What a strange thing to say right? Me, who has been educated beyond the third grade, I have multiple certificates and by all account would be considered well-educated. (Even though I struggle with some things I am working on) Why on earth would I look up to a third grade drop out?
This particular third grade drop out was in third grade three times. Failed because he broke his writing arm one year. Failed the next because he broke his other arm. The final time in grade three he dropped out and went to work. An eleven year old boy digging ditches to put food on the table and a roof over his families head. This eleven year old became a man, became the sole money earner for 8 people.
This drop out loved to read and would read anything he could get his hands on. He worked hard all his life. He dug ditches, cleaned out sewers, drove heavy equipment, learned to repair heavy equipment, started his own logging business. Married and raised 7 children, including one adoption and cared for many foster children over the years.
This man was strong, wise, and always ready to lend a helping hand. He loved people, loved to talk with people, loved to hear their stories and always lifted them up before he left. He always did his best to make a wrong right. He overcame alcoholism, he overcame abuse, he overcame hardship and starvation. This man’s life experiences were vast and hard. He still rose above it, learned from it and always worked on making himself a better man, a better husband, and a better father and friend. He is an inspiration to all who met him. I never met a person over the years who knew him say anything bad, always pleasant memories and stories of how he made their lives better.
Anytime I needed help he was always there with the best support and advice. He would ponder what your predicament was, then gave you a couple of choices. He always let you know how he saw those choices would work out. From there he allowed me to make my own choice, no matter my choice, no matter if he thought it was right or wrong, he always backed me up. Always loved me even when I really messed things up. He said that it is when we mess things up is when we find out what kind of person we truly are. If we make it right, if we do all we can to swallow our pride and make amends that is the lessons we must learn to become stronger. He taught me to never carry the past into the future with me. Let the past be a distant memory and never let it control your future. By watching how he loved my mother I learned how love should be, how fighting to work it out should be. How to forgive each other and how to always see the person inside and never see them in a superficial way.
When I was taking my college exams he decided to take a placement test. He just wanted to see if he was still at grade 3 level. Turns out he was a 4 th year engineer level. He had the life experience and read his way to such a high education that he still succeeded without stepping foot into University.
My father was is the man I compare all men to. This is a tall order follow, but I don’t need a degree, I don’t need a beautiful face, I don’t need fancy cars or trucks or anything materialistic. I want the love my father showed, I want a man who when he see his faults does everything in his power to change for the better. Quit drinking or quit drugs or become more patient. To have courage to make amends, to make a better choice and learn from his mistakes. To always work hard at any job he has, as long as he takes pride in his work and never gives up. I don’t care if he cleans out sewers, he does it for me, and the family and holds his head up high. That is a great man.
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss my father. Not a day that I wish I could share my day with him. I want to hear his voice, his laugh, to feel his bear hugs and see into his eyes one more time. To ask his advice just once more.
I try to honour my father by living like he did. by always improving on myself, by becoming stronger and more caring. I try to treat people with love and respect, even when it’s hard. I try to read everything I can to improve my mind and learn from others. I try to make wise choices, and to lend a helping hand where ever I can. I try to raise my child with love, understanding and open honesty. I try to not judge people, not at all, not how they look, or talk, or choices they made or religion or anything superficial.
A third grade drop out is my biggest inspiration, my biggest fan, my best friend, and my father.