Memories made: Lessons for credit unions we can learn from our dads

As Father’s Day has just passed and Independence Day is just around the corner, I take a step back to reminisce about how most of our holiday weekends during the summer were spent – at a rodeo. For years we spent the two weekends traveling to a rodeo to watch family or when we were old enough, my brother and I would be competing ourselves. In fact, the Independence Day weekend is often referred to as “Cowboy Christmas”, because of the abundance of rodeos over July 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Needless to say, rodeo has been a big part of both Father’s Day and the Independence Day weekend for our family, for my cowboy dad and my husband, too. 

See, a year ago, over Father’s Day weekend, after a rodeo that my husband was in, we told our families that they would get to be grandparents. They were overjoyed and excited for their grandchild to come. Now, at over 5 months old, that handsome little boy has his grandparents wrapped around his finger. 

Recently, a coworker asked me what my favorite thing about being a new parent was. Without much hesitation, I said, “Seeing my husband, as a dad and our parents, as grandparents.” The truth is, many of my friends and other parents told me to be prepared for the emotional roller coaster of parenthood. However, none of them prepared me for the joy I would feel when seeing my husband, parents and in-laws with our baby. 

So, in honor of Father’s Day that has just passed, and the upcoming Cowboy Christmas as we like to call it, here’s a few things I’ve learned watching the cowboys in our family, like my husband, my brother in law, my own father and my father-in-law, become dad’s and grandpas. 

You’ll Learn as You Go: Seeing the dads in our lives like my husband, my dad, my brother in-law and father-in law with our son is like pure magic. At first, the nurses had to teach my husband how to hold our child, how to hold a bottle up for him and yes, how to change a diaper. But he got the hang of it in no time and is now ‘super dad’ as I call him. The same went for our sons’ grandpas. They forgot how to hold babies and were worried they would hurt him. But, every day and minute that goes by with them and our son, they’ve learned. Their love for him is so pure and grows stronger by the day. As our son grows, he’s learning, but the wonderful dads in his life are also learning, too. They all remind me that no matter what we’re doing, we never stop learning.

Take Time to Play: Having a baby has really changed my husband, my dad and my father in law’s mindset about just slowing down. It’s fun to see how they all now take time to lay and play with our son, read him books, shake his toys, help him roll and more. The other stuff can wait. Having our son grow, learn and laugh, cannot. The time we take to sit down, laugh, enjoy baby giggles and join together as a family is one of the greatest gifts I could ever ask for. In our fast paced world, filled with technology, social media, and hand-held games, it’s important to not forget face-to-face communication; to not forget how to simply enjoy being in one another’s presence; to not forget to slow down and enjoy the little things in life; and to not forget how to laugh and feel emotion with others. 

It’s Not Always About You: It’s funny how when you have a child, life changes and things you did selfishly before, you can’t now. It’s not about you, it’s about them. It seems so much that my husband or dad will ask how Clayton is first, as they should. Your child is the center of your plans, dreams, goals, and more. It’s the same at your credit union. It’s not always about you, and meeting your goal numbers every month. It’s about the member; it’s about giving them the attention they need and finding out what you can do to help them. 

Just Do your Best: Those that know me, know I share this story about my dad often. See, before every single rodeo event I used to compete in- Breakaway roping, Barrel Racing and Pole Bending, my dad would come up to me as I sat on my horse, look me in the eye, pat my leg, and say “Do your Best, Kate”. It was like clockwork. Whether he realized it or not, he taught me so much in those three words: Do Your Best. Now, as first-time parents, my husband and I are learning that we have to simply do our best, in raising our son. There are so many unknowns and scary times when we question if we’re parenting correctly, but my husband reminds me like my dad used to, that we have to just keep doing our best.  

See the thing is, if we’d simply give our all, do our best in every task we face, we can better ourselves in our career, inspire others, win awards, stand out from the crowd, develop new skills and more! If you’re not doing your best, then you’re operating at a lower level. You’re compromising your standards, and setting yourself up to accept substandard performances. Every day, in every aspect of our lives we have the option of doing our best work or something less. I hope you choose to do your best for all the reasons above, and simply because you can.

Remember That Some Things Aren’t for Sale: This may be the one lesson that sticks with me the most that I’ve learned growing up from my dad, and now the same goes for watching him become a grandpa: Some things aren’t for sale. The truth is, some things in life simply can’t be bought. You can’t buy hard work. You can’t buy honesty. You can’t buy the feeling of holding your new child, watching them smile and grow. Or seeing your husband and parents hold your child and all the fun they have with him. The same can be said in our office, you can’t buy the feeling you get when you help a young adult get their first car loan, or a newly married couple afford their first house. The older I get, it seems as if time passes by more quickly than ever. I now realize that there are so many things that our parents taught us, that I hope we can now pass on to our son. The point is, these memories and valuable time we can spend together can never be bought. The best “things” in life, aren’t things, they are memories and the time we have with others. Don’t forget to be thankful for these life moments, as they go by quickly.

So, while some of the best men I know and have had the privilege of knowing are cowboys—it’s fun to see these cowboys like my husband, my dad, and father-in-law now become dads and grandpas, themselves. I think it’s their best roles in life, yet.

Happy ‘late’ Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there and happy early ‘4th of July’.  I know where we will be over the 4th– at a rodeo of course! But, I hope you all have a wonderful day, making memories with your family.

Katie Nehl

Katie Nehl

A born and raised ranch girl from small town North Dakota, Katie started her credit union journey six years ago, with First Community Credit Union (FCCU). After working three years ... Web: Details

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