Father’s Day is upon us. It’s the day where we honor our dads, buy new neckties, and reflect on the good, the bad, and the influence they’ve had on our lives. In my case, it’s all good. I was incredibly blessed to grow up with the Greatest Dad in the World (it’s an official title, you know) as mine, all mine.
My dad is pretty smart. Not just book-smart, but life-smart too. And wouldn’t you know it, he seems to get even smarter the older I get. Imagine that!
In honor of Father’s Day, here are 5 lessons I learned from my dad, that everyone should know:
- There’s no such thing as an insurmountable challenge. According to Dad, there’s no such thing as “can’t”. Whenever I would run into a challenge, after dutifully listening to me complain about it being hard, Dad would tell me, “Don’t tell me why you can’t; go out and find a way that you can.” It was never what I wanted to hear, but it was always what I needed to hear. From a young age, I learned to try harder and quit less – a lesson that is all the more applicable now that I’m an adult and life is even harder.
- Discuss more; react less. Chances are, it’s not worth yelling about. I only actually remember seeing my dad yell once in my life. Every other time in my recollection, whenever Dad had an “issue” with somebody, there was a calm, logical discussion with the person. I’m still working on learning this one, and I definitely get fired up more easily than Dad does, but Dad has shown me that diplomacy and logic can solve a lot more problems than emotional fighting. As Dad puts it, “It’s not what you say. It’s how you say it.”
- Leave work at work, and when possible, leave work early to watch your kids play sports. Dad never brought work home. His briefcase lived in the backseat of his car, where he left it for the day before coming into the house. Like any successful businessman, Dad would stay later at work sometimes, or have to make court appearances in the evenings, but when he was home, he was HOME. Like at lunchtime when Dad would play catch with me in the backyard. Or on a Thursday afternoon when he would block off his schedule so he could leave work early and be at my soccer game. Dad taught me the importance of being fully present for family time, and for making the time to be supportive of things that are important to each other.
- Do the right thing, even when it costs you dearly. As long as I can remember, my Dad has been on the deacon board of whichever church we attended. And as long as I can remember, Dad has had a way of standing up for what is right, even in the face of leadership who may have wanted to sweep something shady under the rug. Around 2nd grade, it forced us to leave the church we had attended since I was born. We found a new church family, and then around 10th grade, Dad once again stood up for the right thing and it forced us to leave that church too. That one hurt more, mostly because I was old enough to understand what was going on. And what I understood was that doing the right thing matters more than doing what is easy or comfortable.
- All of baseball exists just so the Yankees would have someone to play. Dad and I watched hundreds, probably thousands, of Yankees games on TV while I was growing up, and they are some of my favorite memories. We watched year after year as Derek Jeter grew from a scrawny kid into a Hall of Fame shortstop. We saw Mariano Rivera close more games than any other pitcher of all time. We saw Bernie, Tino, Andy, Jorge, and the crew win 4 World Series, and stayed up late to watch every single game. We bonded over baseball game after game, and even now I still get an email from Dad every day that contains the score of the Yankees game. No matter how far away I am, or how long I’ve been away from home, we’ll always have the Yankees to bring us together.
I’ve been a total Daddy’s Girl for the last 30+ years, and I wouldn’t trade him for any other father in the world. Here’s hoping for 30 more!
Sound off! What are your favorite things about YOUR dad?