10 Things I Learned From My Father {I Hope My Children Learn, Too}

With my post running on my dad’s birthday, I just couldn’t help but write a post about him. But what about him? I could write about how patient he is, or how he’s been there for me, etc., but that just doesn’t sum it up adequately in a reflection of how he influences me now as an adult. When I really started meditating on what role he plays in my life, I realized there are (at least) 10 things I learned from my father I hope to pass on to my children:

Be kind.

If someone asks you for money and you have it, give it. If someone asks you for help and you can help, help. He believes helping others is what makes the world go ’round.

Watch your money.

My dad is one of those who balances his checkbook to the penny – without fail. There’s no “Oh it’s just five cents, just take it off our register to balance,” thought processes with him, ever. I can remember opening my first checking account. He came to me and said, “If you have $10 in your account, can your write a $20 check?” I said no and he then said, “Good,” This also encompasses credit debt. “Just don’t,” is his mantra.

Don’t sweat the small things.

It’s the “Three lumps” theory. Is it a lump in your oatmeal, a lump in your throat, or a lump in your breast? When faced with hardship, take time to figure out which is happening to you and freak out accordingly. I tell my children this often.

Be reliable.

Do your best to be accountable for the things your promise to other people.

Have an excellent work ethic.

Do your best at a job, whether you’ve been there 4 hours or 30+ years. Don’t complain about it, just do it and be grateful you have it.

The world can use a few more listeners.

You don’t have to be the loudest to be right. Be an observer more than a facilitator, especially when it comes to politics or religion in mixed company.

Laugh often.

Drink a little too much scotch, play a joke on someone, laughter truly is the best medicine.

Honor your role in the household.

Whether you are the grandparent, parent, spouse, sibling, or child, there is a designated “place” in the household for you. Fulfill that role to the best of your ability and know your boundaries.

Be a devoted friend.

Have a few friends, keep them close, and be fiercely loyal.

Savor every moment.

Life is so fleeting, and not to be too cliche, but if you blink, you will miss it.

To watch my dad go through his seasons of being a father, husband, employee, friend, retiree, now grandfather has been a learning experience for me for which I am truly grateful. I wish him a happy birthday and thank him for the many things he has taught me.

Do you have any life lessons you find invaluable your father or father-figure taught you in life? I’d love to hear them!


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