10 Nov 10-19-16 Two Lessons Learned from My Parents
I thought I’d share two stories from when I was growing up. Both of the stories involve lessons my Mom and Dad taught me a long time ago, but they still stick with me to this day. The funny thing is that as important as these two stories are to me, I doubt either one of them would remember them.
My first one was in 9th grade and is really from my mom. My dad woke me up before school one morning and asked me if I wanted to go hunting with him. Dad said we could go for just the morning. I was never allowed to skip school, so even though it was a cold November morning in Pennsylvania, it was still better than going to school. So we went hunting and had a great time. We got back and I showered and got ready for school. Mom was going to take me to school while dad went to work. I remember standing at the dining room table watching my mom write my excuse for school. She wrote “Please excuse Erik from school this morning, he was hunting with his dad.” I told mom I couldn’t take that excuse to school. I asked her if she could just say I was sick. She told me “that would be lying, Erik.” So, I took that excuse and handed it, with a shaky hand, to Mr. Rebick, the principle, scared that he was going to yell at me. He read it and said to me, “Sometimes you end up getting in a little bit of trouble for telling the truth, but remember, it’s the right thing to do. Your mom did the right thing.” All I ended up getting was an unexcused absence, a pat on the back from Mr. Rebick, and a life-long lesson about telling the truth.
My second story is from my dad. When I was growing up, Dad did not like power tools. If we had to cut down a tree, we had to cut everything by hand. He would not use, nor would he let us use, a chain saw. It was with an ax and a bow saw. It took forever to cut firewood. If we had to split the logs, it was with a maul, a wedge, and a sledge hammer, no hydraulic log splitter for us. If we were building anything out of wood, it was hand nails (no nail gun) and a hand saw to cut the wood (no circular saw).
One day, he came home from the hardware store. We were eating lunch and he told me he had a gift for me. It was a magic wand. He said when you wave it around, money comes out. I told him he was kidding me. He said he wasn’t, that he really had a magic wand. I was pretty excited about this magic wand and couldn’t wait until lunch was over to see this cool toy. We went to the car and he pulled out something that had a wooden handle with a metal rod coming out of the handle. At the end, it turned 90 degrees, and there was a long serrated edge. It was pretty much shaped like a golf club, but instead of the golf club head, this serrated edge was there. I said, “What’s this?” Dad said it was the magic wand. When you swing it to cut down weeds, you make money. He didn’t lie to me, I just pictured a different kind of magic wand. My view of a magic wand was it just makes money. Dad’s view of a magic wand was that you work and then you get the money.
So my life-long lessons from these two stories? First, was to tell the truth. Second, was realizing you have to work hard for money. Both lessons have served me well.