Today is my father’s birthday. I am so excited to be able to celebrate this day! A couple of years ago my father was in a car accident. At the hospital, they later discovered a mass in his stomach. It turned out that the mass was cancer. Fortunately, the doctors were able to get all of the cancer out of his body. As part of the procedure, they had to cut out a pretty significant portion of his stomach so my father went from being a very big guy to a relatively small one. He’s still big in my eyes though!
As I reflect back on my relationship with my father over the years, there are five characteristics that I have learned from him which I think are great lessons for a father to teach his daughter (or his son). I call them 5-H.
- Hard Work: My father has one of the greatest work ethics that I know. From being a soldier in Vietnam when he was 19 to refusing to retire now (because he would get “bored”), he loves to work/do something productive. Although rest is good, I just don’t understand people who can just around and do nothing all of the time. It’s just not in my DNA!
- Humor: My dad is so funny. He is actually hilarious. Some of his humor is a bit biting but he really is great at making fun of things that he observes in day to day life. I was watching The Carmichael Show with my family last night and I think that my dad would fit perfectly with the parents in that show. They all make me laugh so hard.
- Honesty: My father is honest to a fault. The great thing about that is that you never have to question where you stand with him. Also, do not ask him a question if the truthful answer has the potential to hurt your feelings. I hate lies and dishonesty too so I appreciate this quality in a person. My son Michael gets this trait from his grandfather. We call Michael “Candor” (from the Divergent book series and movie) because he tells the truth with little to no filter.
- Haberdashery: Granted, I am stretching it a bit with this one to keep with my “H” theme, because a haberdasher is actually a men’s clothing dealer. My dad has never worked for a clothing store (that I know about). However, he is one of the most well-dressed men that I have ever known. He loves nice clothes. When I was a little girl, I distinctly remember that he made sure that his outfits were nicely pressed and on point. I think that being concerned (but not overly crazy) about your appearance is a good reminder regarding self-care. My youngest son Sean takes after his grandfather in this aspect. He loves clothes and gets excited when he gets clothes for birthday or Christmas gifts…especially if the box comes from my dad. Birds of a feather…
- Humility: My father has a very big, outgoing personality. In his battle with cancer though, he taught me so much about humility. When bad things happen to me or those that I love, my initial reaction is to ask, “Why me?” or “Why them?” As I spoke with my father as he was in the midst of chemotherapy and everything, he had the opposite attitude. He was like, “Bad things happen to people. Why not me?” He didn’t do a lot of grumbling or complaining throughout the process. Rather, he just took things day-by-day. I remember one conversation in particular. He said, “You know what? Sometimes you’ll be going through hard times while someone else is having a great time. Things shift and you’ll be having a great time while someone else is having a hard time. That’s life.” I have thought back to that simple, yet profound truth many times since he said it. When weighing good days to bad days, it really is hard to complain!
In any event, I want to write, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” to my dad, Glenn Newby. I’m so glad to be your daughter!