This Sunday, we celebrate Fathers Day and as I was thinking back over my childhood, I realized there are several principles that I learned from my dad which I have been reminded of through my association with the LIFE Community.
First of all, my father was born on February 6, 1914. To put that date into perspective, Orville Wright lived another 34 years and Thomas Edison, inventor of the commercially available light bulb, would live for 17 more years after my dad was born. Needless to say, times were much different in that day. My father has seen many, many changes over the course of his life thus far. Here are just a few events he has witnessed over his lifetime:
- World War I
- Canadians Banting & Best discover Insulin
- the Great Depression
- Commercialized passenger flight
- Canada’s Old Age Pension introduced ($20/month)
- World War II
- US goes off the Gold Standard
- Ray Kroc & the MacDonalds phenomenon
- Nuclear Energy
- Computers & the internet
- Polio vaccine invented
- Sir Edmund Hillary summits Mount Everest
- Sam Walton
Growing up with 3 sisters as the only surviving son of two 2nd generation Canadians in the Agricultural age, my dad recognized early on that he was destined to carry on the family farm. Situated squarely on the Canadian Shield, the soil was not as fertile as other regions of the country and life consisted mostly of hard work. My father often worked another job during the day and farmed during the evenings & weekends. The whole family pitched in and contributed, often during the hot summer months when there was garden produce or crops to be harvested. It was my father whom I first heard quote that famous Ben Franklin saying “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” I appreciate my father’s persistent and strong work ethic.
Family & Community
With so much of his time spent working, I valued the rare family times when we gathered the whole clan together to laugh, enjoy great food, and celebrate special occasions. Family is important. Even as I contemplate gathering with my siblings this coming weekend, I appreciate the chance to return to the origin of my father’s life. He still sleeps in the same bedroom where his mother delivered him almost a century ago! In 1914, there was no such thing as rushing expectant mothers to the hospital! The best case scenario was for a sibling to run to the next farm (5 miles away) and return with the neighboring wife who could assist with the birth. Even without Facebook or texting, I grew up in a social environment where we spent time together and enjoyed life together. I appreciate that my father values family and community.
Perhaps my father’s money views were formed by his parents who raised a family during the Great Depression. Perhaps he learned to trade or share with neighbors because the basic needs of life were far simpler than they are today. I expect he used cash because credit cards had not yet been invented. Many times, the sale of livestock barely covered the expense of raising the animals. But my dad loved to spend time caring for all forms of critters and experience the healthy rewards of working outdoors. Whatever the influences that formed his understanding of finances, he avoided debt at all costs, never had a mortgage payment, paid cash for cars, and lives to this day according to his means. I appreciate the financial principles that my father has taught me.
The Next Generation
Today, I am proud to be the father of 2 amazing children who are learning many lessons from their father. One of the things that I want to instill into the culture of my family is the ongoing desire to learn and grow. Thanks to the Mental Fitness Challenge and the LIFE Community, my children are learning the incredible value of a self-directed education. My wife and I are committed to raising new leaders by modeling the principles taught by my father and the community of leaders associated with the LIFE organization.
Thank you to Orrin Woodward, Claude Hamilton, Wayne Macnamara and the many other servant leaders who are helping thousands of people improve their lives by building themselves and building communities of leaders. And thanks dad, for everything you have taught me, and for leading by example. I pray that I’ll have the same impact on my kids…