What I Learned From My dad In My First 40 Years
By Andrea Watson | October 1, 2020
Hello beauties! Thanks for coming again. This is a topic dear to my heart and I have to thank my amazing father, licensed counselor extraordinaire, wonderful human, and all around awesome dad, David Rice. He has taught me many things, but these are ten of those that stick out the most in my mind, and I’m saving the best for last. So without any more chatter I would like to present to you The List. So let’s go!
One: Education Is Important
It is-no matter what your teenager thinks. Oh, how my dad tried to pound this into the head of his wee soon-to-be high school dropout (me). Of course I didn’t listen, and dropped out of high school only to move on to bigger and better things like hanging out at the mall, getting drunk, and smoking weed. Well, those last two came before I dropped out, but you get the point. Soon I was living happily under my local bridge and not too much later I wound up on the west coast marrying basically a stranger at the age of (Ohmygodpleaseno! Go back in time… back in time I say!!) eighteen. Now, I am not saying that these things happened because I dropped out of school. But the not giving a s*#t that I had been experiencing for a few years beforehand was totally solidified by the act of giving up. In fact, I didn’t give a s@*t for a long time after that. Even when I birthed my first child at the age of nineteen, my happiness was a lie. I finally realized in my 30’s just how nowhere I was getting without an education. I then enrolled in University of Phoenix and studied my ass off, holding a solid 3.97 GPA throughout my courses.
Two: Do The Right Thing Regardless of Who’s Watching
This, my friends, could be the definition of integrity. Now, I’m a moral relativist to the core, but the “right” thing in my mind usually aligns with the majority. And to do what is right without anyone watching is something extra special. Often, us selfish humans only do this if we are being watched, or if we figure we will get something out of it. You know I subscribe to evolutionary theory. There is no such thing as altruism-fight me. But doing what’s “right” every day in one way or another keeps me feeling good about myself and gives my guilt response a reason to shut the hell up.
Three: Stand For What You Believe In
And I do. Staunchly. To wuss out and compromise my belief system is just not in my nature. Dad taught me open defiance in the face of oppression, and I am so grateful for that. I am a Taurus after all-wink! Thank you father for teaching me to have a firm foundation.That being said, what I believe is that it is perfectly okay-good, actually-to regularly evaluate our beliefs and change those that do not serve us or exhibit logic in any way. A belief system based on evidence is much preferable to me than one based on spoken word and scripture. I stand firm on that.
Four: It Doesn’t Matter …
…What anyone thinks about me other than me. Man, this one took SO long to learn. But I think this may be true for a lot of younger people. For a good chunk of my life, I really cared what other people thought about me. I let it give me anxiety and keep me from enjoying life. Blech! My dad spoke the words when I was probably about nine or ten, but it didn’t sink in until much later. Other peoples’ opinions simply don’t matter. They have no bearing on my life. Unless it’s an employer or a spouse, who cares? It’s not like that snarky teenager over there is going to determine whether or not the sun rises tomorrow. Or that judgmental coworker is going to say whether or not my kids love me. You see, it just isn’t worth it, worrying about other peoples’ thoughts and responses to moi. It takes up way too much time and energy and I’ve got way better things to do. Plus, I like myself a lot- I’m a fun girl!
Five: Honesty Is...
The smart way to go. Lying sucks! Now talk about something that takes too much time and energy! I remember the exact moment I decided to stop lying to my dad. I was seventeen, a dropout, a loser. And a smoker. I decided I would no longer try to hide anything I was doing from my father. So I sat in the driveway smoking a cigarette until he got home that night. Then the confrontation came. It was not bad, actually. As a former smoker himself, he understood how hard it was for me to quit after the last three years. We talked about it and he gave me tips on how to quit. I found that I loved not lying, it was so freeing! I decided to extend that policy to the rest of the world. Yep, I’m a straight-shooter through and through. My life is easier and my conscious is clear. I am still a smoker, but I know I don’t have to hide anything from Dad. He knows my secrets and I’m fine with that.
Six: Be True To Yourself
This one is especially important if you ever want to be happy. When you are living to please other people or fit in, you really aren’t living at all. Because you can’t do that without being who you are. It’s just not possible. This is one reason why so many people are miserable in their social roles. They do what they’re supposed to do instead of what makes them happy and that is a slippery slope, my friends. My father taught me this lesson by example. When I was younger I remember him working as a car salesman and a loan officer and I don’t know what else. He has always worked hard, but it was only in his early fifties when he started working happy. Yes, working happy is possible-I’m doing it right now! My dad decided to drop everything and go to school to be a counselor. And he’s still going even though he should be retired. Do what makes you happy. Be true to yourself.
Seven: Keep Your Word
Dad taught me to say what I mean and mean what I say. I just never could trust someone who says they’ll do something and then doesn’t do it. If it’s yes, then it’s yes. If it’s no then it’s no. This one can be hard sometimes, I know. We want to do this, or we say we’ll do that to placate somebody else, but don’t always follow through. Keeping your word is important. I have more respect for the person who promises to give me a ride and does it than the person who promises to buy me a car and disappears. It’s the action that is important rather than the words. Plus, any littles you have in your life will love and trust you for it. Anyone can talk big. It takes someone with real character to make good on their word.
Eight: Follow Your Gut
Oooh, this one is super important! I learned this the hard way. Once upon my twenties, I decided to go visit my parents in California. I was pregnant, had two little kids in tow, and a car that should’ve been scrapped long before I got my hands on it. But I was young and dumb and missed my parents. I decided to actively ignore my gut and start the drive anyway. Two hours in, what do you know, my serpentine belt flew off going 70 and I was stranded in the middle of nowhere. When help did eventually come, I was taken to worse than the middle of nowhere. A tiny town called Winnemucca, Nevada. With my two toddlers, extreme morning sickness, and shoes that didn’t cover my feet all the way I waited all night for a bus to take us home. My kids screamed, I cried, and eventually one of them barfed on the Greyhound as we were pulling into Salt Lake, the must-see destination for every Greyhound traveler. All in all I spent a day and a half and a lot of grief waiting to reverse my two hour mistake when I could have avoided it all if I had just followed my gut like my dad had taught me to.
Nine: Time Passes...
…Whether you go for it or not. What I mean is, if you want to do something, but it will take a long time, don’t be discouraged. Go for it! Look, the time is going to pass by whether you take the plunge or not. Want a master’s degree? Get one! Sure it’ll take six years but guess what? In six years you can either be a) six years older or b) six years older with a master’s degree. It’s up to you. Time should not be a factor once you have decided you want something. Looking at things this way helps to take the pressure off and assuage any doubts. You will also stop questioning yourself. Thanks, dad!
Ten: I Can Do Hard Things
I promise you, it is true. It is so true that it applies to everybody, no matter who you are. This is the biggest and most important lesson I have learned in my life time. Thank you, father. I keep it as a mantra inside my heart. I use it whenever I am feeling hopeless or lost or frustrated. My dad tells me the story of how I, as a little girl, entered a race full of only boys. I knew I couldn’t win, but I told him “I’m going to try anyway”. And so I did, and so I lost. But I was not defeated. I had tried my hardest and lost nothing for my effort, besides a couple minutes out of my life. It was a hard thing to try and beat those boys, especially since it was already established in our first-grade world that Boy A was the fastest in our class. I did not just come by this attitude on my own, though. It was my mother and father’s love and reminders that I can do hard things that really drove it into me. This has literally kept me alive at some points in my life. I battle with mental illness and occasionally this mantra is the only thing standing between me and oblivion. I promise that you can do hard things. I promise you that. I don’t go back on my word, and I don’t lie. So believe it, and live stronger.
So there they are, all lined up pretty. The 10 really big important life lessons I learned from my father over the last 40 years. I will be grateful as long as I live. Who have you learned your big important life lessons from, and what are they? I would love to hear about them in the comments section. Please take a second to tweet or otherwise share, I always appreciate it. And remember, I take requests and I love guest posts! Thank you my lovely audience. Again and again. Stay blessed remember what you are capable of.
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