Saying that my relationship with my Dad has been stressed over the past few years would be an understatement. We both have our viewpoints on key items that impact the way we live our lives. That being said, my dad is the single most influential person from my life. He is a man that is deserving of respect and honor and a ton of love, so on this day, this “Agile Dad” is going to share a couple key points/stories about the man who made me who I am today.
Don’t wait around to have someone else do something for you – jump in
This wasn’t necessarily a quote from my dad. My dad is a funny guy when it comes to sayings and statements – he tends to not get the timing or the words down, but hey that is what makes him hilarious. Rather this is something I learned from watching my dad from an early age. My Dad is an architect, but early in his career he was still doing mostly draftsman work and didn’t have a high-paying, lucrative career. He always did more than take care of us though and the things we had were a direct result of his abilities to create. Our first house was built with his hands; it was crafted with love and a deep discipline and desire to do provide. Every nail, every board that he raised was an example of his desire to not let things just happen but drive to do it. Even our furniture was build and not just cabinets – sofas, chairs, other items – created so that we could have the things that mattered. This concept has driven me to not wait for things but to go after them, to bring people along with me, and to get things “to done.”
Failure is only true failure if you let it create fear
Ok, so I added my “agile-cryptic” take on this phrase. As with other dads (me included), we have screwed up a lot in our lives. We have made mistakes that seem to be next-to-impossible to recover from, but they only truly become failures if we let fear set in. When I was young, I watched my parents go through a pretty tough time. It was the 80’s in Michigan and the economy wasn’t the greatest. Holdover regulations from the 70’s, a shift from an industrial economic base in Michigan, and more had created a pretty tough downturn. I watched my dad struggle with making things happen, work additional jobs, use his passions, etc. to make it work but it just wasn’t happening. It was a hard decision, but he made the tough call to move to Georgia after working with a local engineering firm there. I saw the conflict in his eyes as he made a resolute decision that was on the back of failures. But this unknowing and risk didn’t stop him; he didn’t let fear overwhelm him and this example has helped me make some pretty tough decisions in my life.
Love what you do, don’t do just what you love
I remember the first time I saw a pencil sketch my dad did. It was of my mom when they were in high schools. I remember the first time I saw my dad’s absolutely breathtaking writing and calligraphy. I remember the first piece of furniture that my dad created. He is an artist. And he used his artistry in his work rather than making this love for art his work. Let me dive deeper in. Being an architect and a builder he is able to use the things he loves in different aspects of the work his does – from the artistry of architecture to the beauty in sometimes monotonous. But there are other aspects to his work and his job that he does because he knows it is the right thing to do and that they have to get done in order to do the best for the client and for himself and for his company. This rigor and discipline for doing the hard tasks, for taking on the things that aren’t “pretty,” is what truly made him a great example. There are times where the things that make my job happen just plain suck, but in those times I look back on the legacy that was created by my dad and know that in order to do what I love, I have to do things that make what I love possible.
There are so many other aspects of my dad that I could call out here. His love for Jesus, his undying and utterly protective love and affection for my mom, his insane intellect, his love of history and living it, his ability to create with his hands, they way he has never, ever been afraid to get down in the trenches and not just tell people what to do but to do it with them. Overall, he is simply a great man. I love you dad. And Happy Father’s Day out there to all the dads that make us who we are!