Monday, March 20, 2017

A Lesson From My Dad That You Need To Hear . . .

It was a Tuesday night.  

Cub Scout meeting - 7pm in my elementary school gym.  I was watching a karate demonstration with my dad - his big arm around the back of my metal foldable chair.  A lot of kicks and punches from guys in cool karate uniforms.

And then they started breaking the boards and cinder blocks.

I don't think I need to tell you that there is nothing cooler for a fourth-grader than seeing someone break wood with their bare hands.  

. . . maybe watching a monster truck drive over a bunch of parked cars, but breaking wood takes a close second . . .

Anyhow, at the end of the demonstration, the leader of the group took questions from the crowd.  

Hands flew up all around me.  

I leaned into my dad - breathing in the safe smell of garage and sawdust (and a hint of after-shave) from the red and black plaid coat that he wore everywhere.  As I saw hands shoot up I knew my question instantly.  I wanted to have a try breaking the boards.  I looked up at my dad and asked, "do you think they would let me try?"

Without a second's hesitation he said, "raise your hand - ask 'em."

Hold a sec.  There is no way they would let me try that - these people are experts.  My fourth grade mind was in overdrive . . . Even if they did let me try, I would break my hand!  I turned to look at the man answering questions up front with doubt and opportunity ping-ponging back and forth inside my heart.  About a minute later, I looked up at my Dad and he gave me the look like, "you'll never know if you don't raise your hand."

So I raised my hand.

This was a lesson that I would never forget.  You never know until you try.  You can't get a chance until you take a chance.  It would be a lesson that would continue to serve me well in life - raise your hand, take a chance because the moment may pass and you will always wonder what could have been.

And yes, I asked my question.  And yes, they invited me up to try it. 

And would you believe that I actually chopped a board in half with my bare hands?  

Fourth grade.  
In front of everyone!

With the most awkward motion you can imagine I chopped through that piece of wood with my bare hand.  I was shocked!  I looked at my hand - puzzled - and then looked over at my dad who sat there clapping along with everyone else - the widest smile on his face.

I can't believe I did it!

Yes, I am sure they had a stack of balsa wood for just this occasion, but don't tell that to the fourth-grade John.

I never went on to karate greatness.

But my dad taught me early that I can succeed in whatever I do but the first step is always raising your hand.   My Dad just passed on to be with God last week but this is one of the things I will aways be grateful for.  Thanks Dad!

So now you . . . get on with it.

Raise your hand.  Send that email.  Fill out that application.  Talk to that girl.

Listen to my dad - you have to take a chance to have a chance.

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