On a cool, windy afternoon in March just a few weeks ago, my dad and I set off to find out about a car that was for sale at a local auto dealer. My dad had just turned 50. Instead of getting into the whole idea of the mid-life crisis, where he should have typically gotten a new sports car, he got a red station wagon. “Why this one?” was all I could say, over and over again.
The kicker for me was that the trade-in for this station wagon was an awesome Dakota Sport Truck, and the best thing about it was that it was orange and it was mine to drive! I loved this truck, it was cool, it had power, and it got exchanged for a station wagon. I thought about crying when I saw what my dad wanted to trade the truck in for, but kept my composure and realized that he was going to make up his own mind. In the end, it was going to be up to my dad. He was going to choose whatever he wanted, but the fact that he valued my opinion was enough to show how much he appreciated my view on the whole situation.
My dad loves to kayak, and has several of his own boats. His transportation of the kayaks is the cars we drive. Occasionally, I join in the adventure of kayaking with him, and now we get to experience it together in the new car. It worked out for everyone in the end because not only do I not have to drive it, but my dad has a new vehicle that gets better gas mileage and can hold a kayak properly on the top. The little red wagon was not so bad after all. I still admit that the car is lame, but if it makes my dad happy, then it makes me happy.
I believe in making others happy. I told my dad that I did not like the car, but if it was what he wanted then I was not going to prevent him from buying the car. Of course if I would have complained enough, then I could have gotten my way and kept the truck, but this decision was about what he wanted, not what I wanted. Until I saw that, I was never going to like his choice. Giving up the truck was a sacrifice that I had to make, but thinking about this situation had made me realize that my dad has sacrificed so much more for me. For a change, it was about making my dad happy. This example may seem petty, but thinking of him rather than myself has made me happy as well. His happiness in turn creates more happiness for me, and how could I be happy if I only did things for myself? I would end up being a selfish, egotisitical, self-centered person who never thinks of anyone’s happiness but my own. I am not that kind of person nor do I ever want to become that kind of person. Thanks to the new station wagon, I better understand why I believe so strongly in making others happy.