We learn a lot from our fathers. Most of the lessons are common sense stuff like don’t poke your finger in the light socket; chew, then swallow (fathers feel that talking while chewing isn’t so bad — that’s for mothers — but they do have a problem with swallowing before chewing); push the knife away from you while whittling; fire burns; dogs bite; bees sting; and bed sheets do not make good parachutes.
My father taught me many things, but three things come to mind:
1. Read good books. He was constantly reading. My father read on work breaks, in the car, camping. The bigger the book, the better the book. The world opened up to me as I followed his example and became part of the wonderful exchange of ideas found in books.
2. Make correct decisions. My father taught me that there are consequences to each decision in life, and that I own those consequences. The formula he taught me seems too simple, but I have learned it’s true: Good decisions = good consequences, and bad decisions = bad consequences. I want the good consequences.
3. Be proud of family. Family meant a lot to my father — past, present and future. He wanted me to uphold the family name, remember who I was in the line and be part of the heritage.
Another thing about my father, the thing I hate to admit — he was usually right.
Bill Hill lives in Idaho Falls, Idaho, with his wife and three daughters. He works for a counseling agency.
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