Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Dad On A Roadtrip To Mount Rushmore

It is Thursday, and you know what that means!!! It is Throwback Thursday time again. TBT is the one day a week I relive some of my greatest moments in life…the times when I checked something off of my Bucket List.  Last time you learned about #2 – Ride in a Hot Air Balloon, and this week we talk about a road trip with the ol’ Big Dad.

59. See Mt. Rushmore – X (August 4, 2012, Keystone, SD)

Ryan Eller

The St. Louis Arch. The Statue of Liberty. The Golden Gate Bridge. Mount Rushmore. There are only a handful of American monuments that define who we are as a people. Monuments so bold that they literally change the landscape of American culture…sites so grand they must be seen in person to be understood. Mount Rushmore is on the “Mount Rushmore” of monuments. It is bold and daring, it was controversial during construction, and it defines the spirit of this young country.

Mount Rushmore is so monumental that we have “Mount Rushmore Lists.” The top four items in any category qualify for Mount Rushmore status…my trip to Mount Rushmore is on my Mount Rushmore of bucket list items for one very important reason: I went with my dad.

Simply put, my dad is my hero. We talk almost every single day about pretty much any topic. I inherited many of my favorite qualities from my father, and I hope to inherit some more of his traits as I get older. I hadn’t spent enough time with my father as I became a dad, moved to Tulsa, and he started a new career. I had promised him a road trip when he graduated from college, and since he had graduated with his master’s, I decided we needed to go on that long overdue trip.

There were some leadership traits my dad has always portrayed that were easily evident on this special road trip:

1. Be patient: My dad has always handled my immaturity, anger, and shortcomings with a thick layer of patience. Just like he was patient on me to arrange this trip, he has been patient with me to grow into the man I am toady.

2. Listen: I come from a family of huge talkers. When people marry into the family they all marvel about how we are just waiting to throw our two cents into any conversation. My dad loves to talk, but he consciously listens. He listened to me dream about my future on this trip, and it meant so much to me.

3. Be fair: We had some serious talks about our past and our future as a family in the car. My dad was fair in handling criticism, dishing out responsibilities, and encouraging us to move forward.

4. Be interested in what others are interested in: My dad has always become interested in the things his children are interested in. He became a runner because I liked to run. He read my sister’s dissertation because he knew it was important to her. If I start to eat healthy, my dad wants to support me. He traveled with me because he knows I enjoy travel.

5. Be kind: My dad is kind to me. He is kind to strangers. He is kind to workers. He is kind to everyone. I got to see it in action on this road trip. He greets the people who serve him, he strikes up conversations with those in line. I would watch people leave with a huge smile on their face after talking just a few minutes with my dad.

There are so many lessons I have learned from my dad over the years. The most important lesson I have learned is that my dad is a man of integrity and character. He lives his life the same at home and at work. The same around strangers as family. He is considerate, thoughtful, generous, positive, encouraging, and loving.

You’re my hero dad! I hope to be just like you when I grow up.

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