Quick announcement: today is the LAST day to enter to win a free Support Planning session with me, so please take 5 minutes and complete a short, 10-question survey on your experience at A Wish Come Clear. (Thanks to all of you who have done so already!) The free session is equivalent to Support Package #1, described at the Your Life, Supported! page. The current rate for this hour-long session + follow up is $125, but one reader will receive it for FREE. To enter, respond to survey question #10 (be sure to type your email address too!) prior to 12pm EST TONIGHT, June 16th.
I’ve decided to hold off on formal analysis of survey results until Sunday evening, the 19th, in order to give readers time over the weekend to complete the survey. However, the contest portion will close at midnight tonight, so…
And now, I want to wish you a very Happy Father’s Day! In honor of the upcoming holiday, I’d like to share with you 10 things my Dad taught me, through his words and actions. Each line item also includes a link to a post that’s moved me this week.
10 Life Lessons From 1 Great Dad
1. Don’t compromise yourself. Admittedly, this is quoted from Olivia Halvorsen’s graduation speech (which I wrote about here), but it’s also a lesson my dad modeled for me. Though I used to self-consciously hide my brother Willie’s behavioral challenges from my friends, my dad never compromised himself by hiding Willie from the world. He takes Willie on work trips, on errands, on beach days, everywhere. I have never seen him act self-conscious or embarrassed by Willie’s behaviors, strange and frightening though they have been at times. What it all adds up to is a dad who loves and is proud of his kids, not because they’re perfect, but because they are his. Likewise…
2. A relaxed, take-it-as-it comes attitude makes difficult situations easier, and a strong sense of humor can diffuse many an awkward moment. Case in point: I remember that day when my little brother ran off after dinner…and we had to call the police…who found him at Malapardis Park…splashing happily in the duck pond…naked…
You have got to have a sense of humor in these scenarios, and my dad has it in spades. Once, when I asked my mom how she knew that my dad was the one for her, she said, “Oh, honey, you have to understand…your father could always make me laugh.” The older I get, the more sense that makes.
3. Show up for your family. My dad (and his six brothers and sisters) have a remarkably drama-free family dynamic, and I attribute that, at least in part, to their willingness to show up and help one another out. For example, in the last years of my grandfather’s life, my dad cared for him in practical ways: doing work around his house, completing various projects and tasks on weekends. He showed his love through service, through giving, and he taught me to do the same.
4. When you’re traveling, travel light, but carry cash. Be it an emergency $50 in the glove compartment of my old car or a $20 handed to me as I boarded the train, my dad always made sure I had a little something ‘just in case’…and I was always thankful I had it when I needed it.
5.Connect with people. When I was younger, I used to be oh-so-embarrassed by my dad’s ability to strike up a conversation with anyone…be it the person in front of us in line at Costco or the guy pumping our gas at the station. Nowadays, I marvel at his gift.
6. Go with what works for you, not what others might expect. My dad’s a traditional-looking guy, but he’s also an avid surfer, and he rides a motorcycle too. I’ll never forget the day my dad picked me up from high school choir practice on his bike. Since he was wearing his helmet, my classmates were all convinced I had a secret boyfriend. Little did they know that the mystery man was my dad, being himself!
7. Self-employment rocks. I learned this from watching my dad run his own business. He has a strong work ethic and a gift for his field, and self-employment allows him the kind of flexible schedule that can be a lifesaver when you have a child with special needs…or a daughter who decides to get up at the crack of dawn every morning to figure skate. He chose a strategic specialty (essentially, fixing the machines that fix cars), and he’s the go-to guy for pretty much every auto service center and mechanic in New Jersey. He’s given me a picture of the freedom and flexibility afforded him by being his own boss.
8. When the wind is good and the waves are right, it’s okay to take time off and go surfing. 🙂
9. Appreciate your spouse, and create a chain of kindness. Every Mother’s Day for as long as I can remember, my dad has spent the day planting flowers in our front yard for my mom. As a child, that kind of constancy and love was so reassuring to me: every year, my dad spent a day making the yard a wonderland of color and beauty for her. As an adult, it’s even more reassuring: it reminds me that consistency is underrated, and very romantic.
10. “Take every opportunity to enjoy yourself.” My dad says this to me every time we say goodbye. It’s actually a quote from the BBC film version of Pride And Prejudice. What it means in our family’s context is, “Be careful and be safe. That said, go out and have some great adventures. After all, I trust you not to behave as foolishly as Lydia Bennet.”
The real lesson, though, is this: a man who will take the time watch Pride And Prejudice with his wife and daughter — and then quote it proudly!— is a great dad.
Dad, I love you. Happy Father’s Day!
Show your love by sending this along to your dad, uncle, grandfather, or another special guy in your life.
PS ~ What did your dad teach you about life? Tell me in the comments!