Four Lifelong Lessons Passed Down from Dad to Daughter

June 18, 2015

They say: “You can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose.” Truth. What else can’t you pick? Your parents. Rarely a day goes by when I don’t remind myself of how fortunate I am to have been born to my parents. They are a pretty remarkable pair.

Working at an employee recognition company, I often think about my peers, colleagues, and my immediate manager—and how they contribute to my success and the company’s success. Appreciation is always top of mind on weekdays between the hours of 8 and 5. But, when I get home, do I carry those sentiments with me? Not always.

With Father’s Day coming up, it seems like a good time to reflect on the gratitude I feel for my family, and, especially my Dad, who set the kinds of examples for me that I strive for myself, and that I value in my coworkers. Like…

Ingenuity. When I was young, my Dad took a jog around the neighborhood every night and very often came home with some kind of treasure (that was, in fact, someone else’s trash). Once it was a rusted-out bicycle that he slapped a new seat on and called good; another time it was a fallen street sign that in future years was reinterpreted as a patch for my front bumper after a fender bender. He could see the potential in nearly every object he laid eyes on. I learned from him that using my imagination could turn nothing into something—as long as I believed it was possible.

Consistency. That jog he took every night? It was something we all came to expect. And, also every night, after dinner, he cooked up a huge bowl of popcorn. Always. Never mind how he had the appetite for it. This I will never know. As children, we drew comfort from these knowns. They brought stability to our world, which was otherwise so unpredictable once we left the house. While many consider spontaneity a virtue, I understood through this experience that being reliable is just as valuable a quality—if not more.

Dedication. My dad loved being an engineer. That’s why he always brought home a full briefcase and worked into the night and on weekends scribbling equations and drawing diagrams, right? Maybe. I learned in more recent years that he didn’t always love his job—and that sometimes it was so stressful, difficult, and frustrating that it affected his health. Huh. Following through on his commitments, even when they tested every atom of his being, was what he did. If I gained any intelligence from this, it’s that taking responsibility, even when times get tough, is what being an adult is all about. But, doing so at risk to your wellbeing isn’t actually very responsible at all.

Perpetual Learning. I’ve long since moved out of the house and my dad has been retired from work for about 15 years. I don’t see him as often, but I still absorb his wisdom whenever I get the chance. He constantly exercises his mind, whether it’s teaching himself to play the trumpet, harmonica, and keyboard, or poring through the daily newspaper to stay informed, or traveling the world to experience new cultures, foods, and ideas. He continues to inspire me to sharpen my skills, learn new tricks, and explore the unknown.


On that note, it’s probably time for me to call my dad and tell him all of this. And thank him for giving me a framework for how to be—at work and at home. And, my mom, too, for that matter. After all, she’s been there every step of the way!

Do you have someone in your life to thank this Father’s Day? Send a free ePraise  to show your appreciation!

Oh, and Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

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Allison is currently living out the elaborate fantasy she described to her now-former staff and colleagues in early 2001. With a hearty dose of courage and absolutely no plan of action, she abruptly left her middle-management job to become a writer—and today she is doing just that in her role as Baudville's Senior Content Writer. She's here to tell you everything she's learned in her 20-years+ professional life, plus a lot more. She's wordy like that!

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