Category Archives: Life lessons

It’s What Matters, Isn’t It?

“You may delay, but time will not.”

—Benjamin Franklin

Today’s story is about Peter O’ Malley.

Time with those we love. It’s what matters, isn’t it?

time with those we love

Peter O’Malley with his wife, Mary in 1976 at his daughter’s wedding.

Peter O’Malley was running his delivery route for Schaefer Beer on the evening of July 6, 1976. Suddenly, a heart attack dragged him down to the cold, linoleum floor at the Bohack grocery store in Port Jefferson Station, New York.

As he started to lose consciousness, he had only one thought, his daughter’s wedding a few months away. Who would walk her down the aisle?

Fortunately, a dentist and nurse were in the vicinity, administered CPR, and O’Malley went on to make a full recovery. A few months later, his daughter did get married, “and there he was, walking me down the aisle,” she fondly remembers.

O’Malley was 57 at the time of his heart attack. He lived another 37 years to age 93. He was there for the births of 11 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.

Because of his near visit with death, Peter O’Malley recognized the point of it all.

time with those we love

Peter holding one of his great grandsons.

Time with those we love. It’s what matters, isn’t it?

The Successful Bethel

“Never fret for an only son, the idea of failure will never occur to him.”

—George Bernard Shaw

Today’s story is contributed by Dr. Klee Bethel.

When Savvy Dad asked me to share my dad’s best lesson, only one person came to mind — my son.

life success

Klee with David, his son, and grandsons Caden (age 13) and Brenner (age 8)

Growing up, I was taught that success was defined in terms of wealth and influence. A “successful” man had a tailor-fit wardrobe, a lavish home, and enough cars to fill an oversized garage.

As an ambitious young man, I saw my path to success in the medical field. In time I became a prominent doctor. A success, I thought. I tried to pass on my idea of success to my son, David. It was my duty, right?

But David didn’t see it my way. We were close in his adolescent years — best friends, I would say. But in his teenage years, we started to grow apart. I didn’t approve of his GPA in school. He didn’t approve of my second wife.

By the time David turned 20, and had his first son, we were estranged. I didn’t approve. His choices were all wrong. No college? Working as a waiter? His new wife merely a receptionist?

As a physician, I had made a good living, but eventually went bankrupt when the economy fell. I also divorced my second wife. As it turned out, I was not the portrait of success I had envisioned as a youth.

But my son… Today, at 33 years old, he is the most talented food server in the restaurant. He is deeply in love with his lovely wife, Sedina. They have two wonderful boys, Caden and Brenner, now 13 and 8. My son and his family live a remarkably happy life.

My son’s prescription for success is simple — being an amazing husband and a fantastic father to my grandsons.


David, Sedina, Caden, and Brenner.

After my second divorce, I finally “woke up.” I realized that my formula for success was shortsighted and wrong. My son was more successful than I had ever been. So, I decided to adopt his vision for success as my own!

Today, I am dedicated to being the best dad and granddad I can possibly be. I visit my son at his restaurant frequently. I attend my grandson’s football games. My daughter-in-law works with me in my medical practice.

As parents, David and Sedina have structured their lives to revolve around their kids. As a granddad, I now structure my life to revolve around them.

I always felt it was my paternal duty to show my son the path to happiness in life. Now, I look to him to show me the way. I consider it an honor to be part of his life.

Of the two of us, my son is The Successful Bethel.


Klee with grandson, Caden

Klee Bethel practices Interventional Pain Management in Mesa, AZ at the Beth-El Clinic. He is a board certified MD anesthesiologist who has focused on pain intervention for the past 12 years. Dr. Bethel has been an Emeritus member of the Board of Trustees at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine since retiring as its Chairman in 2009. He practices the art of medicine in both a traditional and non-traditional fashion. Dr. Bethel is also an associate medical school professor teaching a class in plant-based nutrition.

Best at Last

“Our best successes often come after our greatest disappointments.”

—Henry Ward Beecher

Today’s story is contributed by William Homeier.

May 31, 1954
Lap 74 — The Indianapolis 500

wrong way

Homeier “swimming upstream” at Indy 500, 1954.

Dad pulled into the pit. The clutch had been giving him trouble all day.

Before his crew could finish, the clutch engaged.

The car spun around, slammed into the sidewall, and careened down the track in the opposite direction!

Not a good day for my dad.

My father still holds an Indy world record — the most laps ever completed by a last place finisher. Not the notoriety he was hoping for.

Did that set him back? Not MY dad! He was Texas-born and raised. When you got bucked off the bull, you got up, dusted off, and did it again.

midget car race

Midget car racing

After breaking his arm midget car racing in ’56, Dad bounced back to qualify for Indy again in ’58. However, like in ’54, it didn’t work out. Mechanical issues kept him out of the race.

Finally, in 1960, Dad’s luck changed — he finished 13th in the Indianapolis 500! While he didn’t win the race, it was more of a victory for Dad than it was for the guy who finished first.

Years later, in 1990, my father was interviewed in a special “Where Are They Now” article for The Star newspaper.

The headline?
“Homeier was best at being last.”

He laughed it off. That was my dad. Resilient. Loaded with get up and try again grit.

The lesson I learned from my Best at Last dad?

Winners don’t always cross the line first… but they never stop running the race.

Bill Homeier — my dad — A winner in every sense of the word.

Best at last

Truckin’ with Dad

“It’s like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

—E.L. Doctorow

Today’s story is contributed by Marchell Mascheck

just being with dad

Sometimes, just being with dad is the lesson.

My father — a truck driver back in Kansas City, where we grew up.

My first driving lesson — a dark, deserted highway. It was very late at night.

Back then, cars didn’t have seat belts. They were giant, clunky vehicles with massive, oversized steering wheels. This was not exactly the most conducive configuration for a driving lesson, especially since I was three years old!

Yes, that’s right. A toddler. Daddy let me stand on the bench seat next to him. I was just tall enough to wrap my tiny arm around his large neck.

It was a simple and quiet experience, yet it remains one of the most profoundly memorable moments of my life. I can still remember standing on the leather seat, my feet faintly bouncing on the hard, uncushioned springs beneath.

Resting my head on Daddy’s shoulder, we just cruised down that black, empty highway for miles.

It was the best driving lesson of all time. Just being with dad. Sometimes it’s the only lesson in life — just being with those you love.

just being with dad

Family Portrait with Marchell (front right)

Marchell was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. She attended University of Houston and St. Thomas University. She has been married to her husband, Carl, for 28 years and counting. She is a recruiter for The Alexander Group, and spends her leisure time traveling and honing her photography skills. She is also an avid motorcycle racing fan.

It “Runs” in the Family

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”

—Oprah Winfrey

Today’s story is contributed by Sarah Mitchell.

One of the greatest lessons Dad ever taught me — it’s never too late to pursue a new passion.

never too old

Sarah, the youngest, sitting right in front of her dad.

He was 40 years old. Out of shape. He started running, a little bit each day. Every day, he ran a little farther. Eventually, it became a six-mile a day habit, and something that gave new passion to his life.

And it “runs” in the family, literally — Dad took my sister and me with him to his weekend races, where he almost always picked up a trophy for being the fastest in his age bracket. My sister and I caught the bug and have been ritual runners ever since. As I move into my own fourth decade, I find myself pursuing new passions very naturally, like surfing and aerial arts (think trapeze).

The Problem With Privilege

“Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful.
Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”

―John Wooden

Today’s story is about Johnny Manziel.

There is tension in Texas. In a state where football is religion, and star quarterbacks revered, the hot topic is 20-year-old Jonathan Manziel, aka “Johnny Football.”

Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel accepting the Heisman Trophy, 2012

Will he lead another record-breaking season for Texas A&M? Or will his off-field missteps lead to a major disappointment for thousands of Aggies?

Last year, Johnny became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. He is one of five quarterbacks (and the only freshman) in NCAA history to pass for 3,000, and run for 1,000 yards, in a single season.

The problem? One day, he is the iconic football hero. The next, he is arrested in an altercation supposedly involving racial slurs and a fake drivers license. Recently, it’s alleged he accepted money for signing autographs. That could make him ineligible to play.

You Are Never Too Old For Training Wheels

“Music is moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”


Today’s story is story is contributed by Rebekah.

Training Wheels

Rebekah and her dad

Coaxed out of a deep slumber. A soft trumpet moaning out Reveille. But I am not a soldier in the barracks. I’m seven years old, snuggled in bed. This was Dad’s way of waking us up. And at bedtime, he played Taps.

My dad — the Music Man. He used music to speak, to teach, to show his love. I fondly remember dancing on the kitchen table as a toddler, Dad and I singing along to Bob Marley’s Buffalo Soldier.

He played trumpet as a kid, but eventually moved on to guitar. I still remember the first song he played for us, He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands. Over the years, Dad played many instruments (bass, drums, Native American flute, didgeridoo), but came back to the guitar later in life. READ MORE