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Monday, June 16, 2008

Everything I Never Needed to Know in Life I Learned from My Dad


My dad is not the kind of guy who sat around the fire goofing off with us. We didn't live in a house where anyone told jokes or pulled pranks. There were no feisty nights of Sorry, Life, or Clue. No rainy afternoons putting together a misty mountaintop puzzle scene. No games of catch, touch football, or tag. No one baked cupcakes and licked the batter off the mixer thingees. I honestly don't remember any tickling, wrestling, climbing fits of fun like Mac Daddy endures with our boys. No nuzzling.

What I do remember are lots of heavy moments. My dad, he's a stoic one. He's Indian. He's an engineer. He's mathy. Oh, and he's a man. All that adds up to a pretty stiff guy. He's smart, well-read, curious, world traveled, and savvy. He is also gentle, kind, and patient. Oh, the patience. He did have to raise me after all. A job he kind of got stuck with. With no manual. No support line. No life raft in sight. A job he never got thanks for.

While my home sounds like a pretty gloomy place, it wasn't all bad. It's not what I want for Bird and Deal, but it wasn't bad per se. You see, my dad's plate was more overloaded than a blue hair's at a Vegas penny slot buffett. Like all parents, he did the best he could. Based on how my brother and I turned out, I think he did pretty darn well.

He did teach me some invaluable life lessons without even realizing it. And you know what, I never did read that stupid self help book he gave me when I was in seventh grade, How to Be an Assertive Woman. I guess his worry was that a tiny, 85 pound 5 foot tall runt like me needed some sort of boost to keep up with the bully boys and Heathers. Looks like that assertion gene was already in my blood. Plentiful at that.

So here goes, Dad's Top 10 List:

1) When you find a job, you must love the work, enjoy the people, and get paid well. Two out of three is pretty good.

2) Study anything in college that interests you. A liberal arts education will teach you how to read, write, and think creatively and analytically. A job will teach you anything else you need. College is about an education, not a trade.

3) Do anything for your children. Sacrifice has no bounds when it comes to providing for your kids.

4) Learn to drive a stickshift.

5) Don't drive with the radio louder than the sounds of the road.

6) Work, and only work, will get you where you want to be. Luck is for the feeble minded.

7) Learning a foreign language is about way more than conjugating verbs and memorizing vocabulary.

8) Love your brother, for he will be all the family you have one day when your parents are long gone.

9) Don't work for someone who isn't smarter than you. You'll learn nothing and get frustrated in the process.

10) Learning doesn't stop after you collect the degree.


And so it goes that Bird and Deal will benefit from their Dadu's advice. Hopefully they'll take it at an earlier age than I did. Happy Father's Day, Dad!


And I would be remiss to not wish Mac Daddy a Happy Father's Day. If you look up fatherhood in the dictionary, Mac Daddy's picture would be right there. There is nothing hotter than him holding and cuddling our boys on the couch, rumpled in their Sunday morning finest. Bird and Deal have no idea how lucky they are. They have a daddy who is affectionate, playful, funny, smart, and truly loving. He sets the best example to teach our boys how to treat women, care for others, be good stewards of the community, and live responsibly. All with a dose of humor and conviction.

Lastly, let me say that this is our second father's day without Mac Daddy's father. We miss him. We miss his laugh, his voice, his gentle tousling of the kids' hair without even realizing he was doing it. He was a fine grandfather to our boys. Mac Daddy would make him proud.
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5 comments:

www.startswithanx.com said...

Your dad should totally have an advice blog.

The Over-Thinker said...

This is lovely---your dad sounds like a wonderful man. And a good teacher, to boot.

Caroline said...

Cheers to amazing fathers!

The Cube Monkey said...

#9 could be the reason I want to jab a pitchfork into my brain at work. ha!
Your dad sounds very wise. =)

Daisy said...

#2, #7, and #9 -- and more -- resonate with me. I am a liberal arts graduate, as is my husband. I've pushed both my children to learn languages, not so they can order in a restaurant, but so that they can learn and appreciate cultures. As for working for smarter people? That's one reason I can't stand the, well, Current Occupant of Pennsylvania Avenue!!