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My Father's Wisdom

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My father was a man of small stature, taking after his mother, but he possessed a wealth of home-grown wisdom that he often shared with me, although I didn't always appreciate it. He did not have a lengthy formal education, but like many of his generation, he learned a great deal by observing life. However, during World War II, he acquired a more advanced education while serving in North Africa and Italy. After the war, he devoted himself to his family and community for many years. Now that I am at an age where recalling what my father taught me is easier than remembering the code for the garage door opener, I find myself on a journey of remembrance.

I grew up on a small farm in rural America, where the closest neighbors were five miles away.  About the time I started school, we got electricity for the animals and later for the house.  We never had running water, indoor plumbing, or a telephone.  It seemed like normal life, as it still does for so many people around the globe.  As a high school and undergraduate student, I was active in student government, community service, and volunteering.  It was there that a lifelong connection was born.  The natural affinity for people who don’t have access to ‘normal’ things became my life’s driver.

My father’s colloquial wisdom was poignant and pragmatic. For example, "If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging." This is a simple yet powerful piece of advice that can be applied to many areas of life. It means that if you are in a difficult situation, continuing to do the same things that got you there will only make matters worse. Instead, you need to take a step back, evaluate the situation, and change your approach. It could also mean seeking help from others, taking a break to clear your mind, or simply trying a different strategy.

He also liked to say, "None of us is smarter than all of us". This statement emphasizes the importance of collaboration and teamwork. It means that no matter how intelligent or knowledgeable an individual may be they cannot possess all the knowledge and expertise that a group of people can bring together. By ignoring differences and diversities and working together, each individual can contribute their unique skills, perspectives, and experiences, creating a collective intelligence that is greater than any single person's intelligence.

This concept is particularly relevant in problem-solving situations. When a group of people with diverse backgrounds and skill sets collaborate to solve a problem, they are likely to come up with more creative and effective solutions than any individual could on their own. By embracing the idea that we can all learn from each other and that we are stronger together than we are alone, we can foster a culture of collaboration and mutual respect, leading to greater success in both personal and professional settings. All voices should be valued.

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1 Comment

May 27

Well said. Collaboration is essential. We sometimes get in our own way believing we have to do things alone.

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