Helena Rodriguez: A toast to lessons learned from Dad

HelenaMug

By Helena Rodriguez

Guest Columnist

Happy Father’s Day to all dads. With your special day only days away, we need to make a big hoopla like we do for Mother’s Day.

I want to toast to lessons learned from Dad. Baby Boomers and Generation Xers remember the TV show, “Father Knows Best.” I grew up in the Mike Brady, “go and ask Dad” TV era of the 1970s and 1980s. Even when Mom wasn’t in the picture, as in “The Andy Griffith Show,” father and son had plenty to whistle about.

Today, however, sitcoms portray Dad as the weaker sex and now the image of one of our top TV dads, Bill Cosby, is tarnished.

We can’t let the media define fatherhood though. There are plenty of role models from our generation and generations past. I just read, “Big Russ & Me,” by the late Tim Russert, former moderator of “Meet the Press.” Russert shares the life lessons learned from his father who worked two full-time jobs without complaint and took his family to church every Sunday.

What kind of lessons can we learn from Big Russ? For starters, “slow and steady wins the race.”

When my sister Becky and I worked in the “escardas” one summer, to earn money for school clothes I got fired the first day. I was straining myself too much.

Before we left before sunrise, Mom said, “Think about your dad when you’re out there. He worked in the fields every day as a child to help support his family.”

How did Dad do it? Slow and steady. That gets a big job done, not slow, as in sluggish and not doing anything, but steady — pacing and doing the job right.

As an adolescent, Dad called my sisters and I back into the kitchen after we washed dishes one day. “Are yall done?” he asked. “Yes!” we nodded. “No you’re not!”

Dad pointed out the dirty, unwiped countertops and stove. He taught me not to leave a job unfinished.

He also taught by example. Dad used his musical talent to entertain people but also for charitable causes. And when Grandma Chaya got sick and went to a nursing home, Dad retired and moved to Lubbock to be close to her until she died in January. The life lesson: Someday you will have to take care of the person who took care of you.

Helena Rodriguez is a Portales native. Contact her at: Helena-Rodriguez@hotmail.com

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