I recently heard a speaker say this, “I hated holding the flashlight for my Dad.”
The speaker continued on with his perspective of this simple little task. He told how as a little boy his Dad always asked him to hold the flashlight while working on various tasks that needed just a little more light. Fixing a blown fuse, a broken light fixture, switch, or something on the old Plymouth. What he remembers the most was when, (not if) the beam of light drifted from the work area, his Dad would snort which alerted this young man to pull the flashlight back into position. He hated doing this.
I remember these days as well.
As a youngster in the mid-1960s & ’70s, I held the flashlight and did many other simple tasks for my Dad.
I carried and fetched tools, pulled weeds, dug holes, filled holes, used a sickle, swept the shop floor, wire brushed the spots Dad welded, stuck welding rods in the holder (I was always scared I would get shocked), siphoned gasoline, sanded the wood & metal projects, washed the cars, washed engine parts in gasoline, hauled fuel oil for the furnace, scrapped paint, held pieces of metal and wood as my Dad cut them, welded nailed or glued them together, washed his truck, scrubbed the tires, planted potatoes (eyes up) and pulled the electrical wire through conduit. These are just a few of the little tasks that I did with my Dad as a child and young adult. Often as I did these and many other tedious tasks, my Dad stood watching and coaching me on how to do them right.
Back then I was not always happy doing that stuff.
Today, I appreciate that I got to do them for a couple of big reasons:
- I learned by watching my Dad. I learned to do electrical work, welding, gardening, plumbing, woodworking, and lots more stuff. I learned a lot. Today I can do all of these things myself. Not only has this saved me lots of money as I raised my own family, I also enjoy doing these things.
- I learned patience, attention to detail and doing things right. Dad was a stickler to doing it right the first time. No cutting corners or doing anything just to get it done. Do it right, or don’t do it is what I learned from my Dad.
When my girls were home I had them hold the flashlight for me. I snorted at them just a little bit when the beam of light fell away from the work area and they pulled the flashlight back into place. I hope they learned as much from me as I learned from my Dad.
Who is holding your flashlight and are they learning from you?
Happy Fathers Day Dad. I love you and treasure the days of holding the flashlight.