Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dad's Counsel

My dad is full of wisdom and good counsel. Having him as a mentor has made it so that as I get older, the stage at which I bring a problem or a decision to him for advice gets pushed further and further down the line.

I will admit, though, sometimes my sister and I would roll our eyes when he would give us the same few pieces of advice over and over again. ("Is this a need or a want") Almost without fail, regardless of the problem, a counseling session with dad would elicit his most famous phrase :

"You need to make the decision to stay on the train or get off".

We thought it was the lamest advice as kids. I mean, what kid uses that sort of thought process? But lame as we thought it was, we remembered it. The other piece of counsel my dad frequently gave has definitely been a governing force in my life. He once told me, "You can gauge how much you want something or how important it is to you by the price you are willing to pay." That counsel frustrated me so much as a teenager (and even as a college student), but it stuck with me. The whole "needs versus wants" or "working hard and sacrificing" thing didn't really resonate much with me... i.e. personal training, express clothes, makeup, etc. I felt cheated at times, feeling that certain paths were not open to me because of one thing or another, when in reality many (not all) were closed to me because I was unwilling to pay the price and work hard. As I've set about trying to make some pretty serious life decisions for myself the last couple of years, I have used both this counsel and God's direction to explore and make decisions. I have had some idea in my mind of where I have wanted to go and what I have wanted to do, but have been frustrated by my lack of experience required for some programs or jobs as well as various fears, such as failure, standardized tests, being poor, choosing the wrong path, etc.

Over the past few years, I have taken a break from actively pursuing and researching various ideas regarding career and school. I figured I either didn't know myself well enough to know what I wanted (or what I wanted enough to sacrifice for it), or that it just wasn't time to move on from this particular phase of life. Instead, I chose to focus on other short-term things I knew I could be successful in, marathons, work, being a good wife, etc. I got involved in some intense training and planning and even applied and was accepted into a PhD program. I became aware one day of all the time I was putting into this and remembered my dad's counsel. Clearly this was something that was important to me because of the time and effort I was putting in, and, while it was taxing at times, it didn't feel like sacrifice. When you enjoy something, and know its God's plan for you- "paying the price" doesn't feel like such a big deal. Who cares if I was waking up on Saturday mornings at 5am to go run? I mean, doesn't everyone do that?

The amount of work required to go down challenging paths often do not change, but I found that I was no longer daunted by the steps required. For example- cooking a nice meal for my husband after a long day... its a choice I look forward to making. Reading a bazillion books for school doesn't seem like a necessary evil but a choice. In fact, it has been fun and exciting, and I feel confident I will succeed.

I don't know if I have ever publicly or personally thanked my dad for all his advice and love but I think he has made more of an impact on me than he realizes. All his random character speeches that I thought were super lame have paid off- especially when choosing a man to marry. I realized I wanted a man with character just like my dad- and I got one :) Although they may be different in personality- they both have strong, steadfast character that exudes them.

Even though I'm FASTLY approaching 30... I'm at a point in my life where I don't necessarily need his approval to move forward but something about having your dad stand besides you just makes you feel good. Even though Jeremy has taken the place of "the man in my life" to some extent, I'll never stop going to my dad when I need a bear hug. I don't think you're ever too old for those!!!

Just to hear my dad tell me he has confidence in me encourages me to make good decisions. Because of you Dad I have learned how a man should treat a woman. Because of you I knew that I wanted a man to treat me like you treat mom. Because of you I have learned the value of good character and found my prince charming. Because of you- I was able to have a father who chose me! I hope I will have the same unflagging courage (and capacity) to give unpopular but wise advice to my own children. I will always be grateful to my dad for "getting on the train" and being my dad! I love you!


Meghann said...

ah! you beat me to writing about dad! I still am going to, though.
I completely agree with everything you have said. He has been such an example, even if we try to pretend we didn't want his advice at points in our lives (doesn't every teen do that, though?).
Daddy--if you read this, I am so glad you chose to get on that train and be our dad. I love you!!!!

Meghann said...

oh, and he totally made me write up a proposal before I bought my first horse, showing him why it was important and the thought process I had put into it.

Berlin Deluxxe said...

Beautiful posts and kudos to your father....

Linda said...

Dad had tears rolling down his face as he read this. We love you so much and are so proud of the women you and Meghann have become. It is such an honor and blessing to be your parents. Dad DID choose all of us-- he's an amazing man.
Love, Mama, Mommy, Moppy

Linda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda said...

This is Dad, I must say, the train ride has been filled with joy, laughter, and fulfillment. Its been my pleasure to have you girls call me "Daddy" and your mom will always be "My Linda".

By the way, they were not rolling tears..I like the cloudy description better. :-)