Science

These are the most memorable things my father taught me.

First, to put things in perspective,  you need to know a bit about my father- who he was- to better understand the import of his thoughts and evaluate his wisdom.

Dad was 90 when he passed away in 2012 and he’s buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He had been a pilot dad deserved a medalstarting way back in World War II where he flew medium range B-25 Billy Mitchell bombers.  He was a WW II hero, he’d won the Distinguished Flying Cross, and multiple other medals some of them up to 5 times.

During the war, he’d lost his best friend, most of his flight crew, and refused to talk much about it. I did learn that flak had taken off a good part of one wing, as well as much of his tail and rudder, and he had to limp home to his base more than once.  

Good thing he made it. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here- like I said in another article- we are all lottery winners in life just to be alive.

Dad was a product of the Great Depression and had worked since he was 14. He was truly part of what Tom Brokaw calls “The Greatest Generation”.

He was a self motivated man. He’d been an NCAA champion gymnast and while in the service, had put himself through college, then went on to obtain an MBA from a top 10 university and finally retired as a regular (as opposed to reserve) USAF senior officer back in 1967.  

Dad was among other things, a mathematician. I loved learning from him. He was a great teacher. He taught me analytical and reasoning skills. It was from him that I learned to back away from a problem to be solved and look at it from every direction possible.

Sometimes what seems complicated, even unsolvable has an easy, workable solution if you come at it from a different direction. You won’t know if you don’t look.

I look at most every question or problem that way even today.

Dad also had me learn to manipulate numbers and understand the cause and effect of changes in equations. We always did them by hand, on paper, though with a slide-rule, as hand held calculators and computers were yet to be developed.

I still feel using a hand held calculator diminishes the process and full understanding of maths.

He’d always told me to spend idle time improving my health by exercising and by watching what I ate,  or improving my mind by reading, learning, and doing.  

That might have seemed a platitude at the time, but they were wise words. I still adhere to them- maybe not always the eat part.

I have no idea what my children would say if asked to answer this question about me, but as for my dad- he taught me a lot.

How about your dad or mom? What important things did they teach you?

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