Discipline: If I so much as squirmed in church, I could expect a painful snap in my ear, and not necessarily the closest one, as he would put his arm around me and boom. Then the other extreme, say prom night, there would be no curfew. If I was up to milk and do chores at 5:30 the next morning, it was fine with him. I liked his approach on the latter and learned from the former.
Work ethic: Helping milk cows seven days a week sort of makes the point. He set a great example as to work ethic, but in many ways he was not patient, so if I didn’t catch on quickly, he would just do it. Because I wasn’t instantly a good welder, I almost never got to weld. Then there were experiences like on a windmill, when he made it clear that if I had to hold on with both hands, I was no value to him. In addition to developing a strong work ethic, I learned the value of having patience when I interact with others, including young people today, as a way of helping them reach their full potential.
Public service: Dad’s meager education (only son with four sisters) didn’t start in the fall until farm work was finished and ended quickly in the spring as soon as needed on the farm. Despite this, my Dad evolved into a very strong and effective leader at the local and state level. He was a strong leader on grade and high school boards of education and was President of the American Dairy Association of Kansas for many years. In addition, he served on the County Zoning Board and then, in retirement, was a significant fundraiser for Bethany College. There is no question that his example set the path for much of what I have done, and for that, I am forever grateful.