I would like to share with you something that my dad taught me when I was just seventeen years old. He recently passed away and as I struggle with the grief of his passing I find comfort in sharing the many lessons that he passed onto me. Overwhelmed at the time, I had forgotten to share this at his service so I thought I would take this opportunity to share it with you. He was a man of very few words but as I raise my children I appreciate his teaching style more and more. In retrospect, this is by far my favorite story.
My first car was a 1972 used, red Volkswagen bug. It was the early 1980’s when I was allowed to take my first road trip alone to visit a friend. I was running late as usual as my mother followed me around with her verbal check list… money for tolls, directions and to call when I arrived. This was of course long before cell phones and EZ Pass. Excited about my first solo trip, I started up my car and rolled a short distance before I felt the flat tire. I wasn’t as upset as I could be knowing my dad was there to change the tire for me. When I asked him to change the tire he immediately started questioning me as to what I would do if this happened on the road. Who would change it for me then? At that moment he told me he would not change my tire and that I would have to do it myself. He said he would only talk me through the process. As you could imagine I was not happy with this arrangement.
After a while, I finally got the spare on and was ready to go. That is when he broke the news to me. He had purposely let the air out of my tire!!! As you can imagine I was furious! Now, I was filthy, sweaty and even later than I was to begin with! I don’t think I spoke to him for a week after that.
His lesson, although extremely exasperating at the time, was brilliant. What he gave me that day was a piece of independence I still carry with me today. He taught me the importance of being able to rely on myself when the unexpected happens. I think if he tried to teach me without the urgency of my trip the lesson would not have had the same impact. I must admit that as mad as I was at the time, I was secretly proud of my accomplishment.
Many years have passed since that day in front of my house but his message is as clear as yesterday. That moment showed me how I viewed myself at the time and how it changed how I tackle obstacles still today. That was a pivotal moment for me. I learned the value of my personal power and the importance of being able to take care of myself no matter the situation.
Since that day I have changed four tires. Three for other women and one when I was alone with my kids.
Every time I pass a person changing their tire I can’t help but smile thinking about my dad.
He never wanted me to be the damsel in distress and for that he will always be my hero.
~ Thanks Dad and may you rest in peace. I Love You!