As a little girl, I was daddy’s little princess. Looking back at home videos, it amazes me how happy I made him, like a little kid on Christmas morning. Now that I’m older, we have a tricky relationship but when everything is pushed aside he is still my hero and I am still his baby girl. Here is a man that was once a young boy himself and grew up to have his own kids and did everything in his power to make our lives perfect with love. Father’s aren’t just born, men grow into them and it’s a very important stage of their development. As my mother always tried to protect my siblings and me from the world, my father threatened us with it as we grew up. We aren’t kids anymore he would tell us; the real world is not all rainbows and ponies. For that I thank him, because I was ready to face it as an adult. He was not perfect, but nobody is. At the end of the day, he was always careful where he’d walk knowing well that his children would follow his footsteps. In honour of father’s day that was this past Sunday, here is a list of 25 things I learned from daddy dearest.
- Be present.
I had too many friends that grew up without a father and I could never imagine any universe in which my father would leave my siblings and me. He was always at work as my mother would stay at home with us kids and my grandmother but as soon as we would hear that door open in the evening we knew daddy’s home and nothing made us more excited. The feeling was always mutual and until this day my little sister does the same thing when he walks in, and seeing him smile and yell out ‘hey baby!’ warms my heart because it was only ten years ago he would say the same to me. On his only day off every week he would take us out as a family. Whenever he would take a little well deserved vacation of his own (always to Cuba, his favourite) he would call every single day simply to tell us he’s ok and to know that we’re ok as well. Sometimes that’s all it takes – two seconds of a “hi how are you” to remind the other person you love them and miss them. Becoming a dad is easy; we all know how that works. But actually being one is tough, and to the men that are present fathers in all senses – physically, mentally, and emotionally – you’re all rock stars.
- Capture every moment.
Invest in a good camera and snap every single moment. My dad would make us stop and smile at everything and anything that looked like it was picture worthy and we would always moan and groan because it was getting excessively annoying. As I got older I realized why he did it and became the same way. There’s something special about holding on to memories and one thing I have learned about living with a grandmother with Alzheimer’s is that when your brain can’t hold on to memories anymore, those excessive photos will make all the difference.
- Give your kids choices.
He always voiced his opinion on everything, told me when he approved or thought I was doing something ridiculous, but in the end I always had my choices and his unconditional support. Unlike my mom, he allowed us to make mistakes and learn from them. We never got away with stupidity and faced consequences if needed, but it allowed us to learn the difference between good and bad choices for the future.
- Letting people walk all over you isn’t a virtue so stand up for yourself and demand respect.
My dad and I rarely agree on things politically and hold different viewpoints on many things but we respectfully disagree and move on with life. He blames it on the ignorance of my age and generation; I blame it on the ignorance of his age and his generation. Regardless, he raised me to always stand my ground. Even as I watch him now and the way he runs his business, he will never lose his set of values nor will he ever let anyone disrespect him. The way I see it, if he didn’t hold his ground the way he did, he would not have made it as far as he has and there is so much to respect in that.
- Be with someone you don’t want to disappoint because of your love and respect for them.
There is something to be said about people that want to make you proud because of their love and respect for you and vice versa. If I ever screwed up I always worried my dad would think differently of me. He never did but no matter what I always wanted his approval.
- Have a sense of humour, be able to take a joke and laugh at yourself.
I have a very dry humour and am extremely sarcastic, tending to make a joke in every situation. I get this from my father. Without a sense of humour you will not get along with either of us. It is beyond important to enjoy life and be able to laugh at yourself. Not everything is meant to be taken seriously. Not everything in life is offending and hell even when they are – laugh a bit! It’s good for you and beyond liberating.
- Be a strong and independent woman.
I had a job since I was fourteen and never asked my parents for money since. The only fights I’d have with him about money was that I work too much and I should take his money sometimes because that is what he’s there for. Nevertheless, I never did. I saw the way my mother lived and I knew that I never wanted to be a person dependent on others. Whenever I’d ask him for help he would tell me or show me how, expecting me to know how to do it on my own for next time. He wanted me to be independent as much as I wanted it for myself. Recently I let him do more things for me just to remind him that no matter how strong and independent I am, I’m still his little girl and will always need him.
- Expect nothing less than equality
If a guy could do it then so could I. This was a challenge all the time. He never let me belittle myself or give less than my all just because I was a girl. I grew up to be a feminist because of it, and although he now gets annoyed by the feminist rants I go on occasionally, I know he’s proud he raised me as a proud and strong woman.
- No pressures to get married, have kids, or buy house. Just do good, be happy and the rest will find its way.
While I hear my mom nagging me to get into the dating scene, settle down and have a family my dad would always tell her to leave me alone because I have an education and career to focus on. Furthermore, that I have a life to focus on and whatever happens happens but there is no need to ever rush into a relationship because I feel pressured.
- Family comes first.
Always. No ifs and or buts. If your family needs you, you are there for them unconditionally. When I was choosing where to go to university, I desperately wanted to move away for school. Instead, I stayed for my little siblings because it was a time they needed me greatly. My little brother and sister are my biggest motivation for everything, they are my heart and soul, and it boggles everyone’s mind that I live for my family the way I do. I learned the importance of family from my father. His mother, my grandmother, lives with us until this day even through her dementia. I was raised in a family that takes care of each other under all circumstances.
- Hard work pays off
He started his own business and I watched him build it and succeed. He taught me that good things will never come to people that are lazy and expect good things to fall on their lap. He would always push me to work harder. I got my fair share of yells because he thought I was sitting around lazily. It made me the hard working and driven person I am today so although I’ll never admit it to him, I am very grateful for all the times he told me I was lazy and useless for sitting around doing nothing.
- Save money
Of all my friends, I am the best with money and they always ask how. I learned from the best about banking, budgeting, saving, and lots more. I also learned the importance of money very young and because of it I never expected brand name clothes when I was younger. I found no value in a plain white t-shirt being ten times the price because of the brand name on the tag.
- Being selfless
My dreams became more important than his and I don’t know how to repay him for that even though he wouldn’t want me to anyway.
- Tough love and actions meaning more than words
There are millions of ways to let someone know that you love them. He would always tell me to take a coat when it was cold, ask me if I needed money, see what I wanted from the store, bring home groceries, or take us out. Along with all that, his immense pride and joy of spending time with us always showed. Sometimes I wish we had a more lovey dovey relationship but we never did, not since I was very young. He taught me tough love and it’s the same way I have learned to love. Some say it’s not ideal but the people I love know that I love them and don’t need to constantly hear me say it.
- Learn how to fix things yourself, know the basics and be competent with tools, computers, appliances, and cars.
Once again, equal. We no longer live in a time where this is only a guy’s job to be competent with. If an appliance in the house was broken, it’s my job to figure out how to fix it. If the computer was acting up, it was my job once again. A girl should know how to change her tire in an emergency he would tell me, and although I haven’t nailed that one yet, I’ll get to it.
- Always offer your help, do things for others without expecting to be paid back
Kindness should not be based on who is watching or the recognition you get. I have watched him help so many people out of the genuine person he is and it has made my heart just as kind. The truest show of character is what a person does for those who cannot do anything for them in return.
- Be a leader
I’m the oldest of three so it was always drilled to me that I was the leader of the pack. I resented this a million ways when I just wanted to have fun and party. However, because of this I matured faster and have led the way for two little siblings that are following my footsteps proudly. It has helped me in school and work as well, but mostly in life. I have learned so much leadership qualities from my father and know full well if I ever do run my own boat I will do a darn good job at it.
- Be dependable, you are only as good as your word
I am that person that people know they could call in a crisis and I will be there. I get that dependability from my dad. He’s an amazing person and always jumps oceans for people, and I do the same. He also told me to know my worth though, and the second someone takes advantage of how dependable I am and takes my kindness for weakness – don’t let that slide. He taught me how important it was to be a good friend and care for others – one of my biggest life lessons: wait and never drive away until your friends gets inside their house safely.
- Be appreciative, be thankful
If I ever complained about the food on our table, I would hear a handful of angry words from my dad about the times that all they had on their table was bread, butter, and water and they were beyond grateful for it. I would also be threatened to get shipped off to a third world country if my entitled ass didn’t shut her whiney mouth. Needless to say, I count my blessings every night because I know how incredible my life is even in hard times, I know I am blessed.
- Be kind, smile, and say hello especially to those who probably get overlooked
As someone who runs a business he is required to be nice to his clients for business. But he acts this way always. At restaurants he always speaks to the waitress and is friendly, when speaking to customer service reps he always asks them how their day is before he continues. He taught me a smile goes a long way and a friendly hello could change someone’s entire day and that makes all the difference.
- Forgive others
Not just for them, but for you, your soul and your sanity. Forgiveness is so important. If you have to forget right after then be it, but nonetheless, forgive.
- How to argue and express anger
Although he got better through the years, he along with my mother had issues with their anger and their lack of controlling it. Here is one thing I learned from him not because he portrayed it but because he showed me the opposite of how I wanted to be and the opposite of how I wanted the guy I would date to be when he is upset. Kids learned by example but they also have a choice whether to accept or reject the examples laid out for them. I know how much he wishes he had a better temper, he has mentioned it many times, but I’ve learned that crazy is crazy and some bad traits of ours are genetic and we have to work on greatly. This specific genetic trait went on to me and I do everything in my power every day to work on my temper, my patience, and my anger.
- Gifts are nice but not necessary
He taught me that although giving gifts could be nice, material objects don’t mean much. Furthermore, anything he wanted he got himself so I never knew what I could possibly buy him for father’s day or for birthdays. I have stuck with cologne sets for years and it seems to work.
- Pride reinforces love
Even when I wasn’t doing perfect things, he showed so much pride for me and it always reinforced his love. He taught me that someone that isn’t proud of me and proud to be with me is not worth my time and does not genuinely love me. This advice has saved me from a handful of crappy relationships and I thank him endlessly.
- At the end of the day, he’s the boss and what he says goes.
But that’s all fathers right?