“Merlynism’s” : Things My Father Taught Me

Words to Live By

Merlyn George Wolfe: Born Sept 23, 1921

When my father passed suddenly, it didn’t register with me just how young he was and how much he would be missed. Through the lens of children – even adult children, our parents seem old to us.

Dad left a mark with those he touched and as I myself get older; I find his wisdom resonating with me frequently – so much so that I often quote him to my own offspring – his grandchildren – hoping that his sage words will live on through multiple other generations.

Maybe it’s watching father time creep up on me. Maybe I am getting melancholy as the days drift by. As a younger man, I didn’t appreciate his simple yet profound advice, as I was too busy conquering the world. His lessons are still applicable in the world in which we live – timeless in their impact.

Dad was an uncomplicated man with a grade 10 education, yet through hard physical work and an ability to simplify complicated things, kindness and empathy, left a wake of respect and admiration among those he touched.

I continue to use many of these “Merlynisms” as pillars to guide me in my own life.

Life According to Merlyn

A Swashbuckling Younger Man
  • If you borrow something from someone, always return it in better condition than you found it. You will always be able to borrow again.
  • Always do more than you are asked to do. You will build a reserve in your “favours owed” bank account. Never let that bank account become depleted.
  • Save for a rainy day.
  • You will never feel guilty about asking for help, if you have given more than you expect to receive.
  • While you are sleeping, someone more ambitious and determined is outworking you.
  • Look around you, there is always something to be done.
  • Ask how you can help – don’t wait to be asked.
  • Never strive for mediocrity, there is already too much of that in the world.
  • Never look back. You can’t change your past, but you can impact your future.
  • Treat ALL people with compassion and respect.
  • If you are willing to get dirty, you will never be out of a job.
  • No matter what you choose to do in life, be remembered for making a difference.
Dad and cousin Ivan Berdan – The conversation was lively when they got together.
  • You will make more money with your brain than with your hands.
  • You will never be a millionaire working for someone else.
  • Be a positive influence on those around you.
  • Make a difference in someone’s life.
  • Walk away from any deal that requires you to relinquish your integrity. If you lose that, you have nothing left.
  • Be prepared to walk away from a deal until you get the deal you want
  • In negotiating, try to make each party feel like it was a win.
  • Never forget those that have made a difference in your life, the people that helped you, nor where you came from to get where you are today.
  • Never fool with a fool.
  • One of the most powerful words in the world is “THANKS”. Use it frequently and mean it.
One of Dad’s Favourite Pastimes
  • The right thing to do is not always the easy thing to do
  • Treat everyone the same from janitor to CEO regardless of culture, gender, or place in society. They are all people worthy of your respect.
  • Everyone has a story – take the time to hear it. It can be humbling and life changing.
  • We are fortunate to have been born into a society with opportunity before us. What you do with that opportunity is up to you.
  • You alone are responsible for your own life and own decisions.
  • No one is here to hand you anything. You have to earn it.
  • If you are looking for the answer to success, you only need to look in the mirror.
  • Life can be hard. Excuses are for cowards.
  • Face adversity with courage and resolve.
  • How you handle your mistakes will define your character
  • When you make a mistake, face up to it and move on. Humility is good for the soul.
Fruits of his Labour
  • Remain humble in the face of praise.
  • If you ask others about themselves, you can often avoid talking about yourself.
  • You can’t eat track soup. You have to do the work do earn the prize
  • Your instincts are seldom wrong. Learn to trust your gut.
  • Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
  • Tackle the tough jobs first, it will make the rest of the tasks seem easy.
  • Believe half what you see and none of what you hear
  • You will slide further on bullshit than gravel. Learn to communicate with grace and dignity
  • If you are going to party all night, you better be prepared to answer the bell in the morning.
  • Things have a way of working out
  • Every day is a good day, some are just better than others

Thanks Dad, for sharing the wisdom I didn’t understand as a young man – but for the sagacity to embrace and share as I got older.

Merlyn George Wolfe: Passed April 24, 1993

Your lessons have travelled well.

12 responses to ““Merlynism’s” : Things My Father Taught Me”

  1. Mostly I remember that your Dad was always kind to me. He also struck me as a thoughtful man, and I am not surprised he passed on so much wisdom. He left us too soon. I will always remember him fondly.

    • Thanks Wynne,

      We tend to see our parents differently than others do. However, as we age and with experience, we often see through the haze of our youth.


  2. Your Dad was a very wise and loving man !
    He was a man of integrity and lived what he preached! Loved Uncle Merlyn very much! ❤️

    • Hi Dianne and Happy Birthday!

      Yes, dad was among other things a man of integrity and morality. He seems to be in my mind more as I age.


  3. Remember Merlyn well Kent. While I am the oldest left at the hunting camp that he and his brother built years before we got it. We talk and remember about Merlyn often, I quote him often to the young guys that are now taking over the camp, I just wish he was here today to talk to the young boys at the camp now.

    PS had covid and was not at camp this year, the youngest boys both got deer


    • Hey Dale,

      Coincidentally, I got covid as well right before hunting. None of our group went as a result. First time in over 30 years that I missed.

      The “camp” was dad’s happy place. He shot 36 deer over the years he hunted there – many while dogging. He certainly had a knack that never got passed down to me lol. Glad the boys got a couple. That makes it all worthwhile.

      Apparently Dakota ran into my son Geoff at the ESS Narrows. We had an axel issue with a boat trailer (long story). Had to make a special trip to pick it up and get it back home on the top of another trailer. Tell Dakota we appreciate the offer to help.

      Hope you are feeling better. Mine only lasted a few days, but Karen was down for about 3 weeks. It was tough on her.

      Say hi to Mary.


    • Thanks Mike,

      Dad always held his nieces and nephews in high esteem. He was certainly a man of honour and integrity.

      Hope you and Adele are well.


  4. I loved your dad Kent. Always made sure we were all bundled up and warm when we went on our night snowmobiling rides. Great man!!

  5. My memory of Merlyn was watching him drive up to our farm with his combine and/or his dump truck. He would invariably be wearing his grey engineers overalls. If memory serves me, we also housed a herd of beef cattle for your dad. I aphorism I remember is, “Never fool with a fool”

    • One of dad’s favourite sayings was “Charlie Chalk says – never fool with a fool” ALWAYS preceded with “Charlie Chalk says”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *