I always found it strange when I went to primary school and the other kids spoke about their parents. They would say that they were annoying or mean or they just didn’t like them in general. Don’t get me wrong, kids say a lot of mean stuff and most of them, I’m sure, didn’t mean it; but at the time I couldn’t understand why they felt that way. To me my dad was without a doubt, the greatest man I’d ever met (and he still is now).
My childhood was not the easiest; I lost my mum to cancer at the age of 6 which left my dad with 3 small girls between the ages of 6 and 10. I’m not even going to pretend that was an easy time, especially for dad. Besides having lost his wife that he adored to no end, we three were as opposite in personality as you could possibly get which meant a lot of fights, tantrums, crying and all sorts of drama which I now apologise profusely to my dad for, when I go visit. But he took it all with an exhausted sigh and a little bit of a giggle, because hey, what else was he gunna do?
Dads pearls of wisdom have shaped the person I am today, so I want to share a few with you, to pay tribute to this fantastic man on Father’s Day.
He taught me how to be responsible for my own life
One of the greatest things I can attribute to my dad is the fact that he taught me how to take responsibility in all aspects. For my schooling, my situations, my losses and most importantly my wins. Dad taught me that any situation I find myself in whether it’s good or bad, I need to look at what got me there and learn from it. If I got in trouble I needed to understand that while other people have faults too, nothing is one sided. If I did a great job at something, he never let me forget that it was me and my hard work that got me there.
Work hard for what you want
Nothing comes easy in this life. Nothing is free. If I wanted something bad enough I had to put in the hard yards and go for it no matter what. My dad is the hardest working man I’ve ever met and he led by example. “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly” and this is the exact reason I am where I am today.
There’s no use crying over spilt milk
Well, that’s not exactly what dad would say… to phrase it correctly – “Shit happens”. Unless you can learn from it, never look back. If something goes to hell and there’s nothing to be done about it; let it go. Otherwise it will eat you up and you can never move forward with your life. This bit of advice has been invaluable and has got me through so many tough spots.
He let me make my own mistakes
This one is big because I made a LOT of mistakes. In my younger years I was a little rebellious. I would party, smoke, drink and generally be a pain in the butt to anyone who I felt deserved it. This all sounds pretty bad right? Well, what made it such a big learning curve was that dad let me. Not to excess or to the point where I would hurt myself, god no, that would never happen but dad always let us know that we could tell him anything, we could discuss things, ask his point of view and accept the consequences of anything we chose to do. But the main thing was that he always knew where we were, what we were doing and that he would be there for us. He gave us restrictions but also freedom within reason and I learnt from this.
Be a good person and good things will come to you
Often when I go visit my dad now days, we get into the conversation of Karma. Now I’m not a massive touchy feely kind of person but the idea of Karma seems to resonate with me and the main point that dad and I always get to is that “It’s not hard to be nice to someone”. A smile and a wave walking down the street, giving an older person the better parking spot, treating people with the respect they deserve. If you are a good person, people will treat you like a good person.
Always keep learning
When dad was younger, just like me he was a little bit of rebel and never took things too seriously. At the age of 20 he had read 3 books in his entire life until he got into a car accident which landed him in hospital with 2 broken legs for a good 6 months. Now, that’s a long time to be doing absolutely nothing, so out of sheer boredom he picked up a book… and he hasn’t stopped reading since.
Dad often tells me that “if you think you’ve learnt everything, you know absolutely nothing” and at the age of 63 refuses to sit still because there is so much more in the world that he can learn about.
He’s not just my dad, he’s my best friend
When you’re little your parents are the almighty gods of your own tiny world, they bring food, they clean you, they keep you warm and as you get older you realise that your little world is actually a lot bigger than you thought and your parents are people, regular people, just like you, complete with quirks, faults and fears. For me this realisation was the point where I suddenly understood that my dad isn’t just my dad, he’s my friend. No matter what, he was always there for me, even when he was hurting so much he didn’t really want to be. He and my hilarious and caring step mum, Sue, will always sit down and help me out with a problem and give advice no matter how weird the subject. We hang out, we have a drink together, and we go on road trips. We are friends.
We might share the same blood but what’s most important is that we care about each other. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
I love you dad.
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