Encore: The Quiet Hero

“Quiet heroes dot the landscape of our society. They don’t wear ribbons or kiss trophies; they wear spit-up and kiss boo-boos…Children spell love with four letters: T-I-M-E. Not just quality time, but hang time, downtime, anytime, all the time. Your children are not your hobby; they are your calling.” Max Lucado.

My Dad is this hero.

Most often it’s the little things that a hero makes. Not grandiose displays of affection or the extravagant bestowing of gifts. Anyone can be grandiose and extravagant but it’s the accumulation of consistent kindnesses and support that I believe strengthens a child or at least I believe strengthens me.

My dad used to sharpen my pencil crayons with the jackknife he kept in his jeans pocket. A task that takes longer than you’d think. I think we even had a pencil sharpener in the house, but my sisters and I would always proffer a dull crayon to dad, in need of assistance and he would reliably stop whatever task he was doing at the moment and come to our rescue. Allowing us to continue in our creativity. Throughout life dad used to “sharpen my pencil crayons” whenever I needed help so that I could go to university, buy my fist car, move into my first apartment…

And every morning during elementary and junior high school he would keep his daughters company as we at breakfast. We’d sit groggy eyed at the counter as he dolloped the Sunny Boy porridge into our bowls. Then he’d come outside with us and wait with us for the school bus holding back the dogs so they wouldn’t accompany us on board the bus. A quiet, helpful presence making sure we started our day, our week, our year with “fed” and “safely on our way.”

He used to set up old fence post to serve as curbs and rusty oil drums to serve as vehicles. An impromptu city street. I would then practice parallel parking the crew cab so that I would be prepared for my driver’s exam. He also made sure I knew how to check my oil, check tire pressure and know how to change a flat tire. Again, throughout life, his subtle teaching provided opportunities for practice and encouragement for success.

So that I could have faith in my own independence and move onward and upward claiming my life as my own.

My dad is this quiet hero.

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