Dad’s Wisdoms started as a quick blurb, one or two sentences of motivation I would email to my kids early in the morning in hopes of starting their day on a positive note. Little did they know this exercise helped me as much or more than it ever helped them.
I’m sure the results from this blog will be similar as I begin with my first post …and that’s ok, because just putting my thoughts down in print is very therapeutic as it also reinforces my core beliefs. That alone is good enough for me.
I am currently in my 50’s and have been happily married to the same fine woman for 36 years. I have a doctorate in raising six kids of which I have been practicing for the past 32 years. Correction: we have been practicing for the past 32 years. I tell you from experience, the process of raising six children teaches more about life than all the books in any library that’s been written on the subject.
By the grace of God, the fruits of our labor run deep. They range from our oldest working tirelessly developing her real estate business to our youngest pursuing a career in nursing, sprinkled with a physical therapist, a stage actress, a marketing manager, a professional dancer, and last but certainly not least, four grandchildren with more on the way.
I’ve spent the past 36 years submersed in sales and customer service, where the art of listening and serving is pretty much the name of the game, and a wonderful game it is.
I have also enjoyed over the years many hours learning from motivational speakers and authors in the field of personal development, with my favorites being Napoleon Hill and James Allen just to name a couple. By the way, if you take the time to read “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill you will learn just about all there is to know on the subject of how to easily obtain anything from life you desire.
I have been blessed with a wonderful life that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world and that goes for the bad times as well as the good. Our past experiences and how we deal with them build the character we embody today. Therefore, as difficult as some of those experiences were, the lessons they provided seemed to have transformed many of those bad situations into blessings.
My father died when I was 12 years old which left mom to raise eight children on her own. She did her best but without a father figure in my life, I made one bad decision after another. At age 14, I got involved with alcohol and many other unsavory things and a year later, I coupled that with leaving home and venturing out on my own. The day I turned 16 I decided to drop out of high school. As I said, I made one bad decision after another. In fact, the six years from 12 to 18 were the worst of my life, but at the same time they probably provided this hard headed kid with the best education I had ever received. I call it the school of hard knocks where I majored in “street smart”. Without it I believe I would still be blaming others for all of my problems, which by the way I brought about on my own.
What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. I had an epiphany. I honestly believe that God blessed me with a moment of undeniable grace which, in a blink of an eye, completely changed the way I thought about myself. One day out of the blue (I still remember like it was yesterday), I was at work standing in a ditch, with a shovel in my hands looking up at the sky, taking a break. Then, as if a light switch turned on, I suddenly realized without a doubt, there was a much better life waiting for me and all I had to do was go get it. In my mind’s eye, it was as simple as that, and in that instant I decided to quit my job, move back home and go back to school. That day I realized the only thing missing was a “burning desire” to have what I really wanted from life, and once I discovered that, the world seemed to open up for me.
In that moment of grace I learned a valuable lesson I have never forgotten. The one thing you truly have control over is the ability to fuel your desire for whatever you want from life and if you learn to attach emotion to those desires, then the world is yours.
This time things were different; I actually put forth some effort and easily did very well. I met the girl of my dreams, married her then tried to live happily ever after. But life had other surprises up her sleeve as she so often does.
Right in the middle of the chaos of raising our children, at the precise time of needing maximum energy levels, I developed what is now known as “chronic fatigue syndrome”. This terrible illness takes away all your energy and drive to a point where you can hardly get out of a chair. I was 37 at the time and it lasted for about 2-1/2 years. It was the longest 2-1/2 years of my life, and Leslie’s.
When I was 43, I was twice diagnosed with the most severe form of skin cancer…melanoma. These life experiences at first hit me right between the eyes, but like before, after I stopped feeling sorry for myself, I moved forward one step at a time, and cultivated that burning desire to get through as I learned some valuable lessons along the way that has served me well.
I must admit, I only got tough because life forced me to do so, but I got tough never the less and in doing so I searched out and found techniques that taught me ways to deal with these and other adversities. The approach was the same whether it was coping with chronic fatigue, cancer or any other life changing circumstance. It all boils down to this simple phrase: “Make it happen”.
Challenging life experiences…we all have them. Wisdoms learned from going through them…we all get them if we are lucky to live long enough. The only difference is I’m going to pass them along through this blog in the hope of finding that hard headed kid I once was in order to bend his or her learning curve into a straight line. Wouldn’t that be cool?