Things I learned from my fathers

And it came to pass that Orihah did walk humbly before the Lord, and did remember how great things the Lord had done for his father, and also taught his people how great things the Lord had done for their fathers.

Ether 6:30, The Book of Mormon
I hated haircuts in high school. Circa 2003.

My dad taught me that it’s ok to cry. He cries at meaningful events – weddings, funerals, and baptisms – and doesn’t try to hide it. He also cries in movies. Well, I think he does. I do. Showing emotion has been a natural and comfortable part of life.

My dad taught me diligence. I can think of few times when he’s been idle. He would turn on football games on Saturdays, but he couldn’t just sit and watch. He ended up doing dishes or leaving the room altogether to take care of whatever work needed doing that day.

I’m not in it, but pre-awesome hair. Grandpa Williams is on the far right.

My Grandpa Williams taught me not to sleep in. If I slept in at his house (or my own when he was visiting), I’d get a cup of cold water poured on my head.

My Grandpa Williams taught me to love my daughters. I remember watching him brush my sisters’ hair. It was his example that helped get me to sit down and brush my daughters hair.

Seriously, I hated haircuts. Circa 2002.

My Grandpa Pulsipher taught me to be wise with money. The oldest of 11 kids, his parents supported the family by selling ice cream. He helped care for his younger siblings and eventually paid for college by joining the Navy. That care has led to generations of college graduates and self-sufficient families.

My Grandpa Pulsipher taught me to be respectful. While I’m sure he has said unkind things in his life, I haven’t heard them. He respects his country, his wife, his family, and those around him.

All three of these men have taught me different lessons about how to be a father. Perhaps most important, they have shown faith. They love and respect God. They let that faith guide them in how they raised their children. It has played a central role in the good relationships they have with their children.

I’m grateful for these men. If I’m half the father any one of them is, then my kids will be in good shape. The more I learn, the more I understand what a unique opportunity it is to have such wonderful men in my life. I’m trying not to waste it.

Still don’t like haircuts, but I comb my hair now.