This week, in commemoration of that day – and recognizing that it may be a bit tough to tabulate – I’d like to know, What is the most important thing you have learned from your father – by word, deed, or both?
Sure enough, traditional “tabulations” didn’t fit this week’s responses which were, nonetheless, every bit as insightful, inspiring, and entertaining as you might expect. Certain themes did emerge, however. Many readers cited a work ethic, the importance of being honest, the priority of family, the benefit of love and unconditional support – but, as one reader noted, “Who could narrow it down to just one thing?” Dads being dads, actions seemed to speak louder than words, but there were plenty of wise words as well. Here’s a sampling:
- He taught us that you don’t call in sick, you don’t pilfer supplies from work or school, you respect teachers & bosses whether you agree with them or not & you pay your bills on time.”
- The Value of Saving!
- Don’t ever buy a new car until you can pay cash for it.
- “Don’t do nothin’ stupid.”
And from another reader (just in case you fail the foregoing):
- You gotta be tough if you’re gonna be stupid.
Fathers also had an influence, albeit perhaps less directly than one might think, in a number of readers’ career choices:
- “I have to tell you I’m not rich and you’re not going to inherit a lot of money. So, whatever you do, and I don’t care what it is, you better like it because you’re going to have to work a long time.” After 7 1/2 years of accounting I found something I love in HR.”
- “From his example, i learned to be unflappable. A real essential for surviving hr. While others are waving their arms and shouting, my arms are folded in front of me and I’m watching and listening.”
- “My father got up and went to work every single day, regardless of any health issues or other personal problems. He took responsibility for his and others’ actions and stayed loyal to his employer right up until the time they filed bankruptcy and left him without a job.”
- “To use correct grammar. From earliest childhood (and right on through adulthood when needed), my father corrected my use of the English languageâ€¦.I believe correct speech also opens doors, encourages others to treat you with respect, and may land you a job you wouldn’t otherwise get. It appears to be a skill that is waning, based on the job applicants we see!”
This week’s responses were also full of the kind of insights you’ll never find in a Father’s Day card (but should), including:
“My father taught me many things, but I think the most important was how to still love your children while refraining from commenting on decisions they’ve made and of which you disapprove. Actually, I’m still learning the “not commenting” part.”
My father taught me about graciousness – – “If someone, ” he said, “offers to be generous with time, strength or money, and you decline the offer but they offer again, a second time, ” and dad fixed me with his intense stare, “take them up on it.” This applies to picking up a restaurant check, carrying luggage, opening a door, helping with a flat tire, etc. This avoids protracted and often increasingly irritable debates over, for example, who pays the dinner check. And dad also said that this works in the reverse too: if you offer and it is refused, and you offer again and it is refused again – – then, you’re done and there’s no arguing!
“My Dad once told me “If you are ever in doubt about whether something is okay to do or not, just look over shoulder and make believe I’m standing there. If you think it would be okay to do with me there — then it’s probably okay.”
Some less “traditional” things learned from dads included:
- The name and purpose of every hand tool in his workshop (very important for a young girl in his opinion!)
- A yellow traffic light really means “go like the devil because it’s going to turn red any second.”
- Eat till you’re tired………..sleep till you’re hungry.
- A good arm fart is always, without fail, funny!
- It is best to avoid stepping on slugs when barefoot.
- When looking to purchase something, figure out what you need then upgrade one step – you’ll be happier longer.
- My father advised me to marry an orphan; I’m still looking for one.
- “If someone says please, you don’t have to do it.”
- Aside from all the usual parental good advice, the best thing he ever taught me when I was really young — my golf swing!
But this week’s Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who noted, “My father has taught me that any job worth doing, is worth taking the time to do it right the first time. Otherwise, you have to go back and fix what you screwed up! Man, I wish he could spend a some time with our 401(k) recordkeeper!”
Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey – and all the Dads that inspired, and continue to inspire us all!
An example by deed, my Dad raised six children with love, but with very firm guidance. I remember at age 14, when our vacation plans suddenly changed, my father said "Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans". I listened, but did not fully understand until many years later. As a 62 year old 401(k) administrator, and mother, I understand more than he can imagine.
My Dad once told me "If you are ever in doubt about whether something is okay to do or not, just look over shoulder and make believe I'm standing there. If you think it would be okay to do with me there -- then it's probably okay."
Solely by the example he set, my Dad taught us the importance of a strong work ethic. One other "most important", again by example, and never by lecture, he taught the importance of respecting others. My Dad is a great father and a set a wonderful example for us.
That he is married to alcohol and that I do not want to be nothing like him. I have only spoken to him a few times in 15 years. My step-father is a great guy, but he has only been my step-dad for 5 years. My mom is the one that taught me everything. She has taught me how to be loving, independent, strong, and how to not take any crap. 🙂
....as my dad, a B-17 pilot with 35 missions over Germany always reminded us "don't let the bastards get you down"....
My father taught me to work hard and focus on my family. These two ideals have served me well so far.
I've learned that honesty, respect, family and hard work trumps all.
Dad only had two rules for his three kids, we were going to college and we were not going to smoke. All three finished college and none of us smoked. It would have been hard to tell him, "I forgot one of them".
Mom had several more, you know, clean underwear, wash behind your ears, etc...
My father was a bread truck driver/delivery man. I spent my pre-teen & teen years on Saturdays helping him on the route.
I remember a conversation on racism. His routes took us into all different neighborhoods of Chicago. The time frame was the late 1950's.
He shared with me his own personal experiences of growing up, and how the color of one's skin does not make up the character of a person, but an individual's acts determine the character of that particular person.
2 things actually,
1- Honesty and Integrity
2- The name and purpose of every hand tool in his workshop (very important for a young girl in his opinion!)
I'd have to say that one of the most important things I've learned from my father in my 35 years, and it's something I've imparted to my children, is this bon mot :
You gotta be tough if you're gonna be stupid.
Definitely a rule to live by.
There are so many things I learned from him, but one that I follow to this day is:
Don't ever buy a new car until you can pay cash for it.
My father was a career soldier and always had money taken out of his paychecks to buy savings bonds. He would not buy a new car until he had enough savings bonds to cash in and pay for it. I am 58 and have only bought a new car when I had enough money saved to pay for it. It is a lesson that I use in almost all of my buying habits.
The thing I learned from my father was that no amount of money can buy a conscience - so stay true to yourself and don't give in to something you think is wrong.
Who could narrow it down to just one thing? My father instilled in me the values that keep me working hard, being good to my word, and knowing that a good sense of humor is important. He died 16 years ago and I still wish that I could talk to him and learn from his wisdom.
He taught me that "If money can replace it, it must not be that important."
Golf - that's how I got money out of him while in school!
A favorite "Dadism" that I learned from my papa: Take care of your stuff and your stuff will take care of you (applies to cars, power tools, garden implements, etc.)
To use correct grammar. From earliest childhood (and right on through adulthood when needed), my father corrected my use of the English language. This made grammar lessons in school a snap (if it sounded right, it was the right answer). I believe correct speech also opens doors, encourages others to treat you with respect, and may land you a job you wouldn't otherwise get. It appears to be a skill that is waning, based on the job applicants we see!
My father is not a talker, so I guess it was more deed than word, but one thing he said and did:
When I told him of my decision to marry (at a very young age and during a time when marriage was becoming a convenience instead of a lifetime commitment), his only statement to me was to "treat her right", or I would answer to him. I guess it stuck, we have been married for 36 wonderful years. Oh, the deed part, he and my mother celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary this past January.
I learned lots from my father like where to dig for fishing worms, the names of the trees, birds and rocks, where to look in the sky to see the constellations, how to shave, how to say to say "goodnight" after my first date. I guess the real things I learned from him can be summed up as Sportsmanship, Honor, Dignity, Humor.
My father, more than any other person, had the most influence on my life. He died 15 years ago and I miss him very much. He was always careful of his Christian testimony and taught us about God and His Word. He stressed the importance of always doing right. It was my father who led me to Christ; and it my relationship with God that defines me as a person.
For as long as I can remember, Dad always (and I mean always) said, "Don't do nothin' stupid." It didn't matter if he was leaving for work or if I was leaving for school or to hang out with my friends. Those four little words were his way of saying, "Behave yourself and think things though before you take any action." Now that I have three stepdaughters and a child of my own, I find that I am saying the same thing to them...when I'm leaving for work or when they are leaving for school or to be with their friends.
That's an easy question. My father's best piece of advice was "You can't learn anything with your mouth open."
The most important thing I have learned from my father came from observing his behavior. When I was younger my siblings and I would laugh at Dad and crack jokes about him striking up a conversation with anybody and everybody at any time. As I have gotten older I have come to the realization that the real value in my father's garrulous character is that he treats everybody well and the same no matter if they are a bank president or the local "nutcase" that forages through the city garbage cans. People appreciate his friendly gesture of passing a casual word with them and take it as his recognition of them as having value as an individual. I can not tell you the number of people I have ran into in the last five years who, after finding out my dad's name, say something about him being a great guy or that they think the world of him.
Dad also would give away his last coat on a cold day if he came across a guy who needed one. For example, a number of years ago, a new boyfriend came to visit me at my parents' home. He parked his wreck of a car in their drive, and we took mine out to visit mutual friends. When we got back and the young man had left, I found out that my dad had not only rotated the tires on my date's car (because they REALLY needed it), but he also replaced a dangerously bad tire with one of his own spare tires that was in much better condition. That is just one case in point of how Dad leads his life, and I try to teach my own son to follow his grandfather's example and follow it myself.
Thanks for the opportunity.
My father has taught me that any job worth doing, is worth taking the time to do it right the first time. Otherwise, you have to go back and fix what you screwed up! Man, I wish he could spend some time with our 401(k) recordkeeper! 😉
The most important things I learned from my father by word and deed is to live according to principle and to stick to my commitments.
My father taught me to work hard, stay honest, and to put family first. That's the way he lived his life, and that's the way I'm living mine. Though life isn't always simple, living by those simple core values sees me through, always.
My father had a saying that always stuck with me (and he lives by it)...A promise is a promise and it must be kept.
Survey response: "An honest day's work for an honest days pay".
What a great question. What I learned from Dad is that the greatest gift you can give someone is your time and attention. That's certainly what he gave me and my siblings growing up. He's a great guy and I'm lucky to still have him (at 80 he's in good health and enjoying retirement).
The one thing my father always said is, "I have to tell you I'm not rich and you're not going to inherit a lot of money. So, whatever you do, and I don't care what it is, you better like it because you're going to have to work a long time." After 7 1/2 years of accounting I found something I love in HR.
That alcohol can ruin a family.
I believe that Mother's Day is the heaviest long-distance phone usage day, but Father's Day is the heaviest COLLECT long-distance phone usage day.
My father taught me many things, but I think the most important was how to still love your children while refraining from commenting on decisions they've made and of which you disapprove. Actually, I'm still learning the "not commenting" part.
What did I learn from my father?
To give - of my time, efforts, and money. I can remember when I was little. We didn't have much money. Yet every Christmas we would make up food baskets and deliver them to people in need, often many years in a row. I remember one year in particular, we had stopped to see an elderly lady who lived alone in a tiny basement apartment. I can remember Mom saying "She didn't have a thing in her cupboards." This tradition of giving has been passed to all three children. We all are very involved in a variety of organizations.
My father taught me 3 things that, as an HR professional, I admire most in people--commitment, responsibility and loyalty. My father got up and went to work every single day, regardless of any health issues or other personal problems. He took responsibility for his and others' actions and stayed loyal to his employer right up until the time they filed bankruptcy and left him without a job. I hope that I possess a degree of these same qualities but, at times, feel tested in my current environment. I guess I do because, after 25 years, I'm still here.
To have faith in God. My father, who died five years ago, was a minister.
The most important things I learned from my father were integrity, honesty, and the highest of morals. With these, I never have to worry about looking in the mirror every morning.
I learned patience from my father. He was the most patient person I ever met, and at the time it was a very frustrating concept for a child to understand. But now as a parent, I understand the value of the virtue.
Many aspects of life and right & wrong...but most memorable is Work Ethic!
Work ethic - I remember the scathing words "I can't picture you ever learning to work" or something to that effect. Of course I had to prove him wrong and have always enjoyed the feeling of a job well done. My father has always been one who went way beyond the call whether it was when he was a teacher, school administrator, painter, volunteering at church or being a husband, dad or grandpa. He always does what he can to help and has an energy level that would make anyone envious, despite being in his 70s and being in a lot of physical pain. While being traditional in nature, he has never been afraid of doing housework, laundry or being deeply involved in the child-rearing process and other jobs that many other men in his generation would have left for the wife. It is this example that has made coping with household responsibilities in this generation much easier.
The most important thing I learned from my dad is that I am strong, courageous and smart enough to figure anything out for myself, and that I should always rely on myself first and foremost, with family coming a close second.
My father taught me about graciousness - - "If someone, " he said, "offers to be generous with time, strength or money, and you decline the offer but they offer again, a second time, " and dad fixed me with his intense stare, "take them up on it." This applies to picking up a restaurant check, carrying luggage, opening a door, helping with a flat tire, etc. This avoids protracted and often increasingly irritable debates over, for example, who pays the dinner check. And dad also said that this works in the reverse too: if you offer and it is refused, and you offer again and it is refused again - - then, you're done and there's no arguing! You can continue to go about your business, untroubled by petty arguments. He also taught me that a good arm fart is always, without fail, funny!
When I was 18 and a new driver, my Dad let me take the family car out for the evening to go see Grin (Nils Lofgren's -- of Bruce Springsteen fame -- first band) perform at a nearby high school. The car was parked in the alley next to the chain linked fence. While driving to maneuver the car around another parked car, I managed to scrape the fence. I was so upset, I didn't want to drive anymore. Although my Dad was probably freaking out on the inside, he calmly came out of the house, moved the car away from the fence, got out of the car. He walked over to me, touched my arm and smiling said, "Have a nice time." Two years ago, when my son turned 18, he took my car over to a friend's and had a mild fender bender. I used my Dad's same approach in dealing with my son's upset. My Dad taught me to be understanding that people can make honest mistakes and give them a second chance.
My father taught me to be true to what I believe in and be my own person. Nobody should ever "own" you - in the loose sense of the word.
This is a tough one. I've learned a lot from my father over the years, but the most important things that I have learned are character related.
1. Family is always most important. More important than yourself, more important than work, more important than friends. No one loves you more than your family, and you can always rely on them for support (especially your father).
2. You are only as good as your word. Act with integrity, so you can always be proud of yourself.
3. Determination can make up for a natural lack of talent if you want to do something badly enough.
The most practical piece of advice was passed down to him from his father:
A yellow traffic light really means "go like the devil because it's going to turn red any second."
The value of one's integrity and reputation.
Eat till you're tired...........sleep till you're hungry.
Basically enjoy life.
The 2 most important things I learned from my father were that small does not equal weak, and I could do and be anything I wanted. However, he did clarify that as I am a female I would have to be twice as intelligent and hard-working to prove myself an equal in a man's world. He was so very right.
Other things Dad taught me include:
It is best to avoid stepping on slugs when barefoot.
Bob Dylan may have an awful voice, but his lyrics are incredibly wise.
Being color blind can excuse any fashion faux pas.
If you have seen the movie "Meet the Parents," then you have met my Dad. He was a pro at intimidating my dates, he would make a point of showing them the plaque that held his Green Beret and machete. When I was 22, my boyfriend and I decided to move in together. Dad expressed his disapproval very clearly saying "My daughter is not a car you can test drive!" My Dad is one of the finest men I have ever known. Thanks!
My Dad made me follow him around with a tool box (I think he really wanted a son). He taught me how to fix things, how to put things together, and how to solve all types of problems around the house. I think this gave me a lot of my logical thinking and common sense. p.s. We hardly ever read the instructions!
My father taught me to be self-reliant! My father was a master of many things and I tried to learn from him. As a result, there are a lot of things I can do that I would otherwise have to hire others to do. No matter what the project I have a 'can do' attitude and will make an effort to make it work before I call on someone else to do the job.
I learned quite a few things from my father (or attributed to him).
1 - When looking to purchase something, figure out what you need then upgrade one step - you'll be happier longer.
2 - I learned that I was going to spend the rest of my life either working or looking for a job. But he wasn't sure which was worse.
3 - I learned that the most important thing in my life should be my wife. I will spend a lot more time with her alone than the kids, the dog, my car/motorcycle/plane what ever. Through good times and bad she will be the one solid fixture in my life. After 29 years I can say I agree with him.
My father, who retired from the US Air Force @ 38 and the State of Missouri at 60, has taught me the value of a solid work ethic and that not all government employees are demented bureaucrats.
By both word and deed - - respect for all people.
â€¦here are the things I learned from MY dad...
You need to finish a project as soon as possible after starting it (this is, of course, NOT based on my father's example... He's been renovating the kitchen since 1984, but he's almost done... that's right...21 years in the making... he actually had to tear down the first attempt at an addition in the mid nineties and start over. Mind you, my dad IS an architect.... And then there's his 1955 MG 1500 TF. It's the second car he ever owned, and he's been restoring it since 1977. It's in pieces in the carport, and I doubt I'll ever see it on the road again.) Thanks to my dad, I have a tendency to finish any project I start as soon as possible.
If you don't need something, give it to Goodwill, sell it, or throw it away. Again, this is not based on my dad's example. He actually has telephone messages from 1972 that he won't let my mom throw away. What benefit these could possibly be, I don't know. Then there's the piles of junk spread throughout the carport, which hasn't housed a running automobile in 15 years, and around the yard. He once put a steel shelf in the backyard and loaded it with stuff... this in Mobile, Al, which is one step away from being a tropical rain forest. The thing rusted away completely, and he never took anything OFF of the shelf as it rusted into the ground. I finally threw away all of the stuff that was left, at which point he got PO'd because he said it was stuff he needed...then why on earth did he store it outside unprotected???
Be truthful. What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. My dad is the king of stretching the truth.
But I did learn some good things from my dad. Work hard. Dad once held down THREE jobs just to feed all five of us kids and mom. He taught at a university during the day, worked at a pizza parlor at night, and did construction work on the weekend. And I never heard him complain about it. Dad still works hard, and I don't see any sign of him retiring any time soon though he's now 68 years old. I think he'll work until he dies, and he's happy to do it. And dad has always been willing to give advice when asked and usually has an answer that might work.
I still love my dad though. He's a great grandfather to my kids, and although I am not like him, I can say he shaped me.
My father advised me to marry an orphan; I'm still looking for one.
I most remember two equally important lessons my father taught me.
The first reflects his serious side and although it is fairly simple it is more important than anything I learned in school: "Think before you speak."
The second reflects his humorous side. It can be both ironic and a truism: "If someone says please, you don't have to do it."
Thanks for the opportunity to reflect and keep up the great work
What I learned from my father: the value of honesty, integrity, and hard workâ€¦he lived those values everyday!
By word: Laugh at yourself first: then, bullies can't laugh AT you but your friends will laugh WITH you.
By deed: Spend time with your family; and it's okay to lose, but important to be in the game - just do your best.
Dad spent many hours playing games with us and providing new experiences, so while I may not be an expert at one thing, I know a little about a lot of things; I enjoy being part of a team and can be a pivotal player, but don't need to have the limelight.
What is the most important thing I have learned from my Father?
I have learned that honesty and integrity is all you have to hang your hat on by his word and his deed.
Deeds and words show the depth of love..................
He taught me that gun control is being an expert marksman (he is a retired chief of police).
He taught me that driving is not a contact sport when he got me into the NV state patrol officer driving school to ensure I had the best driving instructors available.
He taught me that when you are older and look back, it will be the things that you didn't do that you will regret, not the stupid things you did do.
From his example, I learned to be unflappable. A real essential for surviving hr. While others are waving their arms and shouting, my arms are folded in front of me and I'm watching and listening.
I learned a sense of responsibility or "duty," although that word, to me, has a more negative connotation. His deeds - enlisting in the military BEFORE Pearl Harbor and then serving 4 1/2 years during World War II, establishing a family with my mother which resulted in five of us, brown-bagging it to work every single day without complaint, hauling us to baseball games and on car trips when he probably worried more about other things he could be doing and money he didn't have to spend - shine in my mind's eye. However, the end of my father's life proved to be the ultimate testament to his responsible nature. He had signed his driver's license to be an organ donor, and after a fall and severe head trauma, he did just that, at the age of 76. Needless to say, I miss him every minute of every day.
My father died three weeks ago today. He was in public education for over 40 years. When we were planning the funeral, the minister asked us what "defined" him. Neither my sister nor I could answer the question because we could not think of a saying or quote that was a "signature statement" for him. When we were going through scrap books that our mother kept we found numerous letters that people had sent him thanking him for things that he had done. They ranged from a letter in 1967 from an army lieutenant thanking him for letting his wife (one of my dad's teachers) go the Hawaii for a week of R&R, a letter from a student teacher thanking him for the letter he had written about her which helped her get a job, to a high school student admitting that he was right that "skipping school and being tardy" weren't the only ways to be cool and that she was going to change the way she behaved.
What is the most important thing that I learned from my father? To be genuinely caring of other people. Small acts of kindness and consideration change people's lives.
My father taught me many things, but I feel the most important lessons are: always have a plan, always pay your respects, "make hay while the sun shines," and most important - structure your vacations around company holidays and weekends so you can get the most time off while using the fewest vacation days possible. He's a smart man, I tell you.
The most important thing I learned from my father was the value of money and the importance of saving. He was always frugal, but he regretted not having started to save into a retirement account until he was 40. But he saved diligently for the next 25 years and had an impressive nest egg when he retired. Unfortunately, he died of cancer at age 67 and didn't get a chance to really enjoy his retirement savings. So the flip side of that lesson is that you also need to enjoy life and do the things that you want to do, since you never know what's going to happen.
My father, who passed away 7 years ago, taught me always to be honest in all my interactions, whether personal or professional. That is the single most treasured gift/lesson I received from him. And he himself set a great example, even when it was personally very difficult. I miss him every day.
My father was a great man in many aspects but (after I grew up I realized) selfish in others.
He was a Human Resources ladder climber who climaxed as a Vice President of Human resources. In this position he hated the man he reported to and during that turmoil developed a brain tumor, he died at 46.
This taught me a very valuable lesson, while your career is very important don't let it consume you. Your Family generally comes first, don't work every night and weekends, don't miss your kids sports events if can avoid it, get to know your children's teachers, and make certain you take time out with your kids where there are no phones, TV or friends to distract you or them... so you can really spend quality time with your family.
He also used to tell me "someday" we will talk about it. I am 36 now and wonder what he would have told me. Life is so short so to be honest with your kids.
This father's day I get to celebrate with my amazing father in-law and I count my blessings that I was given him, and remind him how lucky I am to have him in my life.
The most important thing I learned from my father is that people are always people and should act civil towards each other, especially at the end of an argument or disagreement. He said that when he ran a court as a judge he always made the two parties shake hands at the end of the case to show that win or lose, you should never lose the human element of the situation.
Integrity. My Dad always answers thoughtfully & truthfully. He taught us that you don't call in sick, you don't pilfer supplies from work or school, you respect teachers & bosses whether you agree with them or not & you pay your bills on time. We learned by watching him that if my Dad commits to doing something, he will do it & his word &/or his handshake is as good as a contract. Unfortunately, they don't make guys like that anymore, if my dating experiences are any indication. 🙁
The two most important things I learned from my dad were:
1. Seek to honor God in everything you do.
2. Keep a healthy sense of humor about your situation, regardless of what it might be. Humor is usually very liberating, and can allow you to look at a situation from a new perspective, which is where most solutions come from.
What is the most important thing you have learned from your father * by word, deed, or both?
My father repeated this over and over during my youth, until it became a mantra in my head, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." [I should probably listen to that mantra more often...]
By watching my father interact with others, I learned vicariously that you learn more about a person or a situation with your mouth closed and your ears open than you do in the reverse order for those body parts.
As I approached my 45th birthday my father shared this:
As you get older now you must remember 3 things:
1. Never trust a fart
2. Never pass up a urinal
3. If you get "excited" use it whether you are alone or not!
The Value of Saving!
My Dad passed away when I was 6 years old, but during the few years I was able to know him he always treated me as someone special. So I guess I learned to never ignore my children and always treat them as being special.
When he has told me any of these 3 things, I learned that I was ok and that I had his approval.
That he loves me.
That he is proud of me.
He tells me how good I am at something.
Aside from all the usual parental good advice, the best thing he ever taught me when I was really young -- my golf swing!
The kindest words of wisdom that my father has ever given me were to always be yourself and not to hurt others when you were mad.
At an early age, I and my three siblings were placed in foster homes because our mother frequently left us unattended while my father worked. She eventually left town and started a new life without us.
My father was a farm worker until the age of 70. He worked the hot field of the San Joaquin Valley in California during the summer picking grapes. During the winter, he pruned fruit trees and grape vines in the cold and fog. If he didn't work, he didn't get paid. Every other Saturday, without fail, my father would drive 45 minutes to visit us at our foster home. Because Saturday was a work day, he chose to visit his children and forfeit a day's earnings. Considering the low wages and the uncertainly that work would be available throughout the year, one day of lost wages was pretty significant. Still, he chose his children over the work.
Commitment to family was the greatest lesson that my father taught me.