I am a lucky lucky gal. I have a great Dad.
I’d like to say I’m biased on that one… but no, I’m not the only one who thinks that. My pops is retiring this month. This means that his various teams are celebrating his retirement alongside him. Last week, there was a big retirement party. This week, his SoCal team opted to throw him a little get-together locally. Since I live here, they invited me along to say a few words.
So I thought about this a lot, and when I went to the event, I did say some words. And so did several other people. Like ten other people. They all had wonderful things to say. And all of their messages were consistent with what the other teams had said. I wanted to keep it short, so I only talked briefly: a couple lessons I learned from my father. If I had more time, this is what I would have wanted to say:
Lessons from My Father
1. Don’t disappoint me (aka make me proud).
So, he never actually uttered these words, but it was my unspoken rule. I never wanted to do anything to disappoint him or let him down. It was this fear that gave me the extra drive I needed to do well in school, stick with a sport, musical instrument, or activity. I think this is also what kept me out of ever applying for a reality TV show or getting fired. It would break my heart to break my Dad’s heart. So I didn’t. And I still don’t. This alone should show you all how important a Dad is in a daughter’s life- to keep her on the right track.
2. “Pick your battles.”
Being the opinionated and stubborn oldest child that I am, of course I thought I was right 99.9% of the time. Dad said to pick my battles- to evaluate if something was worth the fight or not. He also had an uncanny way of disputing my claims- he would agree with me, then let me find out I was wrong on my own. That takes a lot of patience to do- something I feel is hard to come by in parenting today.
3. “There are two things in this world that will make your life easier OR harder. Your credit and your reputation. Be sure to take care of both.”
How right he was. I guard my credit like nobody’s business. I check my report annually and make sure it all looks good. If you muck up your credit and your rep- it’s a lot harder to bounce back from both. I’ve kept this advice close to my heart throughout my life.
4. “See the world before you get married.”
Well, I’m certainly heeding his advice on this one. Thirty-five and never been married… so I am taking advantage of my travel time. Three international trips this year! I won’t stop doing this after I get married, but I’m definitely soaking in all I can – since I can.
5. “You’re cut off at 22 or college graduation- whichever comes first.”
He set the expectation with me on this when I was fifteen or sixteen, I think. Fortunately, I graduated during the dotcom boom and had a pretty easy time finding a job that would make me an independent world citizen. I always knew that I was going to have to make it on my own- partially because he was ready to let me go, but mainly, he wanted me to succeed as an autonomous adult.
6. “Don’t ever get a vanity plate.”
Although Californians love these things, I agree. He asked me if I ever wanted some biker dude yelling, “Hey Swt Pea, how YOU doin’?” Uh, no thanks.
7. “Shred everything.”
Dad was a victim of identity theft, so as I result I became paranoid about everything. So I shred shred and shred some more. Anything and everything that has my name, address, etc. I keep my phone number unlisted, and I keep my blog anonymous. 😉
8. “Rub it”
One of the safety precautions I learned besides “never take your eye off the saw blade.” “Rub it” was the all-purpose antidote for everything from skinned knees to hitting your funny bone. Not advised for a deep cut, though.
9. “Boys are dirt.”
I believe I also got, “watch what they do, not what they say.” So, yes, boys can be dirt. I’ve met a few nice ones, but no one who’s stepped it up. And yes, I am slightly jaded.
10. “I love you.”
Nothing like your Dad saying I love you on a regular basis. I didn’t realize that this was uncommon; I’ve always grown up with it, and always knew where I stood- and still stand- with my pops. Tell your kids you love them. They will always hold onto that tightly.
Thanks, for all your lessons, Dad- and congrats on your retirement!