Lessons from my father

 This is a picture of my dad

He's the guy in the middle with his tongue sticking out

My dad was (one of the) youngest of 14 siblings. One interesting tidbit is that his last name (and my last name 'Detchevery' is spelt within one "R". Almost all of this siblings (my uncles, cousins, aunts) spell their name with 2 "R" DETCHEVERRY. So my dad started his life already unique and passed this on to his children.

Maybe it was the last name, or maybe it was something else, but my dad marched to the beat of his own drum, he did what made him happy, not necessarily with what his family, groups, or society in general thought he 'had to do'

Today I'm going to share with you just three of the lessons I learned from my father. There were likely hundreds to pick up over his lifetime, but these are the three that rang most true and helpful to me, and I hope that you maybe able to relate to them as well.

1) Perseverance (stick-to-it-ness)

My father, built the house I grew up in, he designed it, he build the foundation, the floor, the walls, the very roof over our heads. He did all the electrical and plumbing.  We lived on $100/cars, which he regularly kept running replacing all kinds of parts from the brakes, the radiator, the transmission, anything that broke he somehow 'knew' how to fix it.  He build our garage, and put his own telephone system in between the house and the garage.  He created his own transmitter that would broadcast his voice to the AM stereo.

As a young kid, my dad was a genius, How could he know so much? How to do so much? - It was only when I got older that I learned his 'secret'. He knew because he kept trying things, making mistakes, getting frustrated, and repeating.  I thought if he just "tried anything" he would just succeed, but that wasn't true, I would later see sometimes he would fail 100 or more times before he actually got it to 'work'. He was very smart no doubt! - but he also had incredible perseverance!

2) Don't take life too seriously

One of my dad's 'tricks' for his perseverance, was his motto not to take life too seriously. He was the king of Dad jokes and puns, and they came across in particular in his letters he wrote to me while I was in University.  I have always been very passionate about the things that interest me, always trying to 'prove' to others why I am right...My attitude was (and perhaps still is) If you could just see it 'my way', life would be so much easier for you!  My Dad would see me in these moments of deep passion and this would be when he would bring forward something funny. I think he recognized that same feeling in himself, and the danger of becoming so lost in it, so 'tunnel versioned', and the importance to take a step by, take a break, and have a good laugh.  

One example of this was the first letter he sent me after moving to New Brunswick it was several diagrams of 'How Magic Mountain works' (car goes backwards up hill), In one of them head drawn a secret underground conveyer belt, that pulled the car up hill, and someone flicked the power on while the pretty attendant flirted with the driver to distract him !





3) We are measured in life by the sacrifices we make for others

This was one of the hardest lessons, and one I still have not fully grappled with. I believe so strongly in the importance of taking time for yourself, of keeping yourself 'happy', that the idea of putting myself in any kind of 'sacrifice' to help someone else...well it didn't sound appealing at all.

My mom and I often didn't get along, we disagreed on a lot of things. I remember one day in particular feeling very frustrated and heading out to talk to my dad who was working on the house at the time. I told him I just didn't know what to do, it seemed nothing I did was 'good enough', I didn't know how to be the son she wanted for me.  To which he said, "Brad as you get older you will come to realize that life is not about what you get out of it. It's about what you sacrifice to give to others". 

Thirty+ years later and I still have not fully understood it. I have learned that people remember us best for the service we do, the way we help them. Help someone out and they will remember that for a long time!. When I look back today and I ask myself "What sacrifices did I make for my mom?".. Sadly, the only answer I can come up with is zero, and when I think of all the sacrifices (hundreds, thousands?), she made for me - it is pretty obvious how selfish I was being but I am still learning.

TL;DR ? - Here is the full speech lessons from my father from Toastmasters.


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