My dad died three years ago today. He lived a robust 80 years and lived another ten with dementia. I can spend today thinking about the pain and suffering he went through the last ten years of his life, but he would absolutely be appalled. Instead, I want to honor him by sharing some of the things he taught me:

How to change a tire. For the obvious reasons, he taught me how to change a tire. However, the real reason was he did not want me to have to depend on anyone else to do it for me.

How to use common tools. I'm adept with most tools because he taught me how to use them. He also taught me that teeth are not tools and never to use them as openers.

The importance of accepting responsibility. Apologize when it's your fault. Accept blame when the fault is yours. 

How to forgive and forget. Holding a grudge only impacts the grudge holder. He taught me that it's okay to be mad, but it's not okay to stay mad. 

The importance of second chances. Goodness gracious did he teach me that life is full of second and third and fourth...chances. I flunked out of college my freshman year (who knew you had to go to classes?) and yet here I am with a BBA, masters, and a slew of certifications.

The importance of perseverance. He never allowed me to give up. Ever. 

The importance of reading. He always had a book in his hand and my home was filled with books. It wasn't anything he ever said, but it's what I learned through his actions.

The importance of learning. He built our first home computer from scratch using how-to manuals that were pages upon pages of complex instructions. My dad, born in Great Britain in 1926, did not have a formal education of any sort. He joined Her Majesty's Royal Navy at the age of 15. 

The importance of a sense of humor. He had a quick wit and thoroughly enjoyed the newspaper funnies every evening. He introduced me to the world of cartoons and Garfield will always be a part of me.

The importance of loving well. He loved us well.

In memory of Kenneth David Riordan
June 10, 1926-March 26, 2017


6 thoughts on “What He Taught Me #SoL20

  1. What a tribute to your father & what lessons he taught you. It’s wild to think that he joined the Navy at 15. Imagine all the changes he saw from 1926 to building his own computer from scratch! And I love, love, love the second chances lesson – no shock that perseverance follows. He sounds like a wonderful father. Here’s to him!

  2. This is beautiful. There is definitely poetry in lists, as you show here. My guess? Is that the list is much longer, and that the entries pop out at you at different times in your life.

    May it keep growing. ❤

  3. I hadn’t thought of this form of listing, but it is so powerful – I’m sure it must have been for you too. Sometimes we need to put words to the lessons and the one that I loved the most was “Apologize when it’s your fault. Accept blame when the fault is yours. ” You father was a rare and good man.

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