Today, December 7, is a special day. Personally. It really is. I'm much too young to recall Pearl Harbor so THAT can't be it. So what is it? What could be special? Here is a clue, it happened on the first anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, in 1942. My father, Ben Wuollet was born. Today would be his 72nd birthday. I could take this time and think, “Why was he taken from our midst?” Being selfish and feeling sorry for myself would be so easy. I could ask, “What could have been?” I could lament I can no longer pick up the phone to call him. But, if I could, his advice would be clear. His instruction concise. He would say, “Don't look back. You aren't going that way.” So, look forward I must. Look forward I will.
My dad was a remarkable man. He loved his family. He loved his employees. He loved life. I learned a lot from him. Oftentimes when I run into a challenge I ask myself, “What would dad say?” Being in business myself there are many times I ponder what advice he would give. And, I already know what he would say. Really, I am clear to his instruction. Simply said, I would be seeking affirmation.
He was a really cool dad. I was fortunate to work with him. I was lucky to have him for a mentor. On this, his birthday, I am writing a special edition to my blog. Those who knew him will understand. Those who worked for him will relate. And those who grew up in his house? We were the luckiest of them all! What a joyful home it was. And, he lives on in our memories, our minds and our daily decisions.
Below is a poem I wrote today. I titled it “Business Lessons from Dad”. So, read, enjoy and thanks for letting me use the word “I”, a lot, in my musings above. Actually, you didn't really let me as this is my blog. The overuse of the word is intentional. The critical writers may want to correct me and say how it could have been written differently. Too bad. I am writing a heartfelt letter, it is personal and I am sharing it with you.
This blog will be a special one
Like none other I have done
Lessons dad has taught his son
Things I use in business every day.
Many things my dad had taught
Things I should do and ought not
And which battles should be fought
We'll look at these all in a different way
So today on his birthday
I could think no better way
Then to stand up tall and say
“Thanks for lessons in my work and play!”
Employees were everything
He'd hand out checks and even sing
“Thanks for everything you bring!”
And skip to find the next person to pay
Then he'd stop and stoop to clean
Something on the floor he'd seen
So what does this really mean?
There was no job that was below his pay
“Never be less than correct”
Do not be vague, be direct
Treat everyone with respect
You'll find out that this way is okay
“Life's about relationships”
Not about wages and tips
You will learn it will eclipse
The worth of what all worldly gold does weigh
“Be on time do not be late”
Tension you will not create
By having too much on your plate
If you do this until you are grey
And, “'Good enough' never is”
Not at home or in the biz
Do your best, golly gee whiz
Another phrase that he would often say
“Do it right or not at all”
If the job were big or small
It would keep us on the ball
And never quit when we were just halfway
To the future straight ahead
As on this way of life you tread
Smile big and say instead
“Don't look back 'cause you aren't going that way”
At the end of every day
He'd ask “How was your day of play?”
“Did you have fun at work today?”
Another thing that he would always say.
Thank you dad for all you've done
Not just for me, for everyone
From, you know, your eldest son
On this your 72nd birthday