A delightful lady named Belinda called from California a few days ago to tell me that last week’s blog – #25, Of course we will – brought tears to her eyes.
She said that the story of the attitude of Calgarians responding to devastating flood damage reminded her of the stoicism with which her father had lived his entire life.
She lost her dad last Fall when a heart attack claimed him – at age 89 – while he was in his backyard chopping wood, having spent the day volunteering to help those whose lives had been upended by Hurricane Sandy. Belinda said that anyone who knew her dad would not have been surprised to learn that he died while busy doing something because he spent very little time during his life doing nothing.
She told me that her dad was a man who instilled in her and her two brothers values that, in her words, “all the formal education in the world cannot teach.” She said her dad lived by the credo of never quitting until the job was done no matter how tough the task at hand, no matter how extreme the adversity, no matter how painful the wound, and no matter how fierce the competition.
She said there is an old saying that summed up her dad’s determination to succeed no matter what, and that quote was expressed by her brother eloquently during his delivery of the eulogy at her dad’s funeral.
Her brother reminded all those present that, “It is never the size of the dog in the fight, it’s always the size of the fight in the dog.” Her dad epitomized that quote.
Her dad’s life was not an easy one. In his early years a saw-mill accident ensured that pain would become a life-long companion but didn’t slow him down for one moment.
If there was a task to be done, he did it.
The Habit if Doing It Until…
There were many times that it was obvious to all her dad was in extreme pain. She never once heard him mention it.
Over the course of his lifetime he single-handedly built three homes for his family. By day he worked as a laborer and by night he was a homebuilder building a palace for his family to live in.
He “hammered every nail, sawed every piece of wood, laid every brick and every roof tile” for the first house. Three years after the family moved in, the house burned to the ground.
Her dad was away on a job at the time and when reached by phone and told of the tragedy his response was, “I will be home tomorrow and we will start rebuilding then.”
The second house was a repeat of the first with Dad doing most of the work and her brothers doing the rest.
And 9 or 10 years later when arthritis robbed her mother of her mobility, her father lovingly gutted the interior of the house and rebuilt it with extra-wide hallways, wide doors and ramps going everywhere in order to make it is as accessible as possible for her mother.
Belinda told me that no matter what curve was thrown in her dad’s path he just put his head down, went to work and stayed with the task until it was done.
In his 50s when he was told by his employer that he lacked the education for advancement in the company, he went back to school to obtain his high school diploma and then went on to acquire a university degree all the while holding down a second job in order to pay for his tuition.
And once again, the Habit of Doing It Until … got him that promotion he coveted.
In her dad’s world there was no such thing as too high a price when one wanted a dream fulfilled.
I was flattered and humbled when Belinda told me her dad would have loved my blogs particularly, the last two that dealt with the Habit of Doing It Until… She laughingly said that last week’s posting was not simply a blog about never quitting until things are done and never giving up under any circumstances, it was her dad’s biography.
She ended the conversation by saying that every day she and her brothers, along with their own families, aspire to live up to the values dad instilled in them and the world lost a great hero the day he died last November.
We can all learn so much from the lessons taught by that uneducated man. I sure wish I’d had a chance to meet him
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.
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