Strong families are often built around strong dads. I was so blessed to grow up with a strong dad, a cowboy. But as you probably know, we lost my dad in a farm accident when I was 22. That tragedy lives with me always, but so does his memory and all the lessons he gave me and my siblings before he died.
For example, he was adamant about getting up in the morning and tackling the day, reminding us that more people die in bed than anywhere else. Despite plenty of groaning, my kids got to learn this lesson too.
There was also his work ethic and drive – both of which were second to none. And his insatiable entrepreneurial spirit – buying up land starting when he was just a boy. Despite whatever tough time we were dealing with, he would say, “Never sell the land, because God isn’t making any more of it.”
Another thing he would do is make sure we were always paying attention to the small details and doing the right thing – no matter how trivial. Whether it was taking care of the cattle or keeping bags of feed stored appropriately, it didn’t matter – there was a right way and wrong way to do it. He insisted on doing it the right way.
There was also his regular doling out of impossible things to accomplish for me and my siblings. It was through these tasks that we learned how to problem solve. He’d remind us, “you don’t complain about things; you fix them.”
This brings me to the biggest lesson he taught me. There is no institution in the state more important than the family. We are blessed with great families in South Dakota. Whatever your family looks like, parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, make sure you’re a strong family.
This Father’s Day, take some time to thank your dad for his influence in your life. We may not always realize the impact that fathers have at the time, but the lessons they teach us last a lifetime.
Dad’s life lessons live on in me and also now all of my kids, Kassidy, Kennedy, and Booker. That wouldn’t be possible, of course, without Bryon. To Bryon, and all the Dads out there, Happy Father’s Day!
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