10 Lessons My Dad Taught Me

10 Lessons My Dad Taught Me

When I reflect on my father as a person and all that he left me with, it’s all positive.
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Parents are our first mentors and teachers who guide us in our everyday life. I was one of the lucky ones to have what society tells us is a “normal” family dynamic. Both a mother and father who raised me into the person I am today. I’ve had my fair share of talking about my mom. Talking about my Dad is a temperamental subject. Sometimes it’s something I only want to discuss, and others an out of bounds discussion. But when I reflect on my father as a person and all that he left me with, it’s all positive. I can’t help but smile and think about the lessons he taught me, whether he knew it was his doing or not. Here’s some that are worth referring to.

1. Hard work will go a long way

When it comes to your job the best thing quality is to outdo others. I don’t mean that in a competitive, must get employee of the month way. I mean in the sense that everyone should learn to go the extra mile in fulfilling the job that you do. When you are the one person who is dedicated to working harder than others, it shows and allows others to respect you and admire your work ethics. But don’t do it for the pleasure of self-satisfaction. That’s just an egotistical mistake, and defeats the purpose.

2. You don’t have to like anyone, but you have to respect everyone

Sure my dad loathed a few people here and there. If you did him wrong, he didn’t give you the time of day. And if you really did him dirty he ignored your existence as a human. But if you hadn’t done anything personal but were just an unlikable person, he still gave you the respect you deserved. A common topic of conversation was that I wouldn’t like everyone I come into contact with. In fact I’ll always have someone who rubs me the wrong way or pushes my buttons. And although I may not be a fan of them, it is still important as an ethical human being to give them the respect that they deserve. This lesson here has taken me a long way in life.

3. Books smart is great, but street smart is better

I’m in college for crying out loud, of course I think an education is important. But when it comes to common sense and being able to fend for myself in life, that’s what’s going to get me farther. How many times have you seen the most genius of people that can’t do the simplest of tasks? The balance between the two will make for an easier lifestyle. Unfortunately, most people lack one topic and not the other.

4. If you wanna stay up with the owls you gotta soar with the eagles

Okay, so this is a cliché way to say “work hard, play hard.” But there are some good points. For each time that I want to be irresponsible and have fun, I better make sure I have my $*@# together before or get it together afterwards. Sure there’s been numerous times I’ve neglected the important stuff and been irresponsible. Never did me any good though.

5. Shake someone’s hand like you give a damn

A handshake is the first impression you can give someone. If you have a gimpy handshake people won’t take you seriously. It’s a known fact. So in order to get the respect out of anyone from a new acquaintance you met, to the boss who’s interviewing you for your dream job, you better damn well make sure that grip is a good one.

6. There’s a country song for everything

The most important thing to know about country music is that every song tells a story. EVERY. SONG. And for every story, there is every emotion. When in doubt, sadness, happiness, anything, put on a country song and your heart and soul will thank you.

7. George Strait is King

Speaking of country music, it all fathers down to the one and only George Strait. THE King of country music. I guess this is a personal preference but something my father passed down to me. There’s no way I can listen to this man and not smile thinking of all the memories my old man gave me because of the shared interest in these songs and lyrics.

8. The Cowboys are America’s team

I’ll probably get a lot of eye rolls on this one. But come on. They’ve had that tagline since the beginning of the creation of the team. I must say I get a little teary-eyed whenever I see that blue start anywhere against a white background. It’s a beautiful representation of America and football alike.

9. Extra-curricular activities will keep you out of trouble

Some of the best advice he gave me was his stories of playing sports and how that meant he didn’t have time to get caught up in drugs and drinking in high school and college. Although I myself was never an athlete, I found satisfaction in other forms of extra curricula’s and I too didn’t’ have time to get caught up in anything bad. Like father, like daughter right?

10. Life is too short. Enjoy it

Possibly the greatest life lesson he’s taught me to this day. We’re never given a timer or even an estimate to how much time we have on Earth. If we did, we probably wouldn’t live it right, or live it the way we were meant to. Losing my father at age 14 taught me that I may have so much life ahead of me, but I surely don’t have enough time to reach the potential of life to those years. I will never stop enjoying my life even through the rough patches. Life is whatever I choose for it to be and no one can create or fix my future like I can.

So thanks, Dad. Some of these lessons were given to me from a young age. And some of them were given even when you were gone. Although we are the only ones who can learn from our lessons and mistakes, it’s nice and helpful to know that I had a little bit of an up with your expertise and years of experience.

Cover Image Credit: Cheyenne Wong

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Mom And Dad, Your Differences Made Me Who I Am

They are two halves of the person I aspire to be — a thoughtful person, committed to excellence in each of her areas of passion, who is hungry to build upon the extensive base of experiences that she has acquired to date.

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My parents, the most important factors in shaping who I am, are a mosaic of juxtaposed perspectives, a tribute to the notion that "opposites attract." Dad once tried to explain their differences in the language of the Myers-Briggs personality inventory; his introversion versus Mom's extraversion, his thinking to her feeling, etc. Labels aside, the consequence of living with their differences was balance and an ability to place equal value on both breadth and depth in any aspect of life.

Nothing underscored competing for parental influences in our household better than the typical dinner conversation around the events of the school day. I'd usually lead with news of some test result. Mom would be quick to congratulate my good work while deflecting the conversation toward upcoming social events or some drama involving my friends. Dad preferred to discuss the specific problems I missed, even if 97% were correct.

Over time, I came to realize that Mom's seemingly dismissive attitude toward academic achievement was not meant to minimize its importance. To her, what went on in the world of human relationships beyond the classroom, was equally important. Similarly, Dad's insistence on reviewing every incorrect problem was not indicative of some ridiculously high standard of achievement. Instead, it was his way of communicating the value of always striving to be better and the importance of treating every mistake as an opportunity to learn.

Extracurriculars, like sports, were also illustrative of this household dichotomy. Mom would encourage me to join as many different activities as possible, just to give them a try. In the heart of the club spring soccer season, she'd sign me up for golf lessons, a charity 5K run, or volunteer my time to tutor a neighbor's friend. Dad cared more about mastery of specific sports. Quick to point out areas for improvement, he pushed me to excel through relentless practice and total commitment.

It was often difficult to reconcile Mom's push for diversification and Dad's push for focus, but I eventually realized that each was acting in what they perceived to be in my best interests. Mom wasn't tired of sitting on wet, soggy sidelines, she wanted me to have a broad range of experiences so I could find my true passions. Her mantra was that you couldn't know unless you try. Dad didn't push me to constantly practice because he expected me to get a soccer scholarship. Rather he wanted me to understand the work that it takes to achieve excellence.

Much to Dad's vexation, Mom often scheduled activities that interfered with practice times. We'd routinely go on vacation a few days early or to take a night off to see a play. Summer vacations were sacred and trumped any other commitments. The day school was out we would leave for the east coast and not return until just before school began. Lengthy absences meant leaving all commitments behind, including summer training seasons.

Dad never overtly opposed Mom's summer plans, but I knew he was troubled by them. Excellence required a commitment that was not compatible with being absent for several months each year. Mom was not against sports or the commitment they required, but she placed supreme value on the exposures and experiences that a summer of travel could offer.

Over time, I learned to live fully in each of my parents' worlds. When it was time to study or practice, I gave everything I had. Equally, I joined Mom's adventures, with eager eyes and a full heart. I learned that there is not just one way to be raised or a single way to approach a situation. I was never made to choose between competing views in my household, I was challenged to fully embrace each. My parents' perspectives are less conflicting and more complimentary.

They are two halves of the person I aspire to be — a thoughtful person, committed to excellence in each of her areas of passion, who is hungry to build upon the extensive base of experiences that she has acquired to date. I hope to be as deep as I am broad, to be extremely flexible, and to be comfortable in the gray areas between the black and the white. Like my Mom, I engage the world around me and am fed by its energy, and like my Dad, I am introspective and fully at home in the world of ideas.

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