Lessons learned from dad
I’m a lucky girl who gets to wish her dad a 95th birthday in person on June 20. Dad, or Russell Wyatt as he is known to others, is a great example of a self-made success story. He works hard, has integrity, a sense of humor and is generous, among other fine traits. You never know what memories may surface nor what lessons parents impart in living their everyday lives. Kids do pay attention and understand more than a parent might imagine.
My first memory of “working” with Dad is when I was 4 years old. He would load square bales of alfalfa hay on the back of his pickup and take me along to feed the cows. Once in the pasture, he stood in the back of the pickup while I “drove.” He threw one bale out at a time and bucked it as he dropped it so the binder twine would break and the bale broke into sections. Dad put the pickup into low gear so it moved slowly. My job was to steer and gently keep turning the steering wheel. Farm kids begin to learn work ethic as they are shown early that they are a part of the farm or ranch operation. This trait follows them through life, whether they are working in agriculture or not.
In a conversation when I was about 5, Dad told me his goal was to own 100 cows and that someday he wanted to be an appraiser. That taught me a bit about goal setting, planning and reaching those goals, all attributes of successful individuals. As many say, a dream without a goal is just a dream. When Dad was able to do it, he got a real estate license, then became a realtor, and finally, an appraiser. He is still appraising at historic Hot Springs, S.D., Wyatt’s Real Estate and Appraisal Service, and his younger son, Patrick, is now his partner in that business.
My brother Jerry and I got to ride along with Dad sometimes when he went to the livestock sale barn. Whether both of us kids went on the same day or went separately, we always compared notes about how many bottles of pop we got Dad to buy us. That may have clued us in on the power of persuasion. Or it may have been Dad’s way of indulging us.
During the Covid mess Dad finished writing many stories that he had worked on over the years and published the book, The Farmer Goes to Town, with many details of his life’s work. Perseverance and recalling memories were the lessons here. He has one gift I can’t match and that is his memory. As shown in his book he can recall every job he’s ever had, how much he was paid, each vehicle, including tractors, he owned and what he paid. He still has books available, just give him a call.
Although Dad taught me much more, I certainly learned the lessons of work ethic, goal setting, persuasion and perseverance.
Happy Birthday and Happy Father’s Day, Dad!
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