My dad is awesome! I could probably compare against some of my friends and wish for a dad who operated like my bank account, gave me bail money, made sure I have all the latest trends, covered that bumper to bumper, but my dad has given me something money can’t buy.
I can’t pinpoint at what age my dad started teaching me; it’s been this way as long as I can remember. I do know he began funding my learning and my leadership toolbox long before those opportunities for implementation would ever be available to me.
It started with a Louis L’Amour book. He loved them, but I saw no need to share that love. Nevertheless, he picked one I might like and stapled a 20-dollar bill to the back cover of the book. I was probably in 4th or 5th grade.
It worked; I read the book as fast as I possibly could because at 10 years old, 20 bucks made me rich! This routine continued; another lame western novel showed up on the foot of my bed with 20 dollars stapled in the back—then a spiritual disciplines book, then a leadership book—and it kept going. It kept going until I understood the value of reading. It didn’t take long before I bought my own books and read them without being bribed. But through the process, I understood that my dad perceived reading to be worth every penny, and the ability to learn from someone else’s experience would benefit my life greatly. My dad taught me the value of learning.
While I still experienced (and AM experiencing) my fair share of stupid attacks, mistakes, and people problems; I’m holding a depth of knowledge and understanding of real solutions that was grown through reading and learning. I have a variety of other people’s experiences to base decisions on, to funnel into my life, and to reference from time to time. I can pick up the phone, walk my dad through a situation, and know he’s going to ask me what law of leadership I need to apply. (Yes, he paid me to read John Maxwell’s 21 Laws of Leadership.) I know now that unknowns can be less intimidating and that every day I can use learning as an avenue to grow my leadership.
It wasn’t just through books being carefully selected and placed on my bed that I came to understand my dad’s value of learning. It was the “be the leader” comments as I’m getting out of the car; it was the “reading through Proverbs” to understand what I did wrong; it was through watching him read each and every day. He told me learning was important, but his life and actions also showed and exhibited why I needed to be a learner.
I would like to go back to what I said at the beginning where I was over dramatic to communicate that my dad gave me something more valuable than money. I want to make sure I brag on my dad for a second and tell you that all through college, I’d check my mail and find cash folded up in a blank sheet of his company letterhead. He has fixed my car more times than I can count. And though he would never NEED to tell me he loves me, he does it all the time. More recently those “I love you’s” have come via email.
While every daughter needs and adores their father’s love, my dad’s love was deep enough to build within me a love of reading and learning.
The “window” of learning helps me to solve problems, face experiences I haven’t known, and always continue to become a better version of me.
Six Ways We Help Our Children Become Leaders
1st Rule of Leadership