Dad life lessons

6 Lessons My Dad Taught Me

A dad is more than just a parent—he is a teacher, a friend, and a teammate.


My dad is one of my best friends and greatest role models in life. When I was younger, we used to watch Saturday college football together almost every week. This chunk of time also gave me quality time to spend with one of my favorite people. As I grew up, I realized my dad was more than just my sports-obsessed best friend, he was my biggest inspiration and one of the most influential teachers in my life. He taught me six of the most important lessons I will ever learn.

1. Smile always 


I have always been a smiley person. It is probably one of the most noticeable things about my personality. Smiling always made me feel better no matter the situation I was in. A constant reminder my dad would give me is that most things in life can be solved with a simple smile. It's like that saying "kill them with kindness," a smile works the same way. People are more willing to trust you and to help you if you smile. Plus, who doesn't love being happy and smiley most of the time?

2. Saturdays are for college football 


I have always been an avid sports fan—from hockey to football to basketball I like to watch it all. Growing up, my dad would sit on the couch with me almost every Saturday and we would watch the Fighting Illini football game. I used to look forward to this part of the weekend because it was back when they were good and we had something to cheer for. Nowadays, I look forward to my dad coming down to campus and getting to cheer along with him in the bleachers.

Even though the wins are few and far between, I always love the tradition of getting to sing "Hail to the Orange" with my dad. Sports is one of our major shared interests and getting to continue our tradition of Saturday football is amazing. But even if my dad is not on campus I still watch college football on Saturdays, whether its the Illini, the Naval Academy, or Notre Dame, there is always a football game that needs to be watched.

3. Never yell 


I can not remember a time in my life where my dad has ever yelled at my brother or I. There have been arguments and situations where he has been genuinely frustrated but never once has he raised his voice at us. This for me is such an important thing. Anything worth saying should not be yelled. Once the yelling starts, people stop paying attention to what you are saying. Yelling at someone does not fix a problem, often times it can lead to more issues. The only time yelling is called for is during those Saturday football games.

4. Speak up for yourself 


My dad has always been a strong proponent of speaking up for oneself. It builds self-confidence and self-esteem and it improves people skills. Learning to speak up for myself was not an easy task. If it wasn't for my dad, I probably would be a lot less willing to speak out against things that I do not always agree with. If you have a different opinion than someone, speak up let them know. Silence is often viewed as a sign of agreement. Make your opinion known, but always be respectful when doing it. Having that confidence in yourself makes it a lot easier to be more open and outgoing overall as a person.

5. Be your own #1 fan 


Having supporters is amazing and truly creates a more empowering and motivational environment, but the best supporter is always yourself. No one can push you to work more or give more effort than you can. Believing in yourself, supporting yourself, and always being your own cheerleader is so important. It is a great feeling to know others believe in but if you don't believe in yourself, what is the point? If we don't believe in ourselves, why should others? So much of what my dad taught me has to do with self-confidence and self-belief. Although it's not always easy to believe in ourselves, it is something we have to do.

6. Live without fear 


This was definitely a lesson I needed in life, but it was not a lesson I necessarily knew my dad was teaching. Honestly, I don't even know if he was trying to teach me or if I just observed it through behavior. There have been points in my life where I have watched my dad do many amazing things. But the most amazing is the confidence that he puts out especially when he is giving presentations. or doing some sort of public speaking. When we restrict ourselves and refrain from doing things that scare us, we aren't growing as people. The best way to grow is to live without fear. Do the things that scare us and take risks—this can lead to some unexpected and exciting things.

Sometimes I wish my dad had taught me how to change a tire, but these lessons are probably more applicable on how to live life to the fullest.

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.

Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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16 Things To Get Your Dad This Father's Day

Shopping for men might be one of the hardest things ever, especially when it's for your dad.


I've never met a woman who actually enjoys shopping for a guy unless they already have a gift in mind. For every birthday, anniversary, Father's Day, and everything in between, women genuinely dread trying to figure out yet another gift.

I think guys are hard to shop for because most guys aren't traditional and they don't voice their wants when it comes to material things, most of the time. Therefore, shopping for your dad is by far one of the hardest tasks.

What do you get the man that literally gave you life and has provided for you all these years? You're too old to just draw a card that says, "Happy Father's Day, Dad! I love you!" You're also too broke to buy something super nice.

Fret no more! In honor of Father's Day coming up on June 16th, here are 16 things you can get your dad this Father's Day:

1. Baseball style hat 

A dad hat as a Father's Day present, what a concept!

2. Echo Dot

This is honestly a present the whole family can enjoy.

3. A nice phone case

Your dad, if he's anything like mine, probably has an old and busted Otterbox on his phone. Break him of his habits and switch that for a nice leather case this Father's Day.

4. Cufflinks

Help your Dad look extra after getting him some nice cufflinks he can wear to work. (Disclaimer: this gift is very cliche but I'm sure your dad will love anything you give him.)

5. Apparel from your school/future school

This one is for my college students- past, present, and future. Get your dad a t-shirt with your school's mascot on it and not only will he love it, but you can make sure he reps the best!

*Go Noles!*

6. Portable charger

I'm sure everyone could use one of these.

7. Yeti/Yeti-style tumbler

For boat days, when he's grilling at the family barbecue, or even for work, this gift can always come in handy for your dad. The possibilities of what to fill it with are endless.

8. Tickets to a sporting event

Dads love sports, so what better gift than some hockey tickets for the local team that you can actually afford? Or maybe even tickets for when his favorite baseball team comes to town? You'll be the favorite child for sure.

9. Cheesy Mug(s)

This worked when you were a kid and you're still young enough to pull this off.

10. A tie(s)

If your dad is the professional type, I'm sure he'd adore a tie you picked out! He'll be able to think of you every time he wears it and he'll definitely be matching because you can also show him which outfit to wear it with!

11. His favorite beer, liquor, etc.

Dads and beer go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you are of age, pick up a case of your dad's favorite brew, or a bottle of his favorite adult beverage this Father's Day. After all you've put him through over the years, this will be much needed.

12. A DIY redeemable craft

If you're feeling extra lovable, make dad some sort of redeemable coupon book for running errands or mowing the lawn. Maybe, just maybe, you're still young and broke enough for your dad to love it!

13. A nice shaving kit/toiletries bag 

Every man could always use a nice bag to carry his bathroom stuff in, especially if a shaving kit comes inside.

14. A nice cologne

Every man could use a nice cologne that smells great, too.

15. A shirt with a cheesy Dad saying or sporting something he loves

I have never seen a Dad not love a tee with his favorite sports team across the front, or even a tee with a cheesy dad joke. My dad personally has many of both. Invest in one this Father's Day, I'm sure he'll love it.

16. A gift card to a sporting goods/hunting/fishing store (or whatever he likes)

This enables your dad to pick his own gift, so this will ensure that you got him something he wants in the long run.

I hope this helped and gave you some inspiration. Happy shopping and Happy Father's Day to all the amazing dads out there!

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