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“Words of Wisdom” From Our Dad

By Lorrie O’Leary Ritchie

From Our Dad
Judge Timothy O’Leary beside one of his favorite life sayings.

Recently, I enjoyed lunch with my Dad at First Watch in Corinth, one of his favorite places to eat after church. I shared with him how something he taught me as a young child still sticks with me today. Working as a Judge at the Courthouse in Downtown Kansas City for 20 years, he taught me to always show the same respect and kindness to the person operating the elevator as you would the head of a company.

He lived that out, greeting “Precious,” the elevator operator, every morning with a kind hello, thanking her for her help with the elevator, and wishing her a great day. To this day, it is important to me to show the same respect and kindness to others, no matter your position in life, as we are truly all the same, we just have different titles and backgrounds. No job is more important than another – they all matter and contribute to the success of a company. Dad and I both teared up a little, knowing the great value of such wisdom, something we both still strive to do today.

I asked my Dad to write an article sharing “Words of Wisdom” for the magazine, then decided rather to include things my four older brothers, younger sister and I hold dear as “Words of Wisdom” from our Dad over the years. Some “sayings” we laughed so hard at reading among ourselves, as they are things he would say that were not so much “inspirational,” but got the message across we needed to hear. Our Dad has a great sense of humor so we know some of the things he says are in part to be funny, but there is also a kernel of truth to it. For example, one saying, “Suck it up and get going!” is not “inspirational” per se, but something that reminds us to not feel sorry for ourselves, to be proud of yourself for trying (even if you fail), and to keep on keepin’ on! Another one, “It’s not all about you!” reminds us that life is not meant to be focused on yourself, but to think of others, help others, serve others, to not be consumed with looking out for number one or focused on just your own path to success, but to think of others along the way. We often joked that our Mom would say this to Dad more than him saying it to us. Good one, Mom! He would of course laugh, which made her laugh, thus the love-filled, humor-filled environment we so often enjoyed in our home. My parents made a great team!

Following is a copy of a letter he sent to his six kids last year, sharing some of his favorite inspirational sayings.

Dad also taught us, if you question whether you are making the right decision on something, imagine if it were printed on the front page of the paper. If it would embarrass you or your family, would you do it? (a good one, especially with all the social media we now have!)

For those who hold a grudge against your parent(s), the greatest gift you can give yourself
is the gift of forgiveness. Like each of us, our parents are human and often do the best they can based upon their upbringing, choices they made or that were made for them, whom they married, things they experienced in life, etc. If you are holding onto bitterness, anger, resentment or pain, the best thing you can do for yourself is forgive, as hard as that sometimes can be. Ask God to help you forgive your parent(s) if they have hurt or disappointed you in any way. The freedom you receive is worth it. And it may even open a door to a new and beautiful relationship you have not enjoyed before.

May one or more of these “Words of Wisdom” be a blessing to you or someone you love.

Dad, thank you for doing your best to love, guide, care for, and help all of your kids. We have been so blessed to have you and Mom as our parents! YOU are one of the GREATEST GIFTS we celebrate at CHRISTmas!

Love, Lor


Dear Family,

These are some great thoughts that will help you to deal with the ups and downs in life.

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.

Change your thoughts and you can change your world. (Norman Vincent Peale)

Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship. (Buddha)

I was taught to work and play all day, drop my troubles along the way and know that God is with me every day. (John D. Rockefeller)

Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.


To laugh often and to love much,

To win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children,

To earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends,

To appreciate beauty,

To find the best in others,

To leave the world a little better, whether by a child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition,

To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation,

To know even one life has breathed easier, because you have lived,

This is to have succeeded!


Love, Papa

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