Day 9 (21 Days of Gratitude)

I have been off the grid for three days with the Thanksgiving holiday, but that is no excuse.  I will be back to blogging my gratitude each evening.

In my writing and discussions in the past, I have talked about my educational heroes, and how they have shaped my educational beliefs.  These people are incredibly important to me, but they do not even come close to my true hero.  Many of you who have known me for a number of years have heard me talk about the influence that he has had on me; the guy is tremendous.  Simply stated, my dad is the hardest working and most knowledgeable person I have ever seen.

Three generations of the Butler Boys: Dean, Dan, Nolan, and Mason
He has fixed my vehicles, catcher’s mitts, kitchen sinks, garage doors, and heaters more than I would like to admit.  A couple of years ago, I was having issues with my garage door, and to no surprise, I had to call him to save the day.  Afterwards, we spent about an hour talking in my driveway about the challenges of leadership.  My father worked at John Deere for more than 35 years, but I truly feel he would have lit the educational world on fire.  I was complaining about some recent struggles and he challenged my thinking by breaking out the big guns.  There are two phrases that he has said to me hundreds of times in the past thirty-five years: “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” and “Try your best and forget about the rest.”  These phrases are simple, but powerful.  We create our own luck through hard work, determination, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.  We can control certain things, and there are many more that we cannot; life is too short to focus on things beyond our control.  I encourage you to reflect on my father’s words when you are planning and working with people.  Take risks, give everything your best, have fun, and be nice.  I love my father and I hope you have someone in your life who pushes you the way he has pushed me.  I cannot adequately express the gratitude that I have for my dad in words; he is simply the best.

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