3 Things I Learned from My Father that I Use Daily

Happy Father’s Day! Today is the day that we honor the guy who was our male leadership while growing up.

Think about most of your relationships and friends — how many Fathers of them do you know? If you’re anything like me, I rarely know their Fathers (or even met them)! Isn’t that weird? But so much of who we are, is based on who our Father was (or is). Your friend probably turned out the way they are (at least partially) because of their father’s influence. And so did you and I.

dsc05635I confess that I’ve been heard to say, “I hope I don’t turn out like my Dad.” We haven’t really had a close relationship. I could tell you possible reasons I think that happened, but perhaps that’s another time and only for very close friends. But the older I get, the more I see how my Dad has influenced me.

And today I honor him (as the Bible commands us to do).

I’m a Creative Director. And I do believe (even though I know my Dad couldn’t tell you what I do specifically in my career) that he, Abner Donald MacDonald, paved the way to who I am and what I do every day. I suppose I should stop at his name, and tell you he hates his first name, so he always was known for his middle name, Donald. And it’s that name that I was given for my middle name. It’s unusual, but it’s distinctive.

Here’s the 3 things I learned (in retrospect) from my Dad.

  • Be Organized. Dad was a telephone man. My earliest recollection of him was driving in his telephone truck (hunched down in the front seat since it was against company policy to be seen in the cab with him). He used to explain to me, “I hate when someone borrows the truck, they don’t put things back where they belong. And there’s a place for everything, and everything should be in its place.” In his workshop in our basement he followed the same rules and lectured to my brother and me about the “everything should be in its place” on a regular basis. My kids and the people I work with “may” have heard similar words from me.
  • Solve Problems. Dad was always called as a problem solver when I was growing up. Mom would need something built, an electrical issue corrected or the church would want the PA system to do something that no one else could get it to do. And Dad would listen to the issues, sit quietly for several minutes (sometimes doodling on a scrap of paper) and then a light bulb would metaphorically ignite over his head. Then, don’t you dare stand in his way while he fixed whatever was the task.Dad knew how to use his knowledge (or group of friends) to fix anything. He seemed to join somewhat disjointed tidbits of knowledge to create “just the right” solution. I follow a similar path and pride myself on “figuring” out solutions. Every problem needs a solution.Even though I only watched from afar, I often remember Dad doing similar tasks, as I saw a board, nail, wire or “persuade” an obnoxious part into a location it doesn’t want to go. And it’s those tasks that allow me to troubleshoot computer and client issues daily.
  • Have standards. Dad always knew what he believed. He raised us to love the God he served. We were at church every time the doors were unlocked. He also clearly states his “take” on something. This can also be seen as obstinate. And head strong.Hmmm, I think I’ve been called that by people close to me! Everyday, there are so many things that land on my desk that I have to evaluate and determine a direction. A great book called “Whack in the Side of the Head” says that in order to be successful in the creative process, we need to accomplish 4 different roles: Explorer, Artist, Judge and Warrior. Dad, taught me how to be a warrior of my ideas. How to embrace things that I feel are right — and to not compromise who I am.

I’m sure if I thought a bit more, I could come up with even more ways that my Dad has influenced me. Some for the bad, but many for the good. And although he’s gotten old and his body and mind are failing him, I honor him for the sacrifices he and my mother made for me. And as I live my life and replicate similar “life” circumstances, I start to understand more about the reasons for his behavior.

Thank you Dad for who I am!

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