Last weekend as I was helping my daughter pack to go back to college to begin her second year I couldn't help myself from going into mommy mode and giving parental advice. It's the same spiel I've been giving her and her brother for years, and though they know it by heart, I say it anyway.
After all, I am my Father's daughter -- and boy did he like giving advice.
Now that I'm older and my Dad is no longer here to share his fatherly wisdom, I miss him and his wise words more than ever. This list is proof that even when you think your children aren't listening -- they actually are. (I know he'd be delighted to hear this.) I hope my kids are too.
1. Your reputation is everything. Don't do or say anything that can tarnish that. And I'll add, always be good, and if you can't be good, be discreet. In the age of Facebook where people tend to share too much this can be tricky.
2. Tip well. It could be you on the other end.
3. Make someone smile. Be polite, friendly and treat people well, regardless of who they are or their position in life. This includes knowing when to say: Please, Thank you, and I'm sorry.
4. Don't wear 'boy repellant' outfits (baggy and unflattering) and dress like a lady. Which meant no red fingernail polish or lipstick. To this day I don't like it on myself.
5. Beauty will fade, so develop your brain. Read. Get an education. We had special reading and snuggling time with our Dad where we'd take turns reading aloud. He also created vocabulary lists for us to hang on our bathroom mirrors and occasionally there would be pop-quizzes at dinner. I usually did well on those since I spent so much time in front of the mirror!
6. There are three kinds of people in the world: those that watch things happen, those that make things happen, and those that say "What happened?" Be a person that makes things happen.
7. Just like me, he couldn't play an instrument to save his life, but our home was always filled with a variety of beautiful music.
8. My Dad was a very funny and clever man and he loved to laugh. I'd like to think I inherited his dry wit. He believed humor to be the ultimate icebreaker, way to connect and coping mechanism.
9. Believe in God.
10. Be a gracious host and make people feel welcome in your home.
11. Give back to your community and give often.
12. Marry someone kind, smart and hard working, who treats their mother well.
13. Don't flirt too much or be too available, let them come to you. He was a big fan of playing hard to get.
14. Watch what you say, as you can hurt and alienate people with your words. I wasn't afraid to go toe to toe with my Dad (well maybe just a little, but I did it anyway to show how tough I thought I was), so I always thought this one was particularly directed to me.
15. Be a good friend. Always be generous. Be affectionate. Take care of those around you.
16. Money doesn't grow on trees, so don't be wasteful. However, he didn't mind spending on nice meals and a beautiful ambiance.
17. Put yourself out there. You won't meet anyone or make friends as a shut-in.
18. Don't lie, it's too stressful to have to remember what you said. Don't be a know-it-all. And don't brag.
19. Family comes first. Love and honor your parents and siblings and always call your grandparents.
20. My dad was fond of saying "One hot day doesn't make it summer." In other words, don't be so quick to judge a person or situation - good or bad.
21. Last but not least, chocolate helps with the parent/child bonding experience. We spent many a late night watching TV or chatting devouring Reese's Mini Peanut Butter Cups or fresh baked chocolate chip cookies.
I love you Dad, thanks for everything. xoxo
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