Bobblehead Dad: Chapter 25 – Wait. There’s More!

Posted May 13, 2017 by jimhigley

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This is a daily installment from my book,  “Bobblehead Dad: 25 Lessons I Forgot I Knew.”  Come back tomorrow for more! 


Helen Keller once said, “Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”

What I came to understand that summer of healing is that lessons knock on our door every day. And many of those lessons can be found in the most unexpected places. So, if you’re not tuning into your days you’re likely going to miss a lesson.

Simple, right?

Actually, I think it’s a simple concept that is hard to execute.

I had a lot of time on my hands that summer. I spent much of it reflecting on every aspect of my life. Each day, I found myself reconnecting with long-lost memories, and time after time I had proverbial moments where lightbulbs would flash on and exclamation points would dance over my head as I began to understand the experiences that shaped and influenced my life. In essence, I rediscovered my own life’s lessons.

I also came to understand six things.

  1. The experiences of my life have given me an abundance of lessons, which I draw from daily.
  2. I’ve tucked away the memories of those lessons and rarely think about where my strengths, weaknesses, or quirky traits come from. Like precious family photo albums, they are locked in a trunk in the attic. Not lost. Just collecting dust.
  3. I often am not connected with the daily lessons that are in front of me today. With a life overflowing—just like everyone else has—I focus, too often, on where I want to be as opposed to where I am now.
  4. It is through living and sharing my life experiences that I keep my mom’s legacy—as well as the legacies of my dad and brother—alive for my children. I am more than a son, a brother, or a dad. I am the connective tissue across generations.
  5. I have an obligation to others to be a part of the lessons in their life. And I’m not just talking about with my children. I’m talking about anyone I have contact with. If I’m going to embrace the concept that life lessons can come from simple experiences, then I must be an eternal believer that I have
    the ability to impact others daily as well.
  6. All of this is quite easy if you’re not a bobblehead.

Why is any of this important? After all, it’s just a bunch of old-fashioned common sense, right? What I can tell you is, for me, the simplistic quality of this has made it so easy to grasp and implement in my life. It’s helped me slow down, be the dad I need to be, and pursue my dreams. It’s validated the importance of what I do each day of my life. It’s also helped me be content with the present—even when the present is plain old vanilla. Did having cancer play a part in this newfound outlook? Sure. But I hope you never have to confront a life-threatening illness to be able to grab hold of the potential power of this simple concept and apply it to your own life.

I loved that summer. As I will every summer yet to come. But I’m learning there is much to love about fall.

And winter.

And spring.

And as I move to the next season of my life, I’m going to make sure I love everything about what’s most important.

The lessons I’m living today.

Lesson 25: Lessons happen every day.