My father really only had three principles by which he lived: “a man is only as good as his word”; he believed in the sanctity of the family name and family honor; and he believed that each of us is responsible for his own mistakes. He was truly a tough love daddy!
MY FATHER’S TEACHING MANUAL
My father was a man of purpose and action who didn’t readily suffer fools. Of course, he saw fools wherever he looked so it seemed he was constantly in a negative frame of mind. He seemingly believed that the whole world should dance to the same beat as he did and when that didn’t happen, he became disenchanted with life—at least, that’s how I perceived my father growing up.
My father had little formal schooling but was a very intelligent and intellectual man. Nevertheless, the lessons he instilled in his children were those that even the most illiterate person would have understood. Still, he did not merely go over the lesson once and then let it rest while assuming that he’d done his duty. No indeed! His lessons were repeated time and again all the years I remained at home. He was determined that we kids would take his lessons with us into the world. Fortunately, there were only three main precepts by which he lived.
First, he believed that “A man is only as good as his word.” Therefore, truth and honesty in all things were the driving force behind what he said and did. This meant that he would not make promises unless he knew that he could keep them, and once having given his word there was no need for contracts in his world because it was a fact that it would be done. This meant that he paid all of his obligations no matter how much we may have needed that money ourselves. In short, people could count on him.
Secondly, he believed in the sanctity of our family name. We were continually reminded not to do things that would embarrass our family. This meant that at school we did our level best to earn good grades because we were capable and he did not wish to be perceived as the father of idiots or morons. It also meant that we had to use our Sunday manners at all times because he didn’t want others to bring our lapses to his attention. It also required that his offspring be honest and upright just as he was. To do otherwise would have been to risk bringing shame to our family name. In short, he wanted us to be paragons of virtue. I’m sure we didn’t always meet his standards but at least by having standards set for us, we managed to do most of what he wanted us to do—most of the time.
Published in: Family