My dad taught me to dream. All my life, for as long as I can remember, he talked about getting rich. “Soon we’ll have more money than we’ll know what to do with,” he’d say. “I was born to be rich,” was another one. He was always trying to get rich without working too hard. My dad invented the Flowbee. Or, at least, he created a homemade version of it right around the same time someone else patented the idea. He used to tell me that the guy who decided to put the striker on the back of the matchbook made a lot of money. More money than the guy who invented the matchbook in the first place. I don’t know if that’s true.
My dad never patented anything, but he had skill. He could fix any car. “If I can’t fix it, it ain’t broke.” He’d keep the crappyest piece of crap car running for years after most people would have put it out of its misery. But he talked about the fancy car he was going to have one day. He was always taking us to look at expensive cars, on Sundays, when the dealerships were closed so the salespeople wouldn’t bother us. They never bothered us anyway. “We aren’t dressed nice enough,” he’d say.
My dad always had a goal he was working on. Even right now, though he’s a little more subdued since his stroke, he’s still working to get out of assisted living and into his own apartment. We aren’t so sure that’s the best thing for him, but it’s good to have something to work toward. From him I learned to always dream and work for something bigger and better. I’m thankful that he taught me this. Like my dad, I live in the future, in the what-could-be and the what-will-be. But I had to learn through books and blogs and personal experiences that the bigger, better thing isn’t more money and more stuff and then more money to replace that stuff with better, updated stuff. The bigger, better thing isn’t that concrete.
Now I want to teach my children what I learned from my dad, to dream for something great and work toward it, as well as what I learned on my own, that something greater is a better life, time well spent, money not wasted. Hopefully with those two things under their belts they’ll be able to learn a new thing that I don’t know about. And so each generation will grow.