I came late into my father's life (he was 42 when I was born) and he was forced into coping with a teenager during his middle fifties. He never really complained, though I wasn't always an easy girl to raise.
Daddy never lectured. He didn't moralize. He wasn't a preacher. He never said these things to me, but looking back and remembering, here are some of the things his life taught me:
- Live an honorable life; don't lie, cheat or steal and most of all, no matter how hard it may be, honor the major life commitments you make.
- Treat people the way you, yourself want to be treated; don't gossip, don't hold grudges, be friendly.
- Take care of your family. You don't have to be rich but you do have work and support those you love in the best way you can.
- Be kind to animals, even if you don't always like them. They depend on you and need you to make their lives tolerable.
- Read: books, magazines, newspapers, fiction, non-fiction, short stories. Reading helps soothe you, as well as keep you informed.
- Write. Daddy wrote reviews and small historical essays. He read train and civil war books and he wrote reviews of them. His writing was his artistic outlet.
- It's okay not to be a physical person or to know how to do physical things. Reading and writing make up for not leading a very physical life and not being able to repair things around the house.
- Enjoy travel and do as much as you can afford. See new sights and open yourself to the experience. Don't be afraid of new places and new things.
- Attend church, honor God, but don't use religion to beat others up.
- Make your bed every day; it will help you organize your life.
I believe he loved me without exceptions and without qualifications. That love has sustained me all my life.