
My dad became a stockbroker - or as I used to tell everyone when I was little - he 'broke stocks' for a living. I never understood any of it until years later. I just knew he looked so handsome every day in his suits and shiny shoes when he walked out the door. My dad was the quiet, serious type. He wasn't a risk taker. His movements both physical and mental were calculated. He was always assessing risk and other possible disasters in his head. Imagine worrying about your own money - then imagine having to worry about an entire portfolio of everyone else's money. Not a job you take lightly - I understand how much stress that must have caused. But then, I didn't get it. Nor did I help matters. I was a high maintenance, yet happy-go-lucky teenager who thought the world was her oyster. Probably no different than most kids my age.
Here are a few of the things that he taught me that I thought would be worth sharing:
1. The only difference between an A and a B is (pinch thumb and pointer about an inch apart) this much effort. In other words, it doesn't take THAT much more time to get an A instead of a B. He was right. He was SO right. I understand that now as I help my oldest with his schoolwork.
2. There is no traffic on the extra mile. Truly - it is safe to say most people choose the easy way - or the road with the least resistance. Just putting a little more time into things brings great results. I have taken this with me for years and it never ceases to amaze me how true it is.
3. Only bad things happen after midnight. My curfew was (and still is, giggle) midnight. I can't imagine the paralyzing fear he must have dealt with allowing me to go out with my friends. He was always so concerned that bad things would happen to me and my friends while we were out. He would lecture me about crazy people, boys, bad things - and I would (secretly) roll my eyes - but I was listening, and that fear was lingering under my skin. To this day, I cringe if I am out past midnight as his words swirl around in my head.
6. Never fight with your siblings or your in laws. My dad had seen so many estates divided up among his clients that he had seen everything when it came to vultures descending on their deceased loved ones' properties and assets. He told me, no matter what, always love and be respectful of my brother, and of my husbands' family. Things get ugly when it comes to material things - never let that break up a family. Always make things even. What you do for one child, do for the other child. Always be fair. I use this advice daily. Things are always even around here and my kids know and find solace in that.
7. Put the wind in your husband's sails. I use this line all the time - I'm sure if you are a frequent reader of this blog, you remember this. This is my dad's line. He said a long time ago - you are there to encourage your husband to do well, to be his cheerleader, his support, and help propel him forward - and he, you. Always encourage each other to do well. This is our golden rule. I love this.
8. If you keep $20 in your wallet, you'll never be broke. My grandfather wrote my dad a check for $100 in college. My dad still has that check in his wallet. He never cashed it - and somehow he felt that if he kept it with him, he'd never be broke. I always have an emergency $20 in my wallet and I refuse to spend it. It's so silly, but it's true. I'll never be broke as long as its there.
9. Grandparents are supposed to take their grandkids to the park. My dad may not have taken us to the park, but he is sure to make up for that by taking them, often, to the park. He plays soccer with them, he does puzzles, and has a ridiculous amount of patience with them. I think he was sad that my old-fashioned grandfather never did this with us so he is trying to make up for it with his grandkids. I love that even though we live far, my kids know him and love him and look forward to spending time with him.
10. I yell because I am afraid. My dad was a big lecturer - he was also big on the death stare. We knew if we saw that look - to be worried. He was never physical with us - but his words, his lengthy monologues were enough to send us quietly to our rooms. Years later, he apologized in his own way, simply admitting that he was so afraid something would happen to us that he yelled to drive home the fear of God in us - so we would seriously stop and think before we did something that put is in harm's way.
Happy Father's Day Dad...(I know you hate Facebook, and probably the fact that I blog - but I know it's out of fear that someone is going to steal my identity and hack into my account - but I get that about you - and it's ok...) :)
To Great Dads...Cheers!