The man that stole this girl's heart first is my daddy-o, James. He's affectionately called Dad, Milton, Milty, Papa Pope, and more. No matter the name, his awesomeness in this role remains. He may play the lottery, but I won the jackpot. I seriously couldn't have asked for a better father.
On this Father's Day, I wanted to take a minute to share a few of the chief lessons he's taught me (and many others).
Lesson #1: PMA
If you don't know what PMA stands for you probably haven't been lectured by my father. It's POSITIVE Mental Attitude and it's his mantra--wholehearted, bold font, underscored. He operates in life with the thought that 90% of the battle is showing up ready to work with a good perspective. PMA means you can be your own champion or your own worst enemy. I can be a "glass half empty" kind of person sometimes and it drives my dad (and husband) bonkers. I cannot tell you how many times my dad has uttered "PMA" at me, sometimes in the form of a reminder and sometimes as a solution. Admittedly, now when I begin to doubt or go straight to worst-case scenario land, I do hear this in my own head. It's not my natural mode, but I try. And, I'll continue to try.
Lesson #2: Work hard.
This picture is one of my very favorite images from our wedding (thanks Mike and Julie!). It speak volumes to me and automatically put that "Daddy's Hands" song in my head.
My dad's hands are tanned, strong, and rough. They are a testament that he is rarely idle. He owns his own business, a dental lab, so he works with his hands most days, all day. They are his best tools. He's an advocate for working hard and working well. He figures you have two hands and it's your responsibility to do something worthwhile with them. While I didn't grow up doing lots of manual labor type chores, I did grow up with an appreciation for putting forth all the effort you've got regardless of the situation or activity. And going for it full-throttle doesn't just apply to when you're getting paid, but in service too. Outside of his day job, he works hard in a volunteer capacity for the Crawford County Sheriff's Department, the Baker Township Fire Department, and the Bone Creek Gun Club.
Lesson #3: Be your own person and be your own boss.
Dad has always done things his own way on his own time. He doesn't lack for an opinion on anything and you'll always know where you stand. He's true to himself in every situation.
He's owned his own business for thirty-ish years. He will frequently tell you he doesn't have a job, rather a hobby that makes money. It's truly a refreshing perspective on work. He gets to operate the business on his terms. Now, he might work til midnight more than a handful of nights each month, but he also doesn't have to punch in at 8:00am if he doesn't want to, and, he likes it that way.
Lesson #4: Find a hobby (or three).
Though free time is scarce, my dad has always had hobbies. He's an avid shooter. He's a motorcycle man. He's rebuilt a hot rod. He makes jewelry. He is a jack of all trades and master of many. Many might question his "meet himself coming and going" approach but it's my theory that his hobbies keep him sane and curious. He is always learning, always growing, and always connecting.
Lesson #5: Don't know a stranger.
if you've ever been anywhere with my dad, you know the 10 minute trip to the store is going to take 30 because he'll find five people to talk through while he's in the aisles. When I was younger, I was always amazed at how many people he knew. And, they'd be all different kinds of people who did all kinds things. He doesn't know a stranger. He'll talk to anyone and ask them just about anything. He's a genuinely curious person and chatting up others is his way of learning more about people (and I think himself too).
For me, a slight introvert, making small talk and asking questions can be hard. But I think of my dad. All my life he's been teaching me the basic rule of communication: just do it. Use your words to share your thoughts, help others, develop relationships, learn new things, garner resources, and enjoy the surroundings your in.
Now, I've bragged about the rockstar my dad is and given you a solid glimpse into his character and personality with my the top 5 things he's taught me. Mostly, I've shared these things because I love him and think this is a fitting tribute to his fatherhood on this special day. But, it's also in preparation to ask for a favor of you: If you live in the Third District of Crawford County (here), I'd ask you to consider voting for him in the race for County Commissioner.
Yes, that's right Papa Pope is entering the world of formal, local politics! While I am biased, I truly believe he will be an incredible asset for the Third District and County as well as an advocate for the area's residents. In short: He loves the area he calls home. He is a cheerleader for our area's values. He's willing to learn and hear from those with concerns. As your Commissioner, constituents should expect an open door, open ears approach. Maintaining the integrity of the area’s values, increasing the quality of life, and improving processes and opportunities in the County are his chief priorities. Operating with transparency, especially in budgetary matters, he will steward the will of the people of Crawford County. If this appeals to you, use your voice at the polls. Vote Pope.
He is obviously my favorite candidate and I hope he'll be yours too.
I could continue to go on and on about this funny, strong-willed, loyal man who is my father, but in the interest of time, I'll close with this: Thank you!! And, Happy Father's Day!
PS Be sure to appreciate and celebrate all the fathers in your life today!