The right way to handle things, the wrong way to handle things, and my least favorite of them all: The “I don’t know–you tell me” way to handle things.
If I compiled a list of all the things I’ve learned from my father, I’m certain it would have no end. My dad is totally blue collar, capable of what most think is impossible. He sports the same pearl snap shirts he debuted in the 1980’s and would probably still be wearing the matching Wranglers he rocked to his pastime college rodeos had he not gained an extra 40 pounds. He is the hardest working individual I’ve ever known, and I must add, he loves every second of it. My Dad, Richard Dale, is a third generation, educated Cattleman who is cognitively saturated with knowledge that the average human being would without a doubt have to revert to a Google search in order to out smart. Through the countless conversations we’ve had, he has taught me the right way to handle things and the wrong way to handle things. Out of all the responses my father has given me when I’ve wanted point blank answers, the most frustrating has to be, “Son, I can’t tell you what you should do because you already know.” It has taken me years to fully grasp his rationale for answering me in this way, but I’ve come to the conclusion we all have the answers; it simply comes down to choosing the best one.
Don’t be distracted by what you can’t do, rather capitalize on what you can do.
This is a concept we have all been exposed to from one source or another, but it took me witnessing this from my own father to really digest its entirety. Respect is the catalyst that really resulted in my learning so much. My dad is the victim of a rare degenerative eye disease that affects the retina, and in his case it resulted in complete blindness. I saw the process unfold throughout my childhood. He went from being completely capable of performing the duties of any farming dad, such as driving me to soccer practice, 4-H livestock shows and church, to being completely dependent on a red and white cane to maneuver his daily journey. I say all of these things not with hopes of pity for my dad, but rather to illustrate the magnitude of his impact on my life.
I find that millennials, myself included, struggle with making concrete or confident choices and those of my father’s generation, not so much. We tend to label baby boomers as laggards and even stubborn at times. Although this may be factual to some extent, the truth of it all is I find myself being impulsive, disregarding the importance in pondering on the choices I make. If I’ve gleaned one extremely important thing from my Dad it’s this: Think not about the impact your choices will have on you today or even this year, rather make choices based on the facts and how they will influence the journey of your entire life.
Strengths and Weaknesses–They’re one in the same
Throughout the first quarter-century of my life, my father has instilled one dominant ideology in my personal journey for success: There is no substitute for hard work. Although he advocates efficiency in the workplace, he made it very clear there is a difference between efficiency and laziness. I wouldn’t necessarily label him as a minimalist; however he does run a close parallel with the concept of frugality. Considering the fact that he has completely lost his eyesight, myself and many others have learned to work in a way that faces our weaknesses head on to accomplish relative tasks. Dad cannot see to operate calculators or computer software programs that project commodity yields eight and ten months in advance, but he can tell you every component to such tools that give you the end results. He can tell you what corn and soybeans are trading for this week and ultimately give you a ridiculously accurate forecast such commodity prices will have on the global beef industry. He has mastered what many Fortune 500 companies pay big bucks to do: Converting internal weaknesses into internal strengths.
When in doubt, crack a joke.
Showmanship was something my dad always excelled at. There have been countless instances where my dad has held the attention of entire crowds, talking about current or future trends in the cattle business and not a soul even know he couldn’t physically see a thing. The fact of the matter is Ricky Dale is a matter of fact person with an enormous sense of humor.
My dad has a larger than life personality, and a sense of humor even larger than that. I must admit, these qualities are extremely evident in the way I exercise my life, but I think he still has me beat when it comes to jokes off the cuff. In my opinion a lot of people have lost sight of the importance in a good laugh, or even how necessary it is to engage in casual conversations with peers as well as respective stakeholders. Don’t get me wrong, the need for serious and even sometimes monotonous conversation will always exist, but let’s not forget that we’re all human.
Father’s Day & The First Day of Summer
As Father’s Day grows near I encourage everyone to reflect back on a few of the things you learned from your Dad or even Grandfather. Even if your relationship with your dad was not a great one, think of the things you learned from the situation. If you’ve lost your dad, never forget you have the memories to reflect upon and gather strength from and even possibly share with someone who is in your same situation. If you still have the opportunity to spend the day with your father, bring a friend who can’t do the same. Simply use the day to reflect on past experiences and talk about the things you’ve learned or even ask the questions you always wanted to know. I hope we will all make the best of the Father’s Day, and I guarantee you have learned more from your Dad than you realize.
– Written by Dakota Dale