Tools for Life: Lessons I Learned From my Carpenter Dad

Hugging DadDad gave me many tools for life, starting with the ability to form a wide array of relationships. I credit dad for being a role model of someone who connects easily with different people from varied backgrounds in an authentic way. When I was a young child, I remember him often bringing someone home unannounced to eat lunch with us. Frequently it was a guy who had been doing construction work alongside him for the day who may or may not have had his own lunch. Other times it was a street bum who had come seeking a handout from our church where dad was employed. Rather than give itinerant strangers a cash donation, our pastor would offer to pay them after a day of work. Having no lunch, the stranger would come home with dad for a bite to eat where mom would serve him just as she would any other guest.

I cannot imagine Dad ever nervous around someone due to economical differences, class or social status. Dad has built and done custom remodeling for doctors, lawyers, interior designers, dentists and other well-off professionals. He built a stage for the President once. Dad interacted with these people the same as he would with plumbers and framers. High-ranking professionals, just like everyone else, loved Dad, asked him to return, and recommended him to their friends. Sometimes they would buy my parents tickets to attend an upscale function or fundraiser with them. Dad would wear his cowboy boots with a twenty-year-old suit coat, which is what he also wore when they asked him to play music for one of the events. Dad would pull together a group of talented young people, and they would perform oldies love songs or renditions of a western swing and bluegrass numbers. Dad’s wit and humor, coupled with his common sense and artistic skills, brought him the love and respect of our community.

Thank you, Dad, for being my role-model in connecting with a community. Your example has equipped me with the tools of showing hospitality and interacting with people of a wide array of backgrounds and experiences, an essential skill when involved in community development. Happy Father’s Day! I love you!

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