Before I could drive, I got sick at school one day and had to call my Dad to pick me up. While he was signing me out, he noticed a man wearing worn out shoes. I remember him taking a hundred dollar bill from his wallet, placing it into a folded piece of paper, and scribbling something on the outside followed by a smiley face. He gave that paper to my principal to give to that man after we left. When we got back to my Dad’s Jeep, he asked me not to tell anyone about what he had just done and for the most part, I haven’t… but here we are, close to 10 years later, as I share this story with the world.
Keith Pope is probably the least athletic person I know, so it wasn’t him who taught me how to swing a bat or throw a ball. He taught me things that are way more valuable in life. He taught me to always give more than you take, to treat strangers like you would family, and that “anything worth having is worth taking care of.” Looking back, he wasn’t just talking about taking care of material things like my car or house, he was also talking about people and friendships. If people are worth having in your life, then you should probably put forth the effort to take care of them.
My Dad also taught me and my siblings how to work hard. I’m the second oldest out of 5 kids, so my family jokes about how my parents had so many kids to do all the chores around the house. Although when I was younger, that’s exactly what it felt like, the work ethic that my Dad instilled in me has helped me be more successful in life. Plus, I’m one of the only girls my age who knows how to change a flat tire, check the oil in my car, and cut my grass with a push mower.
Whether I like to admit it or not, my dad and I are a lot alike. I may not wear two different colored shoes in public but like him, I’m loud when I enter and room and I never meet a stranger. These traits make life a lot more interesting and give me the opportunity to create life long friendships with strangers that some people would never have the courage to talk to. Above all, I think the most important lesson he taught me is that life is hard… not everything is always going to go your way and that’s okay because you can get through tough times and continue to search for better ones as long as you surround yourself with people who love you.