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Father’s Day: Key Life Lessons From Dad

(We’re re-posting our  favorite Father’s Day reflection appreciating what fathers have taught their children!)

As Father’s Day approaches (and we’re inundated with ads!), it gets us thinking about the difference fathers have made in our lives. This study concluded that a father’s presence in a child’s life positively impacts the child’s ability to learn and do well in school. And another study shows that play time with dads has significant impact on their children’s growth.

But we don’t need studies to tell us dad teaches us a lot! As youngsters we only cared that dad was there to give rides and hugs, play catch, help with homework and so on. But as we grow into responsible adulthood ourselves, we realize that along with the day-to-day care over the years, we also received the guidance we need for life.

This year, as we appreciate the joy and fun dads bring into our lives, I’m excited to share what some of my friends, family and I, all recent college grads, learned from our fathers and now use in the “real world”.

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Be Patient

I’ll start with my own step-dad, who is possibly the greatest step-dad on Earth. He’s not only hilarious, but he also gives great advice! One of the more valuable pieces of advice he’s given me is to be patient. I’m always on the run, in a rush, or busy. He taught me to slow down sometimes and to be patient with people and with opportunities.

Pay It Forward

“My dad taught me to pay it forward. He was always doing pro-bono work, volunteering to chaperone fundraisers at my school, and even took some of my peers under his wing – kids who either had uninvolved fathers or no fathers at all. My friends not only liked hanging out with me. They liked hanging out with my dad too, because he was cool and gave good advice. When he passed away, a woman I didn’t know came up to me and told me my father had a heart of gold. I had known that for a long time.” – Dana, New York, NY

Pursue Your Passion

“When people say ‘no one loves their job,’ I just think of my dad and realize there are exceptions. My dad is a cardiac specialist and he loves it. He cares deeply about his patients, is always looking to learn more, read more, and stay up-to date with the latest and greatest in heart health. Many people thought I would want to be a doctor because my dad is a doctor and enjoys his job. I’m not going to be a doctor. I’m going to law school, in hopes of working in education reform. That is my passion, and it was my dad who truly encouraged me to pursue it.” – Sam, Scottsdale, AZ

Prepare, Then Go With The Flow

My dad gives great career advice. He even talks to my friends and roommates about jobs and interviews. I think the most helpful piece of advice he’s ever given me was, “Over prepare, and then go with the flow.” It’s a quote he took from somewhere, but a great one, nonetheless! For example, I used to get really nervous before taking exams. He’d encourage me to prepare and study as best and as much as I could, and then to take a breathe when I sat down for the test. He explained to me that the only real control I had in the process was in studying and getting enough sleep before the exam. I should prepare well and then leave my nerves at the door. It was time to relax. He was right – why should I let nerves undo all of the hard work I had put into preparing for the exam? Over time, I’ve become more relaxed when it comes to tests and at interviews.” – Hanna, Providence, RI

Have A Sense Of Humor

“My dad is the funniest guy I know. He worked in a very serious government job, but he taught me that a sense of humor (and patience) can get you through tough times. I have two older sisters who were both in Girl Scouts. My dad volunteered to be the cookie mom. He literally went around calling himself “The Cookie Mom.” He later told me he was a little embarrassed about it, but ended up enjoying the experience more, because he brought some humor into it. He taught me to have a sense of humor about life in general. Awkward and nervous moments can often be diffused with a bit of humor.” – Nick, Madison, WI

Our lives have been shaped by our fathers. As you’re celebrating Father’s Day, along with the cards and gifts, let your Dad know one important thing he taught you – he’d love to hear about it!

What was the most important life lesson you learned from your Dad? Take a minute to leave a reply and share with us!


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