Happy Father's Day to all fathers, grandfathers, and fathers-to-be! I wished my father a happy father's day via Skype today as he lives in Austria. My father is Austrian, speaks multiple languages, and has worked hard his whole life. He's been in retirement for a while now and is happy to travel, relax, sleep, eat, paint, write, read, and spend time with friends and family. I've learned a lot from my father and continue to learn from him but here are three important lessons I learned from my dad!
1. Explore: My dad loves to explore nature. He has a passion for plants and animals and knows the scientific name for just about everything. As a child, we would pile into the car and drive into the countryside. My dad would park us next to a sprawling forest with no apparent entrance and would lead us on a hunt for berries and chanterelles. We also loved to travel, visit castles, explore museums, and just be out and about. This is such an important part of who I am and who I continue to be as I love to explore and discover new things, new places, new foods, and new experiences. This is also vitally important for the classroom experience.
2. Listen: When I was in college, I remember talking a mile a minute. My dad would just smile and watch me talk for ages. I thought my dad was so quiet and I wondered why he didn't speak much. However, when he did speak, it felt like pearls of wisdom would fall from his lips. "Listen more than you speak. You'll learn more that way." As the years have passed, I've moved from speaking quickly and a lot like my mother, to speaking less and listening more like my father. He was right. I've learned so much just by listening to my colleagues, students, and those I hold so dear to my heart. I also listen to many books on tape now, which allows me to hear so many people's perspectives on various topics of interest. I feel like I'm becoming a better friend, a better teacher, and a better wife by taking the time to really listen.
3. Be kind: This is such a needed rule that should be enforced everywhere. Be kind to all those you encounter. It doesn't matter their role, their background, their experience - just be kind. In fact, everyone is fighting their own battles and deserves kindness in their lives. I also much prefer being kind to just being nice. Nice feels like a surface level version of being kind. Imagine a world where all were kind to one another, and actually cared about others in a positive and supportive way. Imagine how much happier our world would be if everyone were kind.
I love you, Vatilein! Happy Father's Day to you!
So, I encourage you to explore, listen, and be kind!