My father passed away recently, he was 77 years old, struggled with dementia for a good many years until he finally found some peace. Just this past weekend we celebrated his life... with many friends and family around. He impacted a lot of lives and was loved by many. He was, in my opinion, an unsung hero. Working for the same company for 35 + years before retiring. He was an important piece in a well oiled machine and although he didn't rise to what might be the modern day standard for a "hero" with out him in the world things would have been different, very different.
I was called upon the given the eulogy... something I had never done before and was not too keen on standing in front of a bunch of people and giving the most emotional presentation of my life. Needless to say I completely lost it but managed to blubber my way through the tears to get the message out.
One of the things I did prior to the celebration was to think back about some of the fondest memories I have and tried to think of one word that would describe my father... one word I felt defined him ... I came up with Brave, for many reasons. I also wanted too talk about a lesson I learned from my father while I was growing up. He tried to teach me all sorts of things like how to change the oil in my car, how to install a light switch and socket, how to fish and so much more. He would spend quality time with me a slowly explain how these things were done. I learned some of them, some of them did not interest me and the lessons fell flat although I am grateful for them and the time we spent together.
As I said in my eulogy to my father, the one lesson and perhaps the greatest lesson did not come from him sitting with me and teaching me, it came from me just watching him and what he did, or better yet didn't do. I don't recall ever hearing my dad say "I don't know." If something needed to be done and he didn't know how to do it he would not admit that... he would search out and find how to do it. From building a picnic table in our back yard to installing a bathroom in our basement... from start to finish he would do his research and learn as he went. This, in the days before the internet and before you could "GOOGLE" it. He would buy books from the local hardware store and absorb the information and study the picture and just try. Sure he made mistakes but he kept learning and discovered the right way. He would not say I DON"T KNOW" if there is one thing I wish everyone could learn from my father it would be that... Never admit you don't know... stop being lazy and hoping someone else will figure it out.... Change "I don't know" to ... "great question... I will find out".. or ... "I will figure it out and get back to you.. or.. "You know it's something I always wanted to know and now is a good time to find out. When you hear yourself saying "I Don't Know" think to yourself, what am I saying about my self... am I just being lazy, can I get the answer? Then go and get the answer! And you can thank my Dad BOB for inspiring you and me.