Amanda Cade

Worth It! (Things to try, read, watch, hear, and discuss)

Happy Father’s Day! Last year, I shared a story about the lessons my dad taught us through home remodeling and vacation planning (you can find that post here). This year, I wanted to share two very important things he learned during a significant portion of his life (long before I was born), that he has taught us through his example.

Take steps to change your life

Fork in the RoadMy father describes his teenage self as “a complete and total screw up”. My mother says that he’s being too hard on himself, but does agree that he was lacking direction and engaging in some risky behavior (which they still, to this day, describe only as “drinking and other things”). He recognized that he wasn’t happy with where he was or where he saw himself going, but wasn’t sure what to do about it. When he began saying that out loud, his stepmother (who Dad has always said was one of the most significant positive influences in his life) suggested that he consider enlisting in the military. He did, and, as he puts it, “the Army trained the screw up out of me”. After he was discharged, he returned home with an entirely different attitude, work ethic, and vision for his future. Happily, that vision included my mother, who had been a casual friend when he left, because after three years of exchanging letters while he was deployed, he was pretty sure that he wanted to marry her.

For Dad, the takeaway is that you need to look for, take advantage of, and apply yourself to opportunities to improve your circumstances or make yourself happier. He’s an amazing sounding board when any of us need to evaluate our situation, and 110% supportive of decisions we make, as long as they’re carefully considered. Dad helped me figure out I needed to change my major. He also helped me make the decision to go to graduate school. He convinced me not to buy a house when I desperately wanted to, because waiting a few more years would make a huge difference in my financial situation. He has always set an example by continuously learning new things and being willing to work hard and take the long view in order to achieve.

Be supportive

I don’t know a lot of details about Dad’s actual service, because he doesn’t like to talk about it. I know his rank, where he served, and that he was decorated several times, but I don’t know what he did to earn those medals, or any specific details of his experience. Although he credits the Army with turning his life around, he never considered making it a career, and I think that’s because of the things he doesn’t discuss. What he does talk about, freely, is what the Army taught him: discipline, work ethic, pride, organization, and leadership. He focuses on the support he received from the military, and on the support of his stepmother and my mother. The second message of Dad’s story is that people who believed in him and were there for him were critical in his journey to become the man he wanted to be.

Support HandsThe man he became is incredibly supportive of others. He’s always ready to listen, to problem solve, to roll up his sleeves, or to give financial help. He helped us navigate the overwhelming task of applying for college admissions and scholarships, learning on the job because my sister Audrey was the first person on either side of my family to go to college. He matched us dollar for dollar when we were saving for our first cars. On three separate occasions, one of his siblings moved into our house when they needed help getting back on their feet. He still insists on cutting my grass, even though he’s in his seventies and I am perfectly capable of doing it myself. As far as Dad is concerned, the people you care about are part of your team, and teams work together.

father's day

Who are your role models? What have you learned from them?

19 thoughts on “A Few More of the Best Things I’ve Learned About Life (Thanks, Dad)

  1. Ladysag77 says:

    Awwww this post is such a touching tribute to your Dad, I love it. I can feel how much you admire him. Tell him I said thank you for your service sir, that is a remarkable and truly selfless act to serve in our military.
    My Dad too is a person I admire. He owned his own car dealership for 35 years and started as a young man taking out the garbage while working his way up. He has provided my siblings and I with an outstanding upbringing, we never wanted for anything. It breaks my heart watching him slip away now in his older years, my Dad is 86 and has Dementia. Thankfully, I am living here with them and we are helping each other out. The strict disciplinary who instilled good values along with a healthy dose of fear is now a feeble sweet guy who repeats himself all day long. Bless his ❤
    I’d say my Nana too was my role model now guardian angel. She passed 14 yrs ago and the Mark she left on my heart is to always find the bright side in life, be kind to all, smile and spread love. My Mom always says I’m my Nana’s granddaughter, I’m a lot like her which is a huge compliment. Enjoy your day with your Dad my friend. Great post👏😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      It really is the highest compliment to be compared to those we admire. Have a wonderful day.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ladysag77 says:

        Yes my dear it sure is💜💜💜

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Mrs ESTJ says:

    I always view my dearly departed Grandad as the closest person I had to a dad. He was a good role model for being careful with money, being good with people and having fun. He was a truly good man and brought up his own children single-handed in a time when that would have been very unusual.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Impressive indeed. I’m sure you have a lot of wonderful memories of him.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. kagould17 says:

    An amazing tribute to your Dad, Amanda. He sounds like a great person and father. Thanks for sharing. My Dad never had much, but he never turned from helping another person in need. Although this sometimes got him in trouble, he never changed. When I was young, he would continually take me along when he went off to the fields to work or off to a job site. I was always put to work. Not only did it keep me out of the way, it taught me to finish what I start. When I graduated High School, I volunteered to stay on the farm and help him. He would hear nothing of it and told me I could be so much more than he was and to get out there and find my way. I have so much to thank him for, but, he has been gone for 34 years now. I am now actually older than he was when he passed and just for him, I am gonna finish what I start. All the bets on this Fathers’ Day. Allan

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      That’s an incredibly important lesson. When you learn perseverance in childhood, that stays with you. I think it’s much harder to develop that habit as an adult, and I’ve seen a lot of people struggle with it. Enjoy your day, Allan.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful story, Amanda.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Thank you. Have a great day, Dennis.

      Like

  5. DrC says:

    This is beautiful Amanda! ♥️Cheers to all the great dads and father figures all around the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Thank you. I hope it was a great day for all the great dads. 🙂

      Like

  6. What an wonderful tribute Amanda!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Thank you. I hope your family had a great Father’s Day.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. From his age, your Dad and I may have shared experiences. First things first. Please convey to him a heartfelt “Welcome home” from a brother vet. At the time, no one thanked us for our service, but to be welcomed home was quite the thing. Second, tell him that, from the things you write, I think you are STRAC, and he and your mom did an outstanding job. Lastly, there’s good reason for not wanting to talk about the times. So, it should not be held against him, as I see you don’t.

    That you chose to pay tribute to your father in these strange times goes beyond STRAC.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I will pass on your message, and thank you for it. Also, a heartfelt thank you for your service from me, and my family. I could never pay tribute enough to my parents, who are amazing, and the most important people in my life. I hope you are doing well.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. fakeflamenco says:

    So happy for you that you have such a supportive dad! My dad is a big influence on me too. He showed me the value of balance; work, exercise, and relaxation time. Thanks for a great post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      That’s a really important lesson! I had to learn balance from my mother…I got workaholism from my dad. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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