…piece by piece, he collected me up
Off the ground, where you abandoned things and
Piece by piece he filled the holes that you burned in me…
I heard this song the other day and thought of the many times my dad has picked me up, brushed me off, and set me on the right path again. Whether it was a bully in high school, my own insecurities, or grieving through the loss of my mom (his wife), he was there. He is there.
He has blessed us with many lessons. As I reflect on those lessons, two rise to the top: value others and expect to be valued by others.
Value everyone’s journey.
Just after my freshman year of college, my dad and I were in the car together when we spotted one of my high school teachers driving down the road. I commented to my dad that I was surprised that she drove such and old car and that my car was much nicer. He reprimanded me for making such a superficial observation. In my memory, it went something like this:
“That’s disappointing, Ally. Who are you to judge someone for the car they drive? You don’t know what they have been through. You don’t know the struggles they have, or what their priorities are. And, not to mention that I am providing you with your car. Grow up.”
My dad taught me to not judge others, to look deeper for their strengths and contributions to the world. He taught me that we need all kinds of people to make the world go round. Everyone’s journey has ups and downs, including our own.
What a gift.
Because of this lesson, I try to appreciate everyone’s role in the world. Rather than judging people for the path or the career they choose, my dad taught me to value their journey.
Don’t be intimidated by anyone. Expect to be valued by others.
I think this one can be at least partially attributed to the fact that a former POTUS was a family friend. My grandpa, my dad’s dad, went to high school with Gerald R. Ford and they were lifelong friends–my grandpa and grandma even spent a Thanksgiving at the White House. I suppose that once you are friends with a POTUS, you feel like you can be friends with anyone.
Even more than that, my dad taught me that deep down, everyone is the same. Just like how he taught me to respect, admire, and value people who might be less fortunate or choosing a different path than us, he taught me to expect to be valued by people who might be more ‘fortunate’.
What a gift.
I am not afraid of people who are smarter than me, richer than me, who are famous, who are better looking, etc. My dad taught me that I can add value to anyone’s life. We all can. If someone fails to see that…well, that is their loss.
Thank you dad, for these gifts and for all of the other lessons you taught us throughout the years.
I thought today would be a great day to tell you how amazing you are.
I love you.
He didn’t tell me how to live;
he lived, and let me watch him do it.
~Clarence Budington Kelland