Father’s Day wisdom

My Two Dads (TV show)Happy Father’s Day! To all the caring, committed dads, step-dads, adoptive dads, foster dads, dads-in-law, dads-to-be, dads who’ve passed away, and anyone who takes on the role of dad, however they define it – thank-you! When I told my parents I was quitting my IT career to start my own coaching and training business, my dad said “If it’s what you want to do, go for it – you only pass through this way once” (adding that there’d always be a bed at home for me if I needed it). Thanks Dad! For today’s column, I asked people to send me their favourite bits of life advice they got from their father or a father figure in their lives. I got a whole range of wise answers (and many I couldn’t print), here are some of the best:

The Pragmatic

“Never count money until you have it in your hand.” (Brenda’s dad)

From Stephen: ““Never go out in the rain in your socks” was my dad’s favourite piece of advice, and I think he stole that from Happy Days”.

“Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today.” (My future father-in-law, Brendan. This may be a reference to all the stuff Conor and I have stored in his shed…)

“If you go out a-borrowing, you’ll come back a-sorrowing.” (Brendan’s dad)

“Look after your money and your money looks after you.” (Franco’s dad)

“Warm the tea cup before you pour the tea” (Eilis’ dad)

“You only need two things in this life, a decent coat with buttons that do up, and a good pair of boots.” (Eilis’ dad’s dad)

Monica’s dad would tell her “Ná bac leis” – Irish for “Don’t worry about it”/”Forget about it”/”Let it be”.

Sophie’s dad had these: “”Never mix your drinks! Grape separate to grain.” It’s been very useful! He also always said. whenever I’ve had an exam, performance, stressful thing, that I can only do my best; I’ve put in the work so trust I can do it. Or as well as I’m capable of doing and whatever that is it will all work out. Think it’s allowed me to survive mistakes, exam failure, etc. but know I can try again!”

The Wise

I love this one: “My dad always said, if involved in a difficult argument, say “I could hardly ever scarcely fail to disagree with you less”. And then leave gracefully while your opponent is still trying to make sense of it.” (David’s father Terry)

“’Professional’ just means knowing what amateurs won’t notice.”” (a_reluctant_texan on Reddit.com/r/AskReddit)

Sandra said “Dad always told me to look after number one, i.e. me. I always thought this selfish but with a bit of wisdom behind me, I now realise he was right. You can’t help others until you make sure you are ok in yourself.” (For more on this, see this post on “self”.)

“If you’re going to sell your good reputation, make sure and get a good price for it, because you can only sell it once.” (my dad’s dad)

From Ciara: “”What’s for you won’t go by you” was always my dad’s classic line and I do believe that!”

Simple-but-powerful advice via Quingyun: “My father always says, “Keep reading, keep writing, keep thinking.”

Likewise from Lisette’s dad, who told her “No matter what happens, you will always get back up.”

And a bit of Finnish wisdom, via Juho: “I was maybe 8 years old and once called my sister fat.. My dad heard it and ask me to come to sauna with him. There he gave me long lesson how I shouldn’t say anything about other people looks or appearance, no matter how angry I am or in argument with another person. Nice person always finds something else to say than commenting others looks. It was very tough but good lesson in sauna!”

The Soothing

Edel, on her dad John: “When I was very stressed before our wedding, my dad said, don’t worry Edel, it’s all down hill from here – errrr, thanks Dad. I think he meant it’s an easy road! Aside from that, he always told me I could do whatever I wanted to do as long as I worked at it. That was always good advice for me!”

Musician Peter said, “My dad kept it simple: “never worry what other people think, it’s your life and in the end no one actually cares”” (Dad Cyril)

My friend Nick’s dad advice, via his lovely daughter Sophia: “I’ve got a talent show going on at school and I’m really scared of going on stage, and he said to me, “If the boys laugh, it’s because they’re too scared to get up there and do it themselves, that’s why they’re laughing”. So I’m not as scared to do it.” Go Soph!

The Vigilant

From Sarah in Ireland: “People more streetwise than you get killed on the streets of Dublin every day.”

From Sarah in Canada: “My dad always used to worry for our safety when we were living alone (three daughters, you see) and this gem has stuck with me: “The thing is with these guys [potential assailants], you have to be prepared to vomit all over them at a moment’s notice. You girls were great at that as babies and I can see that coming in handy now that you’ve grown up.”

From John: “Every winter as I recline in my big comfy chair in my classroom I remember my father saying “Work hard in school son so you don’t have to work in the same aul’ muck and shlap that I do”. Cheers Da!”

“Keep yer money in yer pockets and keep yer trousers on” (Barry’s granddad to his dad before he went off traveling in the ’70s.)

The Go-Getting

“My dad said “Follow your heart and your dreams won’t be far behind”. Best advice, finally starting to live it!” (singer/songwriter Ciara)

“”If you haven’t been arrested, you’re not living life to the fullest.” This from a lawyer who at 8 years old got chased off a national guard base for turning on a tank.” From Aelia57 on Reddit.com/r/AskReddit

The Stoical

“”Things get worse before they get better.” As a kid, he started saying it to me when I had to deep clean my room and it would turn into a pigsty before I put everything away, but as I got older he would say it to get me through tough times. Eventually, I would just say it to myself as a pep talk.” 910to610 on /r/AskReddit

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” (Owen’s dad)

Peter‘s dad Cyril: “never worry what other people think, it’s your life and in the end no one actually cares.”

“If you’re ever in a difficult situation and don’t know what to do, take a step back and look at it from a different angle. If someone else was in your position, what advice would you give them?” (Gail’s dad)

“On the night before my wedding he said “Between now and 11 o’clock tomorrow you have have to decide who will wear the trousers in your house. Because you can’t kid yourself all your life.” Sound advice.” (Michael)

Not Quite Advice…

User Mafiadons in Reddit.com‘s Northern Ireland forum sent me this familiar theme:

“”Close that door, you weren’t dragged up in the back field.”

“Put your dishes in the dishwasher, you weren’t dragged up in the back field.”

“Go into town and get us a burger there or you’ll be out in the back field.”

“Get the fire lit there, may as well be sitting in the back field.”

No idea where this field is.” I don’t know either; maybe somewhere along the Garvagh line? Past your man’s who made a fortune out of pallets?

And Finally

Kevin sent: “I’d like to offer a bit of advice I got from my parents which I have now passed onto my 15-year-old son. Basically, I was told “if you find yourself in any sort of trouble, no matter how bad you think it is or if you think there is no way out, always come to us first; we won’t shout, we won’t be mad, we just want to make sure you’re safe and sound”. Kids don’t understand how much they are cared about unless they are told. If they know they can come to parents for support without judgement I think it can be a potentially piece of life-saving advice. If it comes into play for even one situation they may find themselves in, at any stage in their life, then it’s worth saying to your kids.”

I wholeheartedly agree. And whoever fulfils a “Dad” role in your life, tell them you love them too.

Be well!


[This post appeared in the Irish Sunday Mirror magazine on June 21st, 2015]

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