Properly Optimistic Professionalism

Dr. Dale Henry POP

Let’s have a good POP’s Day!

Some of us call them Dad, Father, Daddy, Step Dad, Pop, or just the guy in the lousy PJs. No matter the handle, we’ve got to give the guys their due! Dads get their day, and it’s coming fast. If you are expecting a nostalgic, tear-jerking, heart-tugging blog, you’re going to be disappointed.

I called my dad Pop.

Dr Dale Henry
One of my favorite pictures with my Pop.

I never gave it much thought. It just seemed like the right thing to do. Pop was a man’s man, and he liked hunting and fishing and doing guy things with his son–his only son, only child. I learned tons of stuff from him.  He was a plethora of information, and the Funk and Wagnalls of all things fatherly. I can’t remember a day my Pop didn’t wear a tie to work. I can remember standing in the hall watching him tie his tie as Mom helped him with his collar. In reality, he did it for her—she liked ties!. At the end of the day, it was blue jeans and a flannel shirt. Fishing and hunting is the way I remember him best. He never played golf, didn’t care for baseball. He didn’t like basketball. His sport was football—University of Tennessee football. Like I said, he was a simple guy! He was a hugger, and when I was a boy I hated it, but as I got older I loved it! I never left my Pop without him telling me that he loved me. I could spend a lot of time telling you all the stuff I learned from him, but my favorites are included in this blog. He taught me about life.


Dr. Dale Henry Mother
Another one of my favorite pictures with my Pop. I’ve looked at this one for years and all I saw was me and my mom. True to Pop’s style, he was in the background the whole time!

Here are the 25 things I call Properly Optimistic Professionalism:

My Pop’s guidelines that I hope I have given my kids and grandkids.  Enjoy!

  1. Dress better than anyone in the room.
  2. Make people feel welcome and at home. Pop wasn’t a business success in the way most would judge successes. You never left a room that he was in, without knowing he would do what it took to make you feel welcome and at home.
  3. You can’t out-give a giver. He could tell when I was bored, whether it was fishing or hunting, and he always made me feel important and special. He taught me how to serve.
  4. Your language belongs to you.  You own what comes out of your mouth. Pop was a quite man who served his customers with courtesy and respect. He said four-letter words were not acceptable.
  5. If you lie, you had better have a good memory. He caught me lying once, and I was afraid of what he was going to do. Instead he told me liars are never respected. Truth-tellers are the story tellers of our hearts.
  6. You have not, because you ask not. He said the only people who end up in want are the ones who don’t convey their wishes out loud. I have never filled out a job application!
  7. Whiners whine; doers do. Whenever I felt like I was treated badly, I would hear this mantra. Things don’t change until we change them, and sometimes, that means changing ourselves or our attitudes.
  8. Dress for the sunshine, but take you umbrella. My Pop was always prepared. His tackle box was an insight to his brain. If you needed it, he had two of them, and he would give you the shirt off his back.
  9. Tell your face how you feel. Don’t let the world dictate your attitude! You must show others how happy you are, even when you aren’t having a great day.
  10. If you say you’re doing it, do it! Pop believed his word was his bond. He never said he would do something he did not do.
  11. It’s effort that sets your destiny. I was never allowed to say, “I can’t.” He hated the word can’t. He said nothing will ever happen until you believe it to be so.
  12. We don’t own anything. God just lets us use it. Pop loved nature and always picked up others’ trash. This is God’s front yard. Leave it like He gave it to us.
  13. Don’t ask someone for something without giving it back better than when you got it. Pop wasn’t just talking about stuff–he meant everything.
  14. Don’t make work for your mother. If I left something for my mom to do, I was in big trouble.  I was his son, but my mom was his life. It has taught me to love my wife first!
  15. You don’t have to work harder to be nice. I did not have to say, “Yes, sir,” to my Pop, but I better never forget to say it to someone else.
  16. You don’t have to be smart to succeed, just start with success in mind. Pop loved to prove to me that smart doesn’t always guarantee success. Common sense isn’t very common. Start with success in mind, not how to prove how smart you are.
  17. Don’t worry that you forgot someone’s name. Worry that you forgot who they were. Pop loved to introduce people by why they were important to him. I love name tags, but people love why you remember them.
  18. You will be judged by who you hang out with. He would tell me if you are the smartest or best person in your group, get a new group that stretches you.
  19. Easy stuff doesn’t stretch you as a person. If you always do what’s easy, there is no challenge.
  20. Don’t ask God for stuff you want, ask God for stuff you can’t do. Pop would say, “God isn’t Santa Claus!”
  21. If you are going to eat two frogs, eat the biggest and ugliest one first. Do things you dread first, then you get to finish with the easy stuff and go home happy.
  22. If there is smoke, there is fire; so bring water. Be useful no matter what the need.  Be the giver.
  23. Work hard, play more. Pop put importance on time for family.  He never had a lot of money, but he was rich.
  24. You don’t get an allowance. You earn one. Pop disliked lazy people. He believed in a hand up, not a hand out.
  25. You catch fish, because you pay attention to the bait. Pop had a way of only helping if you needed it.
  26. The world is big; focus on the small stuff. Pop never traveled a lot. He said there were things in his yard he hadn’t seen yet.

Thanks, Pop. I miss you. I hope I made you proud.

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