My Father’s Priority

I’d just gotten my driver’s license. I was excited when my mother asked me to run to town to pick up a prescription for her. I was driving her brand new ’58 Chevy Impala…one of the first new cars my parents ever bought! A left turn from the highway to a side street was required to get to the pharmacy. I have no idea why I didn’t see the pick up truck coming in the oncoming lane! Fortunately, neither of us were going very fast, so the impact only crunched the right-front fender of my mom’s car and left a big imprint on his grill.

Automobile body after a car accident

We lived in a small town. To make the situation even more humiliating, the driver of the truck was the father of a school mate. A mother of another schoolmate saw us on the side of the road and called my parents. Pretty soon I saw my father walking up to the car. I opened my window expecting to be balled out for wrecking the car. But all he said was, “What happened honey?” in the softest, most sincere voice! I burst into tears.

Later I heard him say that he wanted all of his four daughters’ first cars to have big fenders. He’d rather fix a car than see his girls hurt by an accident. He demonstrated his priority of my welfare with his kind question, “What happened honey?”

Dad’s Example of Every Choice Demonstrates a Priority is Passed On

Years later my teen age son drove my car to a school play. He returned home with a dented fender and a bumper that was barely hanging on. When I saw the car, my first thought was, “He must not be hurt. He was able to drive home.” He was frantic to explain to me what happened. I assured him, “The car can be fixed. I’m just glad you’re OK. We’ll work out the rest of it.” I remembered my Dad’s example, and passed it on to my son. People are more important than cars.

Many years later, he had the opportunity to pass on this lesson in priorities when his teenage daughter got her jeep stuck in an irrigation reservoir! By then, cell phones were the norm. She just called her dad to tell him she was stuck. He wasn’t happy about it, but arrived shortly to pull her jeep out and quietly ask, “What have you learned?”

My Niece Experiences Her Father’s Priority

My sixeen-year-old niece was camping with her family. She had just earned her driver’s license so someone suggested she drive into town for supplies. On her way out of the campground, she sideswiped a tree. She was mortified. Embarrassed. Hated turning around to show her parents the damage to the car. She walked up to them, crying and profusely apologizing for being so careless. Her father quietly said, “Well, I told you not to hit other cars. I told you not to hit pedestrians. But I didn’t tell you not to hit a tree!” They laughed through her tears… and she learned that she was more important to him than the car. Every Choice Demonstrates a Priority

Every Choice Demonstrates a Priority

Although each of these examples are of driving accidents with new drivers, every response demonstrates a priority. Every choice made every day is demonstrating the priority that is most important in that moment. Getting clear about what priorities are most important is the the first step! It is a challenge to consciously adopt a priority, and then make choices that demonstrate that priority.

You have my love and support,

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