I’ve been home from school for an hour, relaxing and trying to relieve my brain of the beating it just took from the eighth grade curriculum. Although nothing of great importance has transpired between my father and I since I’ve been home, something has just crossed his mind and has sparked a need for an urgent and imperative discussion with me. I wait before his intimidating frame and finally hear him deliver that perpetual maxim I’ve grown to hate: “Don’t be a coulda-woulda-shoulda!”. These unprompted instructions from my father had become a staple in my life for the past couple of years, and I was finally beginning to understand his logic: He saw potential for success in me, and he wanted me to know it.
Although I knew his intentions, I didn’t quite know how to go about enacting this principal in my own life. Not succumbing to “coulda-shoulda-woulda” status appeared to me as doing the best I could possibly do in all aspects of my life, a foreign concept for an impulsive 13 year old.

Sacrificing my boyhood doing school work and bettering my musicianship and athletic performance seemed difficult. This time utilized playing endless hours of video games or aimlessly going to McDonald’s with my friends seemed more important to me. But what my father made me understand was that taking pride in my passions and investing complete and undivided effort into them, especially in this important maturation period, was an important aspect of life. He did not want me to regret later on in my life what might have happened if I changed my actions.
Through my dad’s teachings, I began to apply his concept in all facets of my being. His words created a mindset in me that success did not come without sacrifice, and I tried to emulate it. Through completing extra problems to understand a concept in math, utilizing my lunch period to practice a new piece that I couldn’t play well, or skipping a team get-together to work on my quickness, I began developing a new set of personality traits that would change my entire outlook on life. The responsibility that comes along with sacrifice, the dedication that came along with extended investment of time to reach a goal, and the pride attained when the goal is completed all contributed to my new attitude.
The characteristics gained through my father’s influence are a part of me that will be forever present. I now know for sure that there is nothing I could have, should have, or would have done to better myself as a person in my life. Perhaps the greatest impact of his words is the insight I now have on these concepts that I can impart to others, such as my siblings and friends. The similar values we share regarding responsibility and work ethic make for strong, enjoyable relationships. As a result of this, my father’s impact goes far beyond the influence he had on my life. Without his guidance, I’d be meandering to McDonald’s right about now.

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