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It was my Dad’s birthday this week and I was remembering his habit when visiting me of tapping on the kitchen window with his keys to announce his arrival. He freaked our kids out many a time with his tapping and hand suddenly appearing at the window.

One of the things Dad got frustrated with often was the failure of the younger generation to learn from older peoples experiences and mistakes. Dad lived and worked in the gold mining town of Kalgoorlie for quite a few years so I call Dads “pearls of wisdom” that he liked to share, “Dads nuggets”. Just like a nugget of gold needs dusting off and examining closely to see its value, so also do my “Dads nuggets.”  Today I’d like to share some of his classics.

1. Everyone doesn’t have to see that!
Dad loved the beach and working on getting an “all over tan”. However this led to seeing some interesting sights, both for Dad and for those sharing the beach with him! However a piece of wisdom Dad gleaned from his “sunbathing” is that not everyone looks good naked and one should consider whether everyone really needs to see that! That he believed went for sunbathing and your everyday choice of clothing.

2. Buy quality.
Dad may not always have been “flush with cash”, but he was a firm believer in buying the best you can afford. He pushed against the poverty mentality and spirit that often limits people from seeking to be the best they can be and always hoped and encouraged others to be and expect better.

3. Dream.
My Dad was the ultimate dreamer. He was extremely creative and an ideas person. He wasn’t afraid to think outside the box and nothing was too crazy for him. I’m really grateful for having that permission to “dream” from an early age and to know that it’s ok to have an imagination. God, I’ve discovered gave us that ability to dream and imagine, and even says He will do far more for us than we can ask, dream, hope or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20).

Allowing and encouraging dreams also increases our capacity and motivation to get back up after a disappointment or set-back. Dad experienced many disappointments in life, but I think his ability to keep dreaming helped him be one of the most tenacious people I’ve ever met.

4. Travel as much as possible, to as many places as possible.
Dad loved going places and believed travelling makes you “bigger on the inside”. People can become “small minded” if they only stay at home in their comfort zone. Travelling causes us to explore, to grow, to believe for something, to try new things and to trust both ourselves and God more.

5. Run to God, not away.
Dad was often frustrated with people not learning from other’s mistakes. He faced loss and disappointment, but kept dreaming and hoping anyway. However the one thing I did learn from a mistake my Dad I think made is that when we suffer hardship and life feels like it is throwing “curve balls” don’t run from God, run to Him. Dad unfortunately spent a fair amount of time being annoyed at and running from God. He figured it out in the end, but I think He would have been happier and far more peaceful in his life if he’d spent more time running towards God, rather than away from Him.

Its a good thing to learn from others, especially those older than us. We can learn both from their experiences, achievments and mistakes. Their hope is that the next generation will dream bigger, go further and achieve greater things than they ever did. That was one of my Dad’s dreams, and today I know He’s watching from heaven and cheering us on to keep running, to keep dreaming and to never give up.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Prayer: Lord please help me to learn from those who have gone before me. Thank you that all of heaven is cheering me on today as I run my race. In Jesus name Amen.