Happy (almost) Father’s Day! My dad isn’t much of a recreational internet user, but if he reads this post because my mom tells him to, hi dad!
This year, my birthday is the day after Father’s Day, which is exactly how it was the day I was born! I was supposed to be born the day before Father’s Day, but I was born the day after, so my dad had to wait a whole year to “officially” have his first Father’s Day (since I was his first child). Sometimes through the years my birthday falls on Father’s Day itself too, and I like to think this among many things contributes to the special relationship I have with my dad. This time of the year is always a happy one, with my dad’s birthday and the Fourth of July falling just a day apart a few weeks later. Summers were always the best times growing up. Lots of holidays, birthdays, and time spent at our favorite place on earth.
I know Father’s Day is also a bittersweet time for a lot of people, and in my family (now including Grace’s side), we have lost a lot of our fathers or father-figures. So we remember them this weekend too. It’s also kind of strange to think that Father’s Day won’t be “typical” for my future children, if I am lucky enough to have them, but I know their lives will be filled with the best father-figures AND two amazing grand-dads.
So in that spirit, I wanted to share some of the best fatherly wisdom I have gotten from my dad through the years, and that I know as a grandfather he will teach too. I was about to type “fatherly advice,” but I don’t really feel like my dad doles out advice from an armchair the way I imagine dads in movies do. Instead, he has taught me so much by the way he just lives his life. I think he teaches by example rather than by lecture, which I personally think is the best way to learn! Here goes:
Be prepared. Yes, this is the Boy Scout motto, and yes my dad is proudly an Eagle Scout (both Grace’s and my brothers are Eagle Scouts too!). One of the “legends and lore” of my dad is that when he was a little kid, he packed one glove on a family trip—just one—in case he “needed to pick up a turtle.” While I think my dad would NOT advocate for overpacking, he does advocate for thinking things through and being prepared for every situation, to the extent possible. I think most who know me would agree I tend to be this way as well, and my dad was a major influence in this way of thinking (which I believe has gotten me pretty far in life!).
“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”. This is definitely among my dad’s favorite sayings, and it’s just true (though I’d change it to “makes a person healthy, wealthy, and wise” :)). My dad is the hardest worker I know, and although a LOT goes into that, waking up early and going to bed early always sets you on course for a productive and meaningful day. I don’t always do this, but I know my dad is right about it so I try to!
Home cooking is the best food there is. Growing up, my dad always preferred my mom’s cooking to restaurant food. And my mom’s cooking is very very good. But more than just that, it’s a recognition that our bodies and minds will feel best when we make our own food from scratch. I love Trader Joe’s frozen mac and cheese more than I care to say, but the older Grace and I get, the more we do really just crave home cooked food above anything else. Being on the road a lot this spring reinforced that even more, and I got so sick of eating at restaurants.
Save as much money as possible. This is one where I don’t really remember my dad telling this to me, but it is so evident in the way he lives, and the life he has been able to give our family. Becoming an adult has crystallized this for me more than ever, and I can only hope to be as good at saving money as my dad! But I’m on the right path knowing the deep and inherent value in saving from a young age because of him.
My dad has made the same New Year’s resolution every single year: grow in his faith. In a world where goals and resolutions (including mine!) tend to be about reaching career milestones, looking a certain way, or “achieving” something tangible, my dad has kept it real with the same goal (and the only goal that really matters) year after year. It inspires me so much!
Thanks for these lessons, dad! Love you. I’d love to hear what others have learned from their fathers or father-figures!