The Sky’s The Limit

On July 8th my dad, Alan, would have turned 70. In his honor, here are 7 lessons I learned from him:

Get AAA: Dad loved cars, and he started teaching me how to drive when I was 12. I drove his hand-me-down trucks for years, and when anything needed fixed, he was the one to do it. When I moved to Lubbock for college, he told me I needed to get AAA so I’d always have roadside assistance. At the time, I couldn’t imagine anyone but my dad fixing my car, but in the 20+ years I’ve had my membership, AAA has served me and all my dead car batteries well!

RTP: Growing up, I struggled with math, and Dad often helped me with my homework. Word problems were particularly difficult for me because I didn’t know what the problem was to solve. On my homework, out in the margin, in his trademark handwriting, he’d write RTP to remind me to read the problem. Turns out this reminder has helped me solve lots of other problems that had nothing to do with math!

WTS: Also in the margin of my math homework, he’d write WTS to remind me to watch the signs. I could turn a negative into a positive or vice versa by not watching where the signs were in the math problem. Again, watching the signs in other areas of my life has helped me far beyond the classroom!

Do Your Best: I loved to excel in school, but no matter what my grade was, Dad had one marker for success: Did you do your best? Not only did this teach me to work hard and put in my best effort, but also to learn how to be satisfied when a project ended no matter the outcome.

Build It to Last: Dad was a master craftsman who built many things. When working on any project, he took the time to think it through, to build it carefully, and to take care of it after it was built. I don’t have the same skills and talents he had to turn raw lumber or metal into anything, but for the areas in my life where I am building something, his work ethic, attention to detail, and thoughtfulness guide my own decisions.

Squeeze the Pink: As I mentioned earlier, Dad loved cars, and he was also a great driver. He had almost a sixth sense about him where he could time going through a yellow light at the last second, right before it turned red. He called it squeezing the pink. I don’t have the same ability with yellow lights, but I do listen to my own intuition in other areas of my life where it is strong. I believe everyone has their own version of squeezing the pink!

Find a Hobby: Dad worked as a mechanical engineer for Phillips 66, and he was a loving husband and wonderful father figure to me and my brother. He also volunteered for school or social events that my brother and I were involved in, and he made time to hang out with family and friends. He also spent time on his hobbies. Dad loved race cars and airplanes the most (anything that was engineered to go fast!). He built model airplanes in our den and flew them at a local flying field, usually with me and my brother tagging along to play with the other kids whose dads also flew planes. I have so many fun memories of Dad and his airplanes that we are having an aviation-themed party for our second anniversary coming up in August! We hope to see you there!

father and adult daughter at waters edge with fallen tree behind

Bates Mission

1904 S. Bagdad Road, #2

Leander, TX 78641


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