My dad is the smartest guy I know. Ask him and he would tell you the opposite, but I know better. Any major life decisions I have had to make, my dad was the sounding board behind them. Whether he is giving advice to me directly or I am drawing from lessons learned from him over the years, his voice is always in my head, giving me guidance and boosting my confidence along the way. He is one of those people who can help you uncover an answer to a problem yourself without telling you what to do but then quickly agree with your conclusion and solidify your choice by making the whole situation seem profoundly simple with just a few words.
I definitely didn’t always agree with his advice, however. Especially in those dramatic teenage years, there were of course times when his wisdom was anything but and fell on deaf ears. His logic drove me absolutely nuts sometimes. But now as an adult and more specifically a parent, I get it. He was just trying to make me a good, self-sufficient, capable human. Which, thanks to him, I now think I am, more or less! And though he has never outwardly said “I told you so”, I can read it on his face when I repeat back to him the very words that I swore I would never say when I grew up.
Perhaps some of these things are obvious. Some a little unconventional. All very uniquely put by my dad. And all important in their own way. Some you have certainly heard before and maybe some not, but here is just a sample of the lessons that have created the lens with which I view the world:
Loyalty and hard work over everything – Both in his words and actions, my dad has exemplified these two ideas my whole life. I never felt like I had to be the smartest or the fastest or the most talented, but that hard work would carry me further than any of those things. Couple that with a fierce loyalty to the people who invest in you and you can’t go wrong. I look up to him the most for these qualities and hope that my kids will one day look at me with pride for those same reasons.
Save your money – My dad made me put 50% percent of all of my incoming money (birthdays, babysitting cash etc.) into a savings account my whole childhood. I dreaded parting with my money in my youth but it taught me the importance of saving for something that will bring you more than just a few moments of happiness.
Nothing in life is free – And if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
I don’t believe in tipping…I believe in over tipping – If you have ever been a server, this will resonate with you. My dad has always emphasized the value of good service and that it should be rewarded accordingly. And that 5-10% over the standard will probably make that person’s day without breaking the bank for you.
Turn off lights, close the refrigerator, and don’t put your hands on anything I have to paint – It was a full circle moment the first time I heard my voice saying these things to my kids. (Seriously though…why do kids insist on unnecessarily touching the walls all the time? Sorry, Dad!)
Little kids, little problems – In those times when I am feeling overwhelmed by life as mom to young children, he reminds me of this. Not to scare me for what is to come as my children age, but to keep things in perspective.
Be excellent to each other– This is definitely my favorite. And yes, if this sounds familiar to you…it is a line from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. But at the end of the day, this is what life boils down to. Just being a good person who is good to others. So great, right?
I would not be where I am today without my dad. I am eternally grateful that he cared enough to challenge me and make me look at things from a different perspective. Wishing all the great dads of our community a very Happy Father’s Day this month and an extra special one to the wonderful man I get to call mine.