It's not enough to just thank our dads for what they have done for us throughout out lives. We also have to look at how they influenced our lives in the areas of a work ethic, honor, honesty, spirituality, the love of a woman (his wife and my mother) and sportsmanship. One of the most important traits I learned from my father is to pass on your knowledge. He always stated it does no good to hold on to the things you learn. He always shared his knowledge so others may benefit from those experiences - good or bad.
My dad was a WWII veteran, responding to the call of duty days after Pearl Harbor. As a Navy veteran in the Pacific theater participating in the most ferocious battles, the lessons learned during those stressful times (when you could be killed at any time) were passed on to my brothers and me and the hundreds of other kids in my home town who were our friends and those he coached on the Little League teams. He was a part of a generation returning from WWII who got married and had children passing on that same advice to their children and others.
Looking back on that experience, those fathers (and mothers) were MENTORING their children to be the best and most hardworking individuals. I was talking to my father today and wishing him a Happy Fathers Day and he said that he and my mother (now deceased) were so proud of their three sons - successful in work and business, husbands and fathers and community leaders. In turn I told him that he and my mother did one hell of a job in raising us with the right values and the hard work ethic we are blessed with.
Today in the Fire Service, we are honored to hold that esteemed position as mentors to our brother and sister firefighters. The older firefighters teach the young firefighters; the young firefighters teach the older firefighters and we are stronger together. I was teaching this weekend in Kittitas Valley Fire & Rescue in eastern Washington and while having lunch with the Fire Chief, we were lamenting that most retiring firefighters, officers and chief officers just leave the service and never look back. Yes there are a bunch of us are teaching, mentoring and sharing our knowledge but wish there were more that would share that hard earned institutional knowledge, which is currently not available. There are many fine fire service leaders and attorneys that are giving back by teaching, writing and providing other services to the fire service. However, can you imagine the amount of institutional knowledge that is lost by those walking away?
As fire service leaders, mothers and fathers and husbands and wives, we have an obligation to MENTOR others so they may learn from your experiences and in turn, when they have the opportunity, to mentor others. Do not waste a moment of your day and take time to teach someone else a skill, share a piece of information or provide direction for those who will benefit from your knowledge and experience.
It's your duty to mentor another. Always take the time to tell someone that you care enough about them to provide a skill set, or instruction and direction and to share your knowledge making their jobs and lives easier and safer.