Archive for October 10th, 2019

October 10, 2019

Lessons from my father

by Rod Smith

The Mercury / Tuesday (repost)

Nine things I learned from my father or things he tried to teach:

• “There, but for the Grace of God, go I.” This he said when seeing anyone in a tight spot, self imposed or not.

• “What if it was us, Mavis?” This was his appeal to my mother who tended to want to watch expenses a fraction more than he did.

• Radical hospitality. Stories of our father opening our home to strangers are legendary. Some remain friends decades later.

• “Make your words soft and sweet in case you have to eat them.” He used this when I was judgemental or harsh.

• “Don’t carry your fish in a violin case.” My father despised pretension.

• “Build bridges; don’t burn them.” My father feared cut-offs. As do I.

• “A man who is going the wrong way down a one-way street already knows it – he needs help turning around.” Forever benevolent, my father championed the underdog.

• “Rather be fooled because you trusted too much than because you trusted too little.” And, sadly, he was frequently duped.

• “If the child needs milk the child needs milk – milk is more important to that child than the money is to me.” He’d open his grocery shop at all hours of the night and give milk to the mother of a hungry baby.

What did you learn from yours. Let me know.

E. W. G.Smith / HMS Dorsethire