It’s been six years since we lost my father. I don’t mean we misplaced him, I mean he took that unavoidable trip to the hereafter.
This being the case, the anniversary of his death caused me once again to reflect on his life, the part of it I was privy to share, and how he influenced me, and how he showed me about the way to live by setting an example.
My father was religious, a Catholic convert and extremely hard-working. Like all of us he had his faults, but they never entered into the realm of not providing for his family.
He went to work every morning at 7 a.m., five days a week, 50 weeks a year. We never heard him complain. He brought home the paycheck that put food on the table, clothes on our back, and a two-week trip to the Atlantic Shore each year. We never heard him complain.
We learned that my father’s dedication to his family was his dedication to his job. I don’t know if he truly enjoyed his work. I only know that he went to work, came home, and did it again the next day. This was the example set by my father. This was how things were done, because this was how things were done by his father, and his father before him.
In the Navy, I worked long and hard hours. I even received a medal in Vietnam for working hard. But this was because that is how things were done in my family. As I got older and left home I found out that things could be different. I found that I could enjoy my work and even let people know. I found that when I didn’t like what I was doing I didn’t have to keep doing it. I could learn something else while I did my “job”, and to move on to something different. Supporting myself and my family didn’t mean having to repeat, repeat, and repeat. Life was not meant for misery to be offered up for sins, mine or those of others. Life was meant to be lived and enjoyed.
I left the Navy and pursued a career in cabinet making that I truly enjoyed. Enjoy what you do, and do what you enjoy, and you will never work a day in your life. Don’t know where I heard that, but I try to live it.
After that I have tried and succeeded in several other careers throughout my life. And have stuck with the ones I enjoyed. I had jobs only to support my family when the situation called for it, but they were only in passing.
I respect my father and all he did and taught us; hard work, dedication, and love of family. But I learned that it is not necessarily the only way to live.
I found that if you work at it you can do the work that you love, and still support your family. I found that you don’t have to go to the same job five days a week 50 weeks a year without complaint to support your family. I found out that you can have your cake and eat it too. I found that you can do what you love, and love what you do, and still support you family and be a good role model for your children.
I truly respect my father, but I found out that my father’s way was not the only way.
As we are headed for graduation we all have to make up our minds in this tough economy about how we are going to make it. However we plan to do it we all can take an example from a classic example of hard work and dedication.