I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Dad's Six Rules

My sister Nicole and my dad at a family
gathering on March 10, 1998
A couple of days ago, I wrote about the six rules that were passed from a father to a son in the movie People Like Us, who in turn passed them on to his nephew. Today, I want to pass along the rules my dad shared with me and my siblings.

I consulted with them for this post and was not surprised that we heard many of the same rules/truths from him – even though we didn’t necessarily grow up in the same household (my day married twice and had two children in each marriage).

But we also heard a few different rules, based on our situations. I’ve chosen the more general ones for this post.

Dad had many failings, but he also had a compassionate side. That’s how I choose to remember him. He has been gone for more than twelve years now, but I can still hear his voice as I ponder his life lessons:

1. There are two types of people in the world – givers and takers; be a giver.

He had a theory that you only needed to sit in a room with someone five minutes to determine which type of person he or she is. Dad didn’t have much tolerance for takers. I don’t think he avoided them as much as he kept an eye on them.

2. Never pass a red kettle.

Continuing with the theme of giving, after seeing how one of my nieces, who has cerebral palsy in her lower extremities, benefited from the work of a couple of charitable organizations many years ago, I told my dad it made me even more aware of the needs of charities and it made me want to do more for them.

“Never pass up the opportunity to drop something into a red kettle,” he said, referring to the Salvation Army’s red kettle at Christmastime. But I knew he was talking about more than just the Salvation Army.

3. If somebody asks you for something, give it to him or her if you can.

Sounds amazingly consistent with what I read this morning in Proverbs 3:27: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.”

“And he abided by that rule,” one of my sisters told me. “Almost every time I asked for something (a new piece of clothing, a few bucks, to go out for dinner, to spend the night with a friend, a toy or some candy at the store) his answer was ‘I don’t see why not’ and he made it happen.”

He once pulled three hundred dollars out of his pocket to offer to buy me a laptop at a computer trade show when I was beginning to express an interest in writing. I knew it was all the money he had in the world. The laptop wasn’t worth it, so we didn’t buy it, but I never forgot that.

4. Keep spare change in your pocket so you can make a phone call if you need to and a dollar in your glove compartment so you can buy gas if you run out.

The specifics are dated, but the sentiment is timeless. Always try to keep a little in reserve, just in case.

5. The system is fine – it’s the people who run it who are broken.

Underneath Dad’s compassion was a healthy suspicion of people who seemed to operate with little or no regard for others.

6. Take a lot of photos. The older you get, the more important they will become to you.

In 1998, I had an instant camera. The film cost nearly a dollar per photo. As my family gathered at one of my sister’s houses that year, I shot a few photos and then ran out of film. I didn’t plan to shoot more that day because of the cost. Dad handed me a ten dollar bill and said, “Go get more film. You can never shoot too many photos – especially in a situation like this.”

He was right. I shot the picture you see above of my sister and dad that day. I treasure it.

I would love to hear some of the truths or rules your father expressed to you. Share them in the comments section.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...