Printed June 16 as a weekly column submission. — Hug your dad, your step-dad, your grandpa or your mentor this Father’s Day. All are here to give guidance and they deserve recognition.
The way I accept advice from my dad has evolved over time. As a toddler, gentle fatherly nudges were met with, “Why?” In junior high most pieces of subtle guidance were met with a strong, “I know.”
In my upper teens, it started to stick. When I was struggling in a relationship, Dad looked at me and said, “Never date someone you wouldn’t marry.”
Dad had a point. And just like that my boyfriend got dumped.
My dad never gossips, he’s always up beat and his advice is occasional but steady. When he has something to say, it comes in loud and clear. Since college, he has put much of his shared wisdom in writing, as email correspondence. I save each bit I receive, read it from time to time and find that it has applied to many situations as I’ve grown up through the years. Here is a sampling:
Sophomore year in college:
Sent: Sunday, September 23, 2001 7:15 p.m.
When you get old, the hours go by so fast that you really don’t need a watch, just a calendar. Savor these days that seem to drag. Use the time to do something that you want to do – like the gentleman in “Groundhog Day” who learned to play the piano in a single day. Of course, the day came over and over again until he finally got it right. I hope your days go well. Keep in touch. We really enjoyed seeing you again, if only for a few hours.
While at my first job:
Sent: Monday, September 25, 2006 10:15 p.m.
I am glad to see you are still dreaming. There’s still lots of mystery left in your life. [Your brother] John thought that to be very profound when I mentioned it to him. Don’t close any doors and keep GOD in the center and all things will come together. Some days my attitude is up and some it is down. Holding an even keel is one thing I depend on my faith for. I know your faith will help you as well.
I will continue to think of you all the time.
These are two of my favorite notes because I think they’re timeless. When the days seem to drag I do like to try something new – maybe a new type of food or a new hobby. It’s not the same day over and over again, it’s always something different.
Even now, years after the emails were sent, there is still mystery in my life. There are many things to explore, people to meet and stories to tell. I’m happy to accept advice because now I recognize just how powerful words can be, that advice is free and most of the time, father knows best.