Things my father taught me…

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By Anita Manley

In follow-up to last week’s blog about “Things my mother taught me…”, I’d be remiss if I did not list all the things my dad taught me.

In January of 1995, when I was 4 months pregnant with my second daughter, my dad died of cancer. My world came crashing down. I was only 30 years old and he was my confidante, my hero and he loved me unconditionally. I miss him terribly, but I’m comforted in the feeling that both my mom’s and dad’s spirits are watching over me.

So here, in no particular order, are the things my dad taught me, to help form the person I am today:

  1. “Everything in moderation” (I’ve passed this onto my children)
  2. How to present a business case. (It started at the age of 13, when he’d said “convince me”)
  3. Be prompt. (Notice the double dose of this – mom and dad – thus, I’m usually early!)
  4. Think like a leader. (He was a manager and would share stories of how he handled difficult situations)
  5. Be honest.
  6. How to write.
  7. “Always vote in every election. Know the issues.”
  8. How to raise concerns to a higher level. (He would often type letters on his old Smith-Corona, to his MP, MPP, etc. if he thought his voice should be heard. Then, he would get me to read it over before he mailed it. This lesson has helped me on countless occasions over the years.)
  9. Be rational.
  10. How to compromise.
  11. He modeled how a good husband treats, respects, loves and honours his wife. (Mom and dad always held hands when they walked together.)
  12. How to be patient and kind.
  13. How to carefully listen to others points of view and to respond respectfully.
  14. How to love unconditionally. (He didn’t always “like” me, but I knew he always “loved” me.
  15. How to manage money and to invest.
  16. How to drive a car.
  17. How to ride a bike.
  18. How to read a map (and to fold one– a real talent!)
  19. The importance of a routine.
  20. A strong work ethic.
  21. How just sitting there quietly, just being there, is showing support and love.
  22. Commitment.
  23. Although he did not personally teach me, he paid for (and my mom registered me):
    swimming lessons, downhill ski lessons, cross country skiing, tennis lessons, soccer team, summer community pool membership. Yes, I do realize how privileged I was. He would also drive my brother and I to a ski hill, 1 hour and 45 minutes away, and sit all day, waiting for us to finish (since he did not ski — he had a bum knee). Now, that’s commitment!

    I am truly blessed to have had the upbringing that I did. As my husband says, I won the adoption lottery!
My dad taught me many things, and would often read to me before I went to sleep.

Things my mother taught me…

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By Anita Manley

In December 2013, at the age of 87, my mom passed away from cancer. I was 48 years old. I miss her dearly and often wish I could pick up the phone to share some exciting news. My mom died peacefully, on her own terms. She had a strong faith in God and was anxious to be reunited with her husband, my dad.

I had a wonderful mom and dad. My husband, Ron always says, “you won the adoption lottery”. It is true, I did!

I decided to make a list (certainly not exhaustive) of all the things I remember my mom teaching me. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. “Be a leader, not a follower.”
  2. “Always say your pleases and thank yous. Be polite.” (How to write thank you notes and address an envelope).
  3. A strong work ethic.
  4. “Be punctual.”
  5. Volunteerism and giving to those in need.
  6. How to knit and sew.
  7. “Patience is a virtue.” (One that I have had to work on my entire life).
  8. “Don’t worry about things beyond your control.” (I’ve only recently got a handle on this one.)
  9. How to entertain (and with that, how to cook and bake)
  10. “Be respectful and honest.”
  11. “Be thrifty.” (always look for the sales)
  12. Always buy a good, new mattress and new, comfortable, and stylish shoes. Never go second hand on these two.
  13. Be stylish on a budget.
  14. “Only spend what you can afford.” (I used to be known for my champagne taste on a beer budget)
  15. “You’ll be lucky if you can count true friends on one hand.”
  16. Be happy!
  17. Sing out loud!
  18. The importance of a daily routine.
  19. Make your bed every morning as soon as you get up.
  20. Brush your teeth and floss regularly.
  21. “You’ve got to give credit where credit is due.”
  22. “Relationships are 50/50. If they don’t work out, it is never only one person’s fault.”
  23. Through my mom’s belief in religion (Catholicism) and God, I became spiritual. (Which I am now told will help me with my recovery– yes, I am still in recovery!)
  24. My mom modeled smiling at strangers.
  25. “Be friendly with neighbours.”
  26. How to be a good, loving, caring and nurturing mom. (Sadly, for many years, due to my illness, I was unable to be all of these things to my two daughters. They do tell me that I am making up for lost time now, though.)
  27. “Where there is a will, there is a way.”
  28. “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.”
My mom taught me many, many things… including how to bake. She made the best Scottish shortbread. I’ve passed this recipe and method onto my daughters. We all gather together, in-person and virtually, to make it every Christmas.