I was in training last week @ Advanced Instructor Conference with over 300 construction instructors. One day the topic of our class was “How to Give Constructive Feedback to a Student”. Our facilitator asked our class of twelve students if we had a memory of someone teaching us something and correcting us when we did it wrong. I shared the following story:
It was back in 1967- 68 when we lived in Fresno Ca on E. Swift Street, that my Dad (Dale Hopper) taught me a lesson. We were laying brick and building patio tables, benches and a Bar-B-Q pit with a sink and cabinets underneath.
He asked me to bring him some bricks in a wheel barrow and he showed me how to load them so it would not be too heavy. I remember that I got just a few feet when the wheel barrow turned over. My Dad came again and showed me how to load the wheel barrow and then he showed me how to control the wheel barrow. If it starts to turn over you simply set the wheel barrow down and hold the handle bars down.
At that time I was a little fellow and the handle bars were wide and higher than my waist. But I succeeded in getting him the bricks he needed.
The facilitator asked me what my Dad had shown when he was teaching me to load the brick and use the wheel barrow. I told her patience and she agreed with me. Then the other 11 students from around the United States and Canada made the following observations from their thoughts about the lesson:
He modeled- He showed me how to load the brick & control the wheel barrow.
He was very supportive of me- by believing in me and giving me another chance.
He used reinforcement- by showing me again this is how you do it.
He used praise when I succeeded and finally got the brick to him. Then I was trying to load more brick and with stacking them right I was able to move bigger loads without too much trouble.
As I looked back 46 years ago to the lesson my Dad taught me and I realize that later I would become involved with building churches, houses then follow my Granddad and Dad into the Laborers Union to build bridges, roadways and refineries among other things.
But it took a trip to Chicago to an Advanced Instructor Conference to really teach me what I learned from the lesson taught to me so long ago.
Then I thought of the many churches that my folks have been privileged to be a part of from Fresno CA to Jacksonville FL, Houston TX, to San Jose CA, to Lexington NC and finally retiring in Apopka FL.
How many others did my Dad teach lessons to and how many others did he exhibit the same traits of patience, modeling, support, reinforcement and praise? Only eternity will tell but I am sure that it has been many for which we are grateful for all you have done and continue to do Happy Father’s Day to the best Dad!