I lost my biological mother at a young age. My father remarried when I was a teenager, but in the interim, he was a single parent. My oldest sister was already married when my mother passed, but the other three of us were still in school, ranging from elementary (me) to late high school. After my brother and sister graduated and moved out, it was just me and my father for a few years before he married my mom (yes, I refer to my stepmother as my mom).
Growing up he drove me crazy, as parents are wont to do. He was exacting, he had high expectations, he was embarrassing, and worst of all he was a morning person–the kind that wants you to be up and active with him by dawn. Despite and perhaps because of all this, I love him dearly. He’s my father, and he always did his best to prepare me for my independence. While I may complain on occasion about things he says or does, the truth is that when I need him, I know he’ll be there.
So, in honor of Father’s Day this weekend, I thought I would share with you some of the things I’ve learned from my dad over the years.
- Like and love are two completely different emotions. They are not always mutually inclusive and they are not always mutually exclusive. In other words, you can like someone and not be in love with them, but you can also love somebody and not like them very much. On the other hand, when you find somebody who you like and love, it’s a big deal.
- You have to earn trust. You have to earn respect. And once earned, it is still possible to lose both.
- A wood file is called a rasp.
- You shouldn’t go all winter without washing your car. The salt they put down on the roads isn’t great for your car.
- There is a big difference between “I want” and “I need” and you should learn it early.
- Asking for help isn’t always easy, but there is no shame in it.
- It is important to say things like “I love you” and “I’m proud of you”, but only say it when you mean it.
- You are never too old to dream.
- You don’t have to learn everything the hard way. It’s just as easy to learn from somebody else’s mistakes as it is to make those same mistakes on your own, but far less painful.
- Life is not fair. Anybody who says differently is either selling something or too stupid for you to be associated with.
- Never underestimate the value of a good education.
- If you would be ashamed to tell your parents, your spouse, your kids, etc. about it, you probably shouldn’t do it in the first place.
- There is a big difference between a friend and an acquaintance. Don’t confuse the two. A friend is far more valuable.
- Prejudice is another word for ignorance.
- Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
And so much more.
Happy Father’s Day to my dad. And to all the rest out there who are doing the best they can.