My father was a Drill Sargent before I was born. Our upbringing was a disciplined upbringing as it was my father’s natural nature. In addition, my father was a man that all through my life I never saw him display any fear. In fact, the only time I heard him speak of fear was when he knew he was dying of pancreatic cancer and he mentioned it once. But as we took care of him and until the day of his death he demonstrated incredible strength and faced this fear head on. He has always been the biggest example of courage I have ever known.
In our old neighborhood we always played hide and seek with all the neighborhood kids. One evening some of the kids were attempting to hide in a neighbors bushes and the owner of the house was not pleased. I could understand that people want privacy of their property, but this man was over the top. He started physically threatening the kids who were around 10 to 12 years old. My older brother was around 16 years old at the time so he tried to intervene, which escalated the situation. The man of that house started to move in towards my brother.
My father was at home meeting with a Real Estate Agent signing papers as we were planning to move. A neighborhood kid ran to our house and yelled through our house window, “Mr. Villareal, some man is threatening Chris down the street!” My father did not hesitate. He immediately came outside with the Real Estate Agent looking on. My father started walking down the street toward the gentlemen’s house with all the neighborhood kids starting to walk behind him. It was like a scene to a movie.
As my father approached, the man stood still seeing my father was getting closer. My father took off his watch, placed it in his pocket and made the statement, “If you want to fight its time you pick on someone your own size!” The night was incredibly silent. Eventually the other man backed down. That is a good thing, as no one really wanted it to escalate. You cannot imagine the pride I took as a 12 year old kid in the fact that this was my father. Growing up there are many stories about my dad that match this one. He never hesitated to protect us. Thankfully no harm ever came to him in those situations.
As the years passed I was in business with my father. Through the years my dad was always larger than life, and he always provided. But what was amazing is my father’s history. He lacked a higher education, yet was a partner is a business and provided well for his family. The business we were in together was actually part of his retirement. He wanted to own a market and turned it into a success. When we would discuss my future he wanted me to understand one key thing. He stated, “Fear is between success and failure.” I asked him to explain. My father explained that fear was natural and that humans will fear. The difference is with fear we would have to decide which direction we would go. Fear could drive us to failure as we allow it to make us freeze and not take action. Fear could also drive us to success as we could attack it, build plans to overcome it, and even learn to embrace it. This one lesson told me everything about my father.