Lessons I learned from my Pa.

Pa and I

He was always Pa to my sister and I.  Never Dad or Daddy!  He was definitely a unique soul that taught us so many lessons in his own special way.  Some just for her and some just for me.  And many that we both carry with us to this day.  We were the number one priority in his life.  I can’t remember him ever missing any major event, concert, swim competition or other sporting event.

There were so many lessons, but here are a few that I feel many could learn from:

1. Always use Common Sense

It’s amazing how far this will get you in life.  When you see or are part of a situation, it’s common sense that will always help you make the right decision. You would that common sense is easy to come by, but I don’t think it is. I think that my parents had to be allow me to make those kind of common sense decisions from a young age based on how they brought me up and the lessons they taught me.  At that young age, I made the wrong common sense decision for sure, but it was my great parent who let me make those mistakes and calmly taught me what the better choice would have been.  This is definitely how I can, to this day, still be in a situation and have those learnings in my head so I can make what I feel is the common sense decision.  And 95% of the time they are the right decision for me.  But, I’m still learning, like we all are every day.  But, I know that his voice will always pop into my head saying ‘Just use common sense’.

2. Think Before You Speak

Along with common sense, this was definitely a lesson that was drilled into us. One of us more than the other, but needless to say, we heard the statements ‘Use your common sense’ and ‘Think before you speak’ on a weekly, if not daily basis when we were growing up.  My father had some high expectations when it came to this.  He wanted us to always take a moment and make sure what we were going to say was well thought out, clear and intelligent.  Most of the time we got this after saying something not so thoughtful and far from intelligent.  But, with that being drilled into us, it has made us better speakers and contributors to conversation today. And that has been a lesson well learned and one that stays with us and constantly goes through our heads.

Sometimes, it’s really too bad that more people didn’t learn that same lesson.

3. Prioritize Family and Friends

There is no question in my mind that we were the main priority in my dad’s life.  He worked hard for us.  He was always available when we needed him.  And never missed an opportunity to be with us.  Sure we didn’t have all the fancy things that many of our friends had, but we had the most important thing, a dad who put us ahead of anything else.  And when he was with us, he was truly with us.

The world is definitely different today than it was when I was young.  There were not as many distractions as there are today.  So many things that can pull your attention away from your time with family and friends.  But, it’s really just a conscience decision to put away the technology, the work and the other distractions and give your undivided attention to the family situation you are in.  Because believe me when I say, that distractions are not going un-noticed.

4. Quality Time is important, no matter where it happens

As we got older, we all got busier and didn’t have that same time together around the dinner table that we did when we were younger to chat and catch up.  But, that quality time can happen anywhere.  And my dad made sure of that.  As we were a one car family, my dad became a taxi service ever night after arriving home from his long work commute.  Pick me up, drop me off, pick up my sister, drop off her, then back to pick me up and finally home.  But, it was those times in the car that my sister and I remember the best from our teenage years.  We had discussions about so many topics with each other.  From school, to part time jobs, extra curricular activities or just what was being discussed on the radio on CFRB that night.  And that was back when CFRB was not just talk, but music also.

It was in those short times in the car that we not only had his undivided attention to talk, but also a place where were learned about current events, music and so many other interesting topics.  I definitely think that is where our appetite to learn and know more started.

It’s these four lessons, along with so many others, that have helped tremendously through the years.  Because of these learnings and lessons that we hold so dear now that he is gone, we know that we can make the best decisions possible and know that we were loved and always heard.