Monday, 11 July 2016

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today it is my dad's birthday and I would like to honor him by sharing some of the great things he has taught me. I would not be the same person without him!

Thank you dad, I love you! <3

Dad visiting me in Australia

Honesty is most important
There is no one in the world I trust as much as my dad. He always tells me the truth, because he has nothing to hide. He lives a life true to himself. Anyone who does that, has no need to be dishonest. There is nothing to gain from it. This is the type of person I also try to be in every moment. It is my main priority, because I have experienced the benefits of this way of life too. It is not even about other people; it is mostly about being honest with myself. After all, I am the one who has to live with the things that I say and do. Being honest just makes life so much easier.

The importance of backing up words with actions
I can give many examples of things my dad has done that show that he favors actions over merely words, especially when it comes to the things that are important to him. This does not just apply to big decisions, but also to small, everyday actions. He is a man you can count on. He is there when people need him and he gives the best advice. He keeps his promises and lives his life according to his values as best as he can at all times. When he realizes that something goes against his values, he simply stops doing  it. Actions are the foundations of words; not the other way around. I realize now how rare (and valuable) this quality is, and I am always grateful when I meet other people like this.
Dad has often reminded me of the importance of actions, for example whenever he noticed that my actions didn't match my words or when some of my actions were not in line with my values. He has done so all my life and he still does so if necessary, so I've had a lifetime of practice. In this way, my dad has taught me to be mindful, reflective and to take responsibility for my words and actions: to live life with integrity (and true to myself).

If you want something and it doesn’t exist yet (or it is not allowed); create it.
My dad was always fascinated by cars and of course he wanted his own. But he was only a little boy, so he did not have the money to buy one and he didn't even have a driver's license. So he built his own car, with the help of his father, when he was 6 years old. It was made from some leftover car parts and had an electrical motor. He kept refining it and perfecting it until he was about 16. When he was 12 he made his first car with a petrol-driven motor. So my dad had a lot of driving experience when he was finally legally allowed to drive (at age 18).

My dad's first self-built electric car! In this picture he was around 7 or 8

Never give up on your dreams; if you want it, you can achieve it
It is almost like my dad never has any doubts when I share my dreams with him. Sometimes of course he has some concerns or tips regarding practicalities, but he believes in the power of will. If you really want something and if the goal is worthwhile and meaningful, then you will achieve it; there is just no question. That is how my dad also lives his life. He never doubted any of his dreams, and he achieved them all, despite what anyone else thought. I guess it also helps that my dad knows how to keep it simple. He knows that he doesn't need much to be happy. His main dream was to own a small company and run a business making something useful. He achieved this goal in his early forties, even though it was a tough road.
Nobody else believed that he could ever make it: his teachers had given up on him very early on because he was more interested in the occasional fly that landed on his desk than what the teacher was saying. His parents also weren't sure he would ever amount to anything because he was doing so poorly at school. They made him change schools six times, but to no avail. Dad just didn't care much for traditional ways of learning. He has a gift for technical work though, and building things from scratch. Dad knew this all along - which is why he never worried about his future. He knew he would be okay. After all, he was already the proud owner of a car at the tender age of 6. Not many people can make such a claim.

The first car he didn't build himself: A Triumph Herald

Don’t be afraid to work hard for something you really want – and don’t lose sight of what is important in the process
My dad is retired now, but he has always been a hard worker. He never worked for the money, but simply because he enjoys the process of creating things. He worked as a dental technician for all his life. He never counted his hours and often worked 16 hours a day (sometimes more); often with some additional hours on the weekends. He never requested any extra pay for overtime (and never got any), because money was not his main priority.
The extra hours were often necessary due to problems with other staff (prolonged sickness; holidays) while the workload remained the same. My dad is a pragmatic and reliable person so he would always make sure that the work got done; finishing one thing at a time. Of course he got the position of manager soon enough and took over the business several years later. All the while he kept working long hours; making sure that everyone else could always go home in time. And he never complained about it.

The importance of giving
My dad never wanted much for himself. He is happy living a simple life and appreciates the little things. He doesn’t need a lot of stuff and would rather give to others than get a lot of stuff for himself. He was like that even as a little boy. When he was young (around seven years old) he won a competition and he got to choose between several prizes. He chose a sewing kit. Everybody laughed at him because it was a 'girly' choice and his classmates (as well as the teacher) made fun of him for weeks. However, the reason he chose it was because his sister was ill at the time and he was hoping that giving her an unexpected gift might cheer her up.

Having fun watching mum when she is politely declining
the offers of overzealous sales-people

Stand up for what you believe in
My dad is a man of principle. He would never do anything if he didn’t support it on some level, and he expects the same from others. He is not afraid to say no, but he only says it when something goes against his values. If not, then he is always ready to help anyone who may need it.
When my dad was 24 years old, he had to go into the army (it was compulsory at the time). It was a place he had no intention of going to because he does not believe in war, but there were only a few ways to get out of it: one was to get married, one to get imprisoned and the final one was failing the physical or mental tests. Even though my mum and dad were already dating at the time, they decided they wanted to get married for the right reasons and at a time that felt right for them. So my dad went for the final option.
He still gave the army a try for one week, but after that he was extremely certain he wanted nothing to do with it. He stopped eating and started feigning other psychological symptoms. He was relieved from his duties immediately and put under investigation. After three months of thorough investigations and examinations (and losing too much weight due to the ongoing self-starvation), he was free to go. During the process of investigations he was coached by his brother (a psychologist), who gave him useful tips on how to respond to the inquisitions. After he was 'released', he got a permanent mark on his records of his 'disability' and he was warned by government officials that he would never get another job with this. My dad took the chance anyway.
Of course nobody ever cared about it afterwards and the subject was never brought up again (even though it is still on his records to this day). I am very proud of my dad for taking a stand against the army despite the threats and pressure to comply, and for not caring about what others would think or what the consequences would be. Freedom is worth fighting for; borders are not! 

Stand by your own side
You can stand strong by yourself; you don’t need others on your side to stand stronger. If you know how to support yourself no matter what, you will be invincible.
I remember an event that happened when I was very young (perhaps around 6 or 7 years old). I was buying second-hand horse magazines from another child, and we were trying to get to a deal. I was telling her how much I wanted to spend, and the girl said how much she was expecting to get; the typical bargaining one learns early on. Of course we did not entirely agree and the girl quickly asked her mum. Mum got involved and gave some advice on pricing. I still did not agree. The girl kept checking with her mum and eventually we reached an agreement. Afterwards I asked my dad why he didn’t get involved to support me. And he said that he was so proud of me that I didn’t ask his help. He said that I was in a much stronger position because I did not show any doubt and merely expressed my own wishes and beliefs, without involving anyone else. That was a much stronger argument than that of the other girl. He did not want to interfere and ruin that. Even though it was a small incident, it was a defining moment in my life, because my dad gave me a completely different perspective on the situation, which taught me self-respect.
My dad has always believed in me, especially at times when I did not believe in myself (or anything else) anymore. He has always reminded me (and he still does) of my worth and my talents, and the difference I can make in the world. We all have this ability to make a difference. None of us is more special or more talented than another; we just have different kinds of talents. That is the main reason why it is so important to find your passion. Passion is what can - and does!- change the world!

My dad's new-and-improved car (fuel-driven) when he was about 14

Never lose your sense of humor
My dad makes the best jokes in the world, because they are always clever and never mean or cheap (they don't involve bringing down people, subgroups or any other form of life). They are mostly situational, or puns. He is really funny and it is catchy. When I am with my dad, he brings out the best in me and we have the best of times.
Dad has never lost his sense of humor, throughout his life. Even when he was in hospital after suffering a brain aneurysm and we all thought he was going to die, he was still making people around him laugh and changing the hospital into a more cheerful place. Sometimes I take life too seriously, but when I talk to my dad, I am reminded that life is better with a sense of humor. It puts everything in perspective.

Laughing at dad's funny comments. Pure joy! :D

Loyalty and standing up for others (justice)
My dad is a loyal friend who will always have your back and stick up for people when necessary. When my dad started working at 18 or 19 years old, his boss was complaining to all the employees that it was all so expensive. He was paying for the employees to get their training and then they were also requesting a pay rise (minimum wage had just gone up).
This made my dad angry because the boss was a wealthy man who should really not complain about such matters to his staff, so my dad decided to make a statement. He requested a talk with his boss in his office and said that he didn't want the raise if the boss was going to complain about it to everyone and blame his staff members, because my dad had never personally asked for it in the first place. The boss then admitted that that was not possible, because the government forced him to pay this amount. Dad told him that he shouldn't be complaining about it then, and left the office to get back to work.

Dad taught me to be respectful of others, because you never know their full story, even if you think they told you. You can never know people's intentions, or their hopes and dreams, because you are not them. But there is one thing that unites all of us: We all want freedom, happiness and we want to matter. We want to be acknowledged and respected as human beings. We want to belong. And if we keep this in mind, the world is a very friendly place indeed.

There are always inspiring people around us and we can learn from all of them. My dad has always been my hero, and I have discovered many other inspiring people who have taught me various things as well. Different people can teach you different skills and perspectives, and we can take bits and pieces from everyone we meet and combine them to build up our own perfect self; in line with our personal truths, beliefs and values.

May you find inspiration in your fellow beings!

Let me know in the comments who has inspired you and what you learned!

Show Comments: OR

No comments:

Post a Comment