As good friends tend to do, we slam each other mercilessly! There are things about Dale I don't understand and I'm sure he feels the same about me. But there is one thing that no one does better than Dale. Dale is a family man!
Dale's number one priority was being a husband and father. Now, as a grandfather, his family is still priority number one! He drives three hours one way most weekends to see his grandsons play ball. For a few years after his retirement, he would watch a third grandson and granddaughter during the summer when their parents had to work. He occasionally brings his granddaughter to play with my granddaughter at my farmhouse. Yep, Dale is a good guy who would help anyone, as long as his family didn't need him more.
The story in The Power of Dadhood is about his oldest son Mike, who learned from Dale what being a dad is all about. And isn't that how it is supposed to work? Mike didn't have to learn how to love, support and mentor when he became a father. He grew up knowing nothing else!
The Boy Who Wanted to be a Firefighter: Four Steps to Success!
My friend Dale once told me the story of his son Mike, who knew at a young age exactly what he wanted to do with his life. Before discussing Mike’s story, I want to mention four simple steps to achieving goals. If you complete all these steps, you will likely achieve any goal you set.
- Know yourself well. Know and accept your desires and capabilities.
- Decide clearly and honestly where you want to go.
- Develop a plan to get there.
- Have the right attitude to keep your plan in action.
When Mike was twelve, Dale took him to the local firehouse to join the Explorers, which Dale described as “a kind of Boy Scouts with hoses.” When they got there, the Captain told them Mike had to be fourteen before he could join. Mike was disappointed, but there was nothing he could do except wait.
On his fourteenth birthday, Mike went to Dale again and said, “Let’s go to the firehouse, Dad.” Dale had forgotten his son’s desire to join the Explorers but was happy to take him there. When they got to the firehouse this time, the Captain told Mike the program had ended because there was not enough interest. Again Mike was disappointed but not discouraged. The next day, he started to recruit his friends and others to join him in starting a new Explorers program. Before long, Mike had his group of friends all wanting to be Explorers. The program was successful and the fire chief even got an award for starting up the new Explorer post.
Mike had a clear interest and goal that drove him every day. With Mike’s focus and the support of his parents all along, there was no way he would not reach his goal. In my mind, Dale’s son, Mike, is one of the most successful people anywhere. He may not make a lot of money, and not many would want his job, but some millionaires are not doing what they really want to do in life. Mike is doing exactly what he wants to do, and it’s one of the most honorable professions. Today, Mike is chief of the Liberty Fire Department in Missouri.
Mike had an inherent passion that automatically took care of steps one and two: know yourself, and know where you want to go. Step three, planning, had begun but still needed attention. However, step four, having the right attitude, is easy when you have a strong desire. As a parent, you are fortunate if your child has a passion. Most kids don’t know what they want to do with their lives, but when they are ready, you can help them figure it out based on their skills and interests and remind them of the four steps to achievement.