My Dad, My Teacher | Author: Dr. Sandi M. Smith

I have had a teacher who published a dozen books.

I have had a teacher who speaks 12 languages fluently.

I have had a teacher with two Ph.D.s and a J.D.

I have had a teacher who had been a President of a University.

I have had a teacher who had been awarded a Nobel Prize.

Yet, the most influential teacher in my life was my Dad.

My Dad taught me how to tie my shoes, how to wire a receptacle, and how to replace the alternator in my car.

He taught me how to bait a hook, cast a line, and gut a fish.

He taught me that getting stitches in my chin is easier when you have someone’s hand to squeeze.

My Dad taught me to ride a bicycle and a motorcycle, and how to drive a car.

He taught me how to back-up a trailer and how to roll a sleeping bag really tight.

He taught me that a look of disappointment could be a much worse punishment than a wooden spoon.

He taught me about ailerons, flaps, uplift, and touch and gos.

My Dad taught me how to read a map, read an auto repair manual, and read the edge of Mosquito Road even in the fog.

He tried to teach me algebra, but I gave up on it.

My Dad taught me to play the guitar, how to put backspin on the cue ball, and why I needed to clean the distributor cap.

He taught me that the journey can be just as fun at the intended destination.

My Dad taught me that enjoying your work is more important than promotions and prestige.

He taught me how to shingle a roof, how to earn a buck by stripping and recycling copper wire, and that a sandwich of canned black olives is not something a kid can appreciate.

He taught me how to use a camera, how to catch a snake, and how to wire a breaker box.,

He taught me how to split and stack wood, how to build a fire, how to drive a fire truck, about borate bombers, back fires, and why pine trees explode during a wildfire.

My Dad taught me not to make ridiculous threats that you don’t intend to follow through on – especially if the guy is bigger than him and flushing a head in the toilet is harder than it sounds.

He taught me that man can live on bran muffins for breakfast for eight years without complaining.

He taught me that completing a job you can be proud of is worth more than the paycheck.

My Dad taught me that you’re never too old to learn Morris Code.

He taught me to ask for morphine as soon as I arrive at the emergency room with a kidney stone.

He taught me that it is possible for a man of few words to make a lasting impression on people’s lives – through his deeds and his character.

And the last time I saw him, just several months ago, my Dad started teaching me how to use Photoshop on my computer.

My Dad, through his example, taught me that experiential education is more important than any lecture. And that the best teacher acts as a coach during the learning process and not a know-it-all expounding inflexible answers.

Although my Dad was a hard working, blue collar electrician with no college degree, I would not have earned a Doctorate in Education were it not for the most important essentials My Dad Taught Me.

About the Author

Dr. Sandi Marie Smith, Educator, June 9, 2008

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