My sister and I were very young when my dad decided our family was going to paint over the graffiti in our neighborhood. Armed with brushes and buckets, we walked from our house on Fifth Avenue in Los Angeles' Koreatown down the block to the first concrete wall covered in graffiti.
Before either of us was 8 years old, our dad taught us about taking care of the things we have and taking care of our community.
That Saturday was one of the rare times I saw my dad not wearing a suit and tie. Chuck Woodhouse always wears a suit. Whether in his 52nd-floor office overlooking the Hollywood sign or in a chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Foothills, my dad is always ready to work.
By example, he taught us the importance of diligence, responsiveness and responsibility.
At home, we learned the power of a firm handshake and a long laugh. My dad’s disciplinary style epitomizes the instruction to “(reprove) betimes with sharpness ... then showing forth afterwards an increase of love” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:43).
He taught me the power of obedience and the importance of perspective. Nearly 15 years after taking my Advanced Placement European History test, I remember my father affirming my belief that no matter my result, that test would not matter eternally. That important lesson comforted me when more recently I made the decision to leave my career as a litigator to care for my son full time.
My dad taught us that professional success does not have to be a barrier to familial success, and he used his many business trips as opportunities to share his testimony of the Savior’s divinity and eternal families with us.
In Denmark, we traveled to Frederiksborg Castle to view Carl Bloch’s paintings of Jesus Christ’s ministry and then back to Copenhagen to stand in awe at the feet of the original Christus.
In London, we watched the Nauvoo Illinois Temple dedication and then journeyed to Adwick-le-Street to clean the grave of John Woodhouse, dated 1836. Now my dad continues to link the generations of our family by making time for lunch with me and my son every time he is in New York City on business.
Truly, my dad deserves credit and recognition for many things, but as children, we know he has not done any of it alone. My mom has always been there for us and for him, and possibly the most important lesson my dad has taught us has been to love our mother.
While tradition dictates we celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day separately, my parents have taught us the value of unity. They stand together and have devoted their lives to raising their children in the gospel. As my husband and I start on the path of raising our own children, we hope and plan to teach our children the same lessons.
Megan Needham is the founder of Steps Admissions Consulting and works as a graduate school admissions consultant. She holds degrees in law and chemical engineering from Georgetown and BYU, respectively. Find her at www.stepsadmissionsconsulting.com.
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