Our fathers, our teachers

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Fathers can be our disciplinarians, our mechanics, our doctors, and even our best friends. Before anything though, our fathers are our teachers, and the lessons that they pass along can live on and shape future generations long after they are gone.

Rose Akers is the owner of U Save Used Appliance Center. Her father Woodrow Spillman may have left her, but the lessons that he instilled in her live on to this day.

"I learned to be kind, to be fair, and not to judge," Akers said. "I learned a lot from my father Š he was a very kind man."

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One of the values that Akers took away from her father's example was staying true, no matter what the cost.

"He taught me to be as honest as I knew how to be, to tell the truth even if it hurts," Akers said as she let out a small laugh. "That was his motto."

Auto Zone employee Jeff Vanderpool's father, Charles, gave his son the gift of a strong ethical fiber.

"The morals I have today are because of him," Vanderpool said. "What I know today, how I think, it's because of him. He was a good man, I learned a lot from him."

Though fathers make a habit of passing on their values, they also teach us about simple pleasures, those things that make life worthwhile.

"I can remember him teaching me how to skip," said school librarian Leanne Allen with a laugh. "He was a big guy, but he would always skip with my sister and I."

Of course, life's not all fun and games, and fathers occasionally have to educate their children in some of the more practical facets of life.

"He taught me how to shop, he taught me not to waste my money," Vanderpool said. "He taught me how to find the best deals."

"Maps! We liked to go on vacations and he was a big map person," Allen said. "We would all learn the states and the state capitals as we went through the states."

Though she wouldn't get to use them until later in life, Akers said that her father taught her about parenting when she was just a child.

"If I was crying, he always had time to say 'What's the matter, Rosie?'" Akers said. "If I notice that my children or my grandchildren are off in another room while everybody else is playing, I kind of single that one out and say 'Is something wrong?' Because I remember Daddy doing that for me."

Beyond the practical, beyond the solid values, perhaps the greatest gift fathers pass along is showing us how to live and to live well.

"I like to think about going to our favorite swimming hole, him blowing up inner tubes for us," Akers said. "Every Saturday he would get off work at noon, and he would bring us home ice cream and chips and pop. Weekends were the time to feed yourself junk food.

"He taught me to live everyday knowing that it's a blessing. He's gone now, but I try to live by that every day."