Lessons Learned from my Father

by cecimadden

To be honest, the father that’s been on my mind the most recently is the father of my child, not my own father.  It’s so interesting how parenthood changes your perspective that way…

The reality is, I was such a daddy’s girl growing up (and I’m not too sure my sister’s can’t say the same).  He spent countless hours coaching, consoling, and guiding me through challenges.  These are the top 10 things he has taught me, ingrained in me in fact, through the years:

  1. Nothing is as important as being rich in family unity.
  2. Focus on the quality of friends you keep, not the quantity.
  3. Do not sleep your life away. (“There’s plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead,” he would bellow with ZZ Top blasting in the background.)
  4. Never be satisfied.  You don’t have to be perfect but you can get pretty darn close.
  5. Quitting is not acceptable.
  6. Always carry yourself with confidence, even if your clothes don’t match, especially if no one thinks you will succeed.
  7. Work hard at what you do.
  8. Say hello to people- it’s up to them to say hello back.
  9. Always remember where you came from.
  10. No matter where you go, the names and faces change but the people stay the same.

I will say, with no disrespect, that my father has not taught me much about “how the world works,” or how to “do” many things, but in shaping my character he has been the greatest influence.  I try to carry his wisdom with me in the way that I carry myself.  Even as I’ve become an adult and lost some of my innocence, I still think of these pieces of advice regularly, just through a different lens and maybe with a little nuance.  I’ve dismissed some of these things during periods of cynicism.  I’ve reconstructed some of them as I’ve developed a more critical and global worldview, thanks to my education and diversity of experiences, which in many ways my father worked hard to provide.  But these ten things are still a moral compass for me, I am thankful to say.  And as I think about being a parent myself, I wonder what moral advice will I provide to my children?  I can only hope to make such an impression on them as my father (and mother) have made on me.

My dad and I dancing at my wedding

Happy Father’s Day Weekend, everyone.  Many thanks to all those who play a fathering role in theirs or other children’s lives.