Friday, June 17, 2011

The Lesson He Probably Thinks I Forgot

Right before I came out on my mission, I was asked to give a talk in church on Father's Day.  The topic I was assigned was "Traits my father has that I hope to have as a dad one day" and then to give examples of stories.  Needless to say, I relished the opportunity to share some stories, some maybe embarrassing, about my dad that not many people knew.  I shared lessons from camping trips, his example of taking care of his family, and others that have helped set me on the right course.  With Father's Day this weekend, I wanted to add a story to that list; a lesson my dad taught me.  I do not know if he remembers this encounter we had, but I sure do...

My sophomore year in high school I decided I wanted to get involved with the cross-country team at our high school.  In all honesty it started off because I really liked the coach and I felt that cross-country was the only sport I could do decently in.  Well, the first day of practice came and went and I was sore beyond all imagination.  I had never ran like that before and my legs did not enjoy it at all.  I felt terrible and did not want to keep pursuing the running.  My parents in an effort to help, which I was completely and utterly against at the time, decided that I needed to practice.  Their logic to me was..."You're sore, go run, feel better."  Needless to say I did not get it nor did I really want to at the time; however, they "strongly" convinced me to put the shoes on and go running while my dad followed on his bike.

I did not get very far before I gave up and started walking in rebellion.  My dad then began into the lecture about how I would not get better unless I practiced and how I would feel better.  All the while I was trying to ignore him and not happy with what I was doing and saying how I was giving up.  Then my dad, with all the simplicity and bluntness that fathers can produce, said in effect, "If you think this is hard and are going to give up, you are in trouble.  Your mission will be the hardest thing you do.  Are you going to give up when it gets hard then too?"  In my defiance I said no.  Besides, I thought that it would not be as hard as he made it seem.  Needless to say...I was wrong.

I did continue running with the cross-country team (I was manager my sophomore year and then ran with the team for two years), and my legs finally got the point.  I was tired but I kept going and got better.  One of my greatest memories is crossing the finish line of the Regional meet my senior year, knowing I had given it my all that race.  Likewise, I have grown and been strengthened on my mission in ways I did not know were possible.  I am grateful for the patience and support my dad has given me in all aspects of my life and for the lessons he taught me, even when he thought I was not listening. 

Happy Father's Day dad!
My dad

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