My Dad is 90 years old. A crusty, proud, and feisty Cuban gentleman. He is all that and more. Mom died a couple of years ago, and Dad has never been the same. I think he actually thought he and Mom would live together forever, or at least until the day they would go to bed one night and both die in their sleep.
His kidneys recently failed, and we finally had to put him in a nursing care center. His long term memory is good, and he can still process most concepts and ideas, but I am starting to see the deterioration. However, he is doing remarkably well and is actually quite happy.
These days, I think about all the things he taught me, all the things he would say when I was younger. The things I never listened to when I was too busy thinking that I had all the answers. How is it that Dad got so smart in between the time I was 16 to the time I turned 30? It’s a miracle!
As we in life march towards the inevitable we all must face with our parents, I wanted to share three things that stand out from my Dad’s constant urging and teachings throughout the years.
- If you are going to be dumb, you’ve got to be tough
Dad was always telling us that it was a heck of a lot easier to go through life having thought through things and having taken the time to get some education on whatever it was you were going to engage in. But if you couldn’t or wouldn’t get educated, well, toughen up, because it was going to be a rough ride. Deal with it.
- Don’t ever lie. Ever. Face the music, tell the truth, stand up and face what you have done head on
I made a huge tragic mistake while in my 50s, when I had been flying high at the top of my game. But I stood up, told the truth, and though it cost me dearly to this day, I have never regretted it. I slept better from the day I admitted my mistake, and paid my dues.
- Have compassion for people and don’t judge people who have made an honest mistake
I remember sneaking in to the house late one night when I was 17, while he and Mom were out. I had been drinking (a lot). My Grandmother told Dad when he got home that I was inebriated. I was lying in bed, the room doing a great impression of a run away merry go round. Dad opened the door and asked me what was going on. I looked up at him, one foot firmly planted on the floor in an effort to stop the room from breaking away from the rest of the house. I told him I had been drinking, a lot, and I felt like I was going to die. Dad closed the door. I could hear my Grandmother asking him if he was going to punish me. To which Dad said that we must have compassion on me because I was suffering and had already been punished enough.
Dad is one smart guy, even though he never made it past 6th grade. I only hope I am half as smart when it comes to sharing the wisdom of the world with my children.
I bet you have many Dad and Mom stories just like this!