My Dad and Mentor

Visited my 86-year-old dad in the hospital yesterday. He’s better; thank you.

Have never written about Dad – not anything published, anyway. I think it’s because I know how uncomfortable it would make him feel. But Dad doesn’t read my blog; doesn’t own a computer. So I’m safe.

Sergeant Robert A. (Bob) Bellah came ashore on Omaha Beach (D Day plus 6) with Patton’s 3rd Army. He never talks about it.

Nor does he talk about being the owner of a dozen businesses by age 40. Nor of his tenure as a city commissioner or his position as an officer in the state grocers’ association.

One of my best memories of Dad is watching him clean the restrooms of the family grocery store in Canyon – I was, maybe, six – He looked up to see me observing and gave me quite possibly the best advice I’ve ever received:

“Son, never ask someone else to do a job you wouldn’t do.”

Thought about those words 15 years ago when I started teaching and decided to write the same essays I assigned my students. Later, I used the pieces as newspaper columns, and, now, I use them to model those same assignments.

Interesting, isn’t it? It’s not only the words of our mentors we repeat, but their actions.

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