I get asked quite often where I came up with the name for this blog. To answer this question, I have to go back to my childhood.
When I was a child, my mom worked in corporate America and was subsequently a stay-at-home mom. My dad, on the other hand, worked for himself as a mechanic. Our family did not live in the same school zone as the schools I attended, so for the first 8 years of my formal education, my parents had to drop my brother and me off each day. My Dad worked from sun-up until it was time for us to go to school. I would hear the heaviness of his footsteps mark the hardwood halls of our house in the morning. Before I would get up and get dressed, he would come into my room and ask “You wanna go to school today, or do you wanna ride with me?” My dad’s only real expectation of us growing up was to go to school and be a good person. So, if I knew we had a test or any manner of important instruction, I would opt to go to school (most of the time). Having some level of choice taught me how to prioritize and count the cost of my decisions.
At the end of the school day, the afterschool carpool was all Dad’s show. We went everywhere with Daddy, and I do mean EVERYWHERE. The parts store, the junkyard, customers houses. My Dad was well received by most everyone we met, and they affectionately called him MACK, a short derivative of our family name. Every now and then, people would even call me “Little Mack.” I watched Daddy gain the respect of his peers and forge life-long, door-opening connections just by talking to them like real people. As soon as we were old enough to talk, Daddy considered us old enough to speak for ourselves. Wherever we’d go, when people asked our names and how old we were, he’d make us answer. It is from my dad that I learned the power of connecting with people and making them feel like they matter.
Daddy would work all day until it was past time to come get us. Most often, we were the last kids to be picked up. My brother, bless his little heart, thought Daddy was NEVER coming to get us! LOL! But he did each day. To this day, everywhere we go, Daddy runs into someone he knows. Over time, I got used to sitting through extra-long catch-up sessions. And once we were done picking up whatever part or tool he needed, we would go with Dad to customers’ homes to service their vehicles. I did many homework assignments and read many books in cars under street lights.
When I was old enough to ride the bus, we would come straight home after school. Dad would work until it was too dark to see. We would wait up for him as long as we could stay awake. Sometimes the sleep beat us, but it wasn’t uncommon for him to wake us up and ask us if we wanted to run across town to Books-A-Million or Wal-Mart (to get all the junk food Mom wouldn’t buy!). Enduring those long days and nights demonstrated work ethic, developed my patience and showed me that some of the best things come in waiting.
My father tends to be pretty well-liked by others, but that hasn’t come from fitting in. He always does things his way, and he stands by it for better or worse. Daddy is a confident visionary; if he dreams it, it is as good as done. He is extraordinarily passionate about life and all he loves. Dad has worked for himself to some degree my entire life and is constantly birthing new ideas – and pursuing them! Outside of business, he is a champion of volunteerism, and works with local schools, creating programs to promote student excellence and give what others won’t – TIME. He goes confidently in the direction of his dreams, setting the pace for his own life, and he grants others the respect to do the same. He’s not perfect by any stretch, but Dad’s focus in life is the having the best character possible, and I thank him for instilling that value in me. Daddy taught me that everything cannot be someone else’s problem. It is my responsibility to cultivate the life and the community I want to be a part of.
Daddy taught me not to be easily influenced by peers and to be a leader, not a follower. Much like me, you won’t catch Dad running in a pack. He is a friend to many, yet close to few. Dad has a gift for maintaining relationships, but he taught me that you only need a handful of quality friends in this life. By surrounding himself with tried and true comrades, he also afforded me a village of men I, too, can count on. If something happened to me today, I know the Joint Chiefs of Dad would come to my rescue. LOL. He is so outgoing, but he is perfectly ok being alone. In my own awkwardness growing up, watching Daddy navigate social life taught me to enjoy my own company and gave me the confidence to survive some very lonely times. These are the ways of a MAVERICK.
I’d be here all day if I tried to recount everything I learned from my Dad. Mack the Maverick is so much more than a name; it is a reflection of the fabric of who I am. The older I get, I notice just how much of that fabric was hand-woven by my father. And I am forever grateful.
A Letter to My Daddy
I love you immeasurably. You are more than my father; you are my friend, my advocate, and my biggest cheerleader. Thank you for being present. Thank you for teaching by DOING, not just by telling. You have spent your life giving me the best parts of you, and I will carry them with me always, deep in the recesses of my heart. Most of all, thank you for loving us in a way that was undoubtable. You often tell folks, “You ain’t much, but you’re all we got.” Well, you, sir, are the MOST, and you are EVERYTHING I have.
I love you,
P.S., Coke is still greater than Pepsi. LOL
What are the greatest lessons you learned from your dad? Share with me in the comments below!