5 Lessons My Father Taught Me

1. Look it up!
2. Do it yourself!
3. Work hard!
4. Be curious!
5. Challenge yourself!

1)There were books, encyclopedias, and dictionaries in my house growing up. When I or my sisters had a question, we were told to first look it up and then tell my father what we had learned.  With the internet today, answers are usually found online, but people have to sift through to find the precise answers or information they are looking for.

2)At an early age, we learned to do things ourselves and to learn from our mistakes.

3)Hard work was a given in our household. My father was probably the best role model for hard work.  Even in his 60s and 70s, he was building house additions, and making cross country trips to visit his brothers and sister in Massachusetts.  And he was still taking college classes for fun.

4)My father valued education and travel and was curious about other countries, cultures and peoples. That was instilled in me early in life.  It came as no surprise then that I was a Fulbright Teacher in Germany twice and brought my children along to learn another language and culture.  As a student in Heidelberg, my father had many questions for me about places I had been to in Europe, Scandinavia and Africa.

5)We were constantly taught to challenge ourselves in life. Never give up but persevere.  A job well done would be the reward for the hard work.  Whether it was practicing piano, playing the organ at church, singing in the choir or doing 4-H projects every summer, we learned to value all  challenges.

Both my parents lived through the Depression era. They lived a modest lifestyle by today’s standards. We had one car, one phone, one television set and the phone was a party line which meant we shared with a neighbor.  My father’s father was killed felling trees when my father was 10 years old and the eldest of 6 surviving children.  His mother was suddenly confronted with the task of working for and feeding all the children.  She cleaned houses and did laundry for others.  I heard many tales from my father and his brothers about how they helped out earning some money.  Older appearing than his age of 15, my father started boxing to make some extra money and then sold his prizes to help support the family. My Uncle Joe dropped out of school to start factory work when he was 16 to support the family.  My father worked hard in school and got a football scholarship to Boston University.  Faced with knee injuries, he convinced the school to let him keep his scholarship and finish college.  He did and graduated in 3 1/2 years and often said he just ate bread and drank water.  Today’s young people might not fully grasp why anyone would willingly do this.  My father’s thirst for knowledge was instilled in all of us. He helped his siblings earn their college degrees as well.  Education was highly valued.

Dad and I0001

During my teaching career, I applied all these lessons. My parents met and married in Boston the same day my father graduated from Boston University on June 7, 1941.  My mother worked as an RN in Massachusetts.

On visits to Colorado, I watched my father tell the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts who rang the doorbell that they could gather whatever apples lay on the ground or take  scrap wood he had left over from his many woodworking projects in his backyard studio.  The boys would then run into our backyard to collect these treasures.  He was a generous, kind and loving man.  We girls could take scrap pieces of wood and “build” tables and chairs for our dolls.  Our furniture was wobbly, but we were proud of our hand-made items.  These important life lessons remain with me and my family.  Thank you, Dad.  Thank you too, Mom.  The best parents a child could ever hope to have.





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34 Responses to 5 Lessons My Father Taught Me

  1. These pictures are glorious. Wonderfully evocative post.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Bun Karyudo says:

    Your father must have been a remarkable man. His childhood sounds like a very tough one and his later successes very largely the results of his own hard work. I liked that he was so kind to the neighborhood children too. Generosity is a very appealing quality in anyone. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • To me he was a most remarkable man and role model. Very gentle and loving nature. I recall he would teach foreign students at the local college how to drive so they could get a license. One young man from Africa would say “yes, Dad or father” to him because he said my father reminded him of his own father. We frequently had foreign guests at our house and an exchange student one semester. I learned the value of hard work and sticking to tasks and doing the best job possible. When students used to give me excuses for not having homework done, my response was always the same in both German and in English: each person has 24 hours per day; where there’s a will, there’s a way. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bun Karyudo says:

        That was kind of him to help the students get a license. You were lucky to have such a nice father. I was also lucky with the parents I had. I’ve learned from reading other blogs that selfish, neglectful and abusive parents are not as uncommon as one would hope.

        Liked by 2 people

      • My father always tried to help others whether they were foreign students or someone who needed assistance. He donated many of his smaller woodworking projects to senior groups all around Pueblo. He inscribed everything with his name, year he made it, the type of wood and the stain he used. I know I was lucky to have such loving, supportive and nurturing parents. When I read of neglectful homes, I say a silent prayer for the victims. I am glad you also were lucky with your parents. What a difference it makes in the world. Thank you for the comment and happy blogging to you. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Bun Karyudo says:

        It does make a huge difference! I hope you have a wonderful week. 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

      • And that difference makes the world a better place. I plant the seeds one at a time and hope for a more tolerant global society. You as well, have a great and productive week. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Annika Perry says:

    Mary Ann, you paint such a wonderful vivid image of your father – what a kind generous wise man, so hardworking and a never ending thirst for knowledge. This is a moving and passionate tribute; your father would be so proud.

    Liked by 4 people

    • You have captured the essence of my father so well in your insightful comment, Annika. I do appreciate it very much. There is definitely passion in my writing. How astute of you! Enjoy your writing journey and the weekend. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. voulaah says:

    Love your post
    thank you for sharing

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hello, dear maryanna – thank you for coming visiting my blo – I suppose your father would be astonished to be – in your blog – but so generous from you to share with us ! – amitiés de France 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Arno Bode,cologne,Germany says:

    Liebe Mary Ann,
    für die Ausführung wie liebevoll Du Deinen Vater beschreibst und welche Achtung und Anerkennung Du Deinem Elternhaus zuteil werden läßt spreche ich Dir meinen großen Respekt aus.Du findest in Deinen Beschreibungen liebevolle Formulierungen und Worte ,die die
    Dankbarkeit für Deine Eltern und Ihre Leistung zum Ausdruck bringen.Bewunderung und Dankbarkeit können wir unseren Eltern uneingeschränkt aussprechen.Sie haben für uns den Grundstein für ein erfolgreiches Leben gelegt.Das Glück und die Aufopferung unserer Eltern,die uns zuteil wurden um unser Leben erfolgreich zu gestalten scheinen wenn man in heutiger Zeit Tv-Berichte sieht oder Nachrichten liest schon etwas ganz Besonderes gewesen zu sein.Für eine Unterstützung unsere Eltern wie sie aus Deiner Berichterstattung hervor geht ,kann man Gott nur danken.Bewundernswert wie Du Deine Eltern verehrst ,und diese Verehrung verbal zum Ausdruck bringst.
    Liebe Grüße
    Dein Arno

    Liked by 2 people

    • Arno, I am humbled by your kind words. We are the lucky ones to have had loving, supportive parents when so many in our world do not. My words come from the heart just as you speak you words. Gratitude needs to be expressed more often, I think. And thank you again so much for your astute and thoughtful comment. Have a wonderful week ahead. As always, Mary Ann 🙂


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  9. Pola says:

    I wish I had such a wise and caring father like you Mary Ann 🙂 I especially like his attitude towards education.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. GP Cox says:

    That generation made the best parents we could ever ask for!! My father had the same lessons, plus (off the top of my head), think twice before saying the words Love and Hate; there are always at least 2 sides to every story, and ; if you think about it – there’s an answer to any problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wonderful piece of advice. I agree with you as well as the best generation making the best parents. We had a loving family household and had discipline which was borne out of love. Walk in someone else’s shoes or moccasins. Listen and think before opening your mouth. And they had manners which we learned. Thank you for such an insightful comment. ^__^.

      Liked by 1 person

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