Sunday is Father’s Day. Rather than marking it with declarations about why our fathers are the greatest, or how-to guides on buying Dad the best ties or tools, Yahoo News solicited first-person anecdotes about the more difficult moments or memories we have of our fathers. Here’s one reader’s story.
FIRST PERSON | The main source of conflict between myself and my dad when I was a young, entitlement addled whipper snapper was his tireless, patient, but occasionally exasperated efforts to teach me the value of hard work.
Dad’s chosen method, besides compelling the execution of household chores like mowing the lawn, was to assist him in his frequent efforts to maintain the family car. Being a frugal man, dad never bought a new car when I was young and, for the same reason, rarely if ever took it to the shop when it needed repairs. As a result many a weekend was taken up replacing water pumps, tinkering with the spark plugs, replacing something called a freeze plug, and for one summer I will never forget actually overhauling a transmission.
The problem was that much of that work was done out in Houston weather, which is either hot and sticky or wet and dreary. Another problem was that automotive repair was dirty, unpleasant work that often involved skinned knuckles and sweat. I would much rather have spent my free time reading a good book, enjoying the air conditioning.
The result was many discussions consisting of whining and complaining on my part and cajoling and threats on his.
These father/son automotive repair sessions taught me two things.
The first thing they taught me was that I never wanted to fix my own car again if I could possibly avoid it. Fortunately, I earned enough money as an adult to pay for others to do it and I have found a good garage that does excellent service and does not try to fleece people.
The second — and this was most insidious — I actually learned the value of hard work. To be sure this began to jell when I discovered that some people will pay actual money for it. Also the kind of work I have done as an adult has involved being at a desk and slaving away in air conditioned comfort.
But something must have clicked, because whether it was getting a financial system debugged or getting a story just so, I find that I will stick to the task until it is done. I’m pretty sure I lacked that kind of patience 40 odd years ago.
So, dad, thanks for doing that. Sorry I was such a jerk while you were teaching me that valuable lesson..