I believe that the greatest teachers are those that lead through example. Thank you, Dad, for teaching me these principles through consistent embodiment of so many life lessons. Here are a few:
Slow down: My dad moves slowly. He takes over an hour to eat a bowl of oatmeal every morning and drives under the speed limit in the slow-lane on the freeway. On family vacations, we always took the “scenic route.” And I think I finally get it. Through his example, I am starting to practice the lesson that the point of life is to enjoy the journey, not to rush to the destination.
Remain a student: My dad is constantly learning. He knows a lot about A LOT of topics. Horticulture, film, politics, falconry (?), you name it. He is always reading, listening, watching, and learning. Through his example, I have come to value the priceless lesson of committing to being a lifelong student. I know it to be true that the secret to fulfillment in life is to continuously learn, grow, and share.
Be curious about people: My dad LOVES people. He is always the last one to leave a party and we always know he will be late because he stayed to talk to whoever he was with. When I was a kid and my dad came home from work, he would always talk about the people that he met that day and all of the interesting things that they did (I thought it was mind-numbingly boring to listen to at the time). My dad is infinitely curious and non-judgmental. He truly wants to understand other people. Now that I am older, I realize how much this lesson has impacted my life. I have started a career focused on understanding people and how we (us humans) work. I am fascinated by what makes us do the things we do, what holds us back, and what empowers us to thrive. I am infinitely grateful for this teaching.
Understand the nature of Spirit through animals, children, and nature: For anyone who knows my dad, you know that he is the “tree-whisperer” and the “dog-whisperer.” My dad can spend hours with little kids, talking to them as he would to anyone else about their opinions and interests. His idea of the perfect day is to sit on the back porch cutting apples with an 8-year old, looking up at the trees while the dog lays at his feet. As I grow, I realize that nature, animals, and children are often our purest teachers. They guide us by example to know the nature of spirit - unconditioned, joyful, and free.
Make time for what’s important: My parents have never been confused about their priorities in life. Love and connection has always come before work and anything else.
Trust and follow your passion: My dad is an arborist and likes to joke that “money sometimes does grow on trees.” He has shown me that it is possible to make a career out of a somewhat unconventional interest when you are passionate about it and your values are aligned with your life’s work. Both of my parents have always supported and empowered me to follow my passion (however unconventional it might have been) and taught me to trust that my passions will always lead me down the path I am meant to walk down.
I love you dad. Thank you for being a beautiful example of how to live life.