I often wondered where I got my love for the English language and prose from. And just recently, it hit me-from my parents. Neither of my parents are considered professional writers, nor have they been published. However, they are both indeed writers in their own right. My mother is an avid reader and journaler. Every night my mother chronicles her day. She documents her thoughts and feelings, what she ate, what she wore, or what the family did that day. She even has a special designated desk in her upstairs loft to do so. This is a practice she adopted as a pre-teen and a tradition she has kept throughout her adult life.
My father on the other hand, always has a stack of standard-sized index cards held together with a small gym clip. He can inevitably be found sitting jotting down ideas, devising a to-do list, or concocting goals for himself or devising processes and procedures to achieve said goals. At one point, during the height and popularity of Palm Pilots (Professional PDA Organizer) and Blackberries, he adopted that as a means to chronicle his day; however, he ultimately ditched it and prefers the antiquated pen-to-paper method. To date, if you ask my father a question, he will write, draw, illustrate or explain on one of the index cards. Likewise, the pen-to-paper method was always championed in my household growing up. Former President Thomas Jefferson once said, “The dullest pencil will always remember more than the sharpest mind.”
My father being an Army Infantryman with over 25 years of military service, he is always practical, logical, methodical or any other adjective that can be used to describe an individual that is deliberate and calculated with their actions. Undoubtedly, my father echoed that sentiment and he always encouraged my three sisters and I to brainstorm our ideas by writing them down, curate unique ideas through mind mapping, and create and check off to-do-lists. So, it came to me, I am a hybrid of both of my parents, nonetheless, I have adopted my father’s ways the most. I am a lover of language that enjoys expressive writing like my mother, but I can be technical and dissect, critique, and analyze material like my father. Whenever I devise an idea, campaign, article, business plan, etc… I rarely, if ever, begin by typing on a computer first. I begin with pen and paper, although archaic in this technological age, I prefer to jot down my ideas, mind map, scratch through words, or crumple paper until I can visually see my thoughts come together on the paper like I did with this very article. And, I have dozens of legal pads at home to prove it.
Aside from having a love for writing, I also enjoy indulging in self-help literature and motivational podcasts. My father always encouraged self-awareness and garnering ways to improve areas in which an individual may lack through seeking knowledge. To that point, about a years ago, I discovered Lewis Howes, a renowned author, entrepreneur, and former professional athlete who hosts a podcast entitled ‘The School of Greatness.’ The podcast produces long-forum conversations with varied high-profile guests on topics of business leadership, personal, development, and entrepreneurship. At the conclusion of the podcast, Howes always asks his guests to name three truths that people can remember them by-lessons that they can share with the world considering there is no social media or any other digital platform to recall their lives, I am always intrigued by the answers the guests give as they serve as an oracle for themselves and mankind in general. And suddenly, I had an “ah hah moment,” a phrase Oprah Winfrey coined to describe a personal awakening or epiphany. With all the writing my father does, the cumulation of knowledge, the curation of thoughts, ideas, and goals he invests in writing on those index cards, wouldn’t it be great for him to sum up his life experiences with his truths on one of his index cards? So, in preparation for this article, I called my father and gave him an assignment, which he executed with thoughtfulness and precision. Below is his finished product in his own words and handwriting. He actually devised four instead of three.
I will forever reference this index card. My father has taught me several lessons throughout life and unknowingly prompted my writing career by equipping me with the ability to be a free thinker, analyze information, take a deliberate and methodical approach to solving life’s problems, and most importantly the power of a pen! I carry him with me everywhere I go. After all, when I’m at my best and utilizing the skills he’s taught me, I am my father’s daughter. And now, my father is officially a published writer.