My dad e-mailed me, my brother, and my sister this weekend with some advice in the form of a poem. All my life, my dad has been chock-full of advice. Sometimes, I didn't want to hear it. Usually, that was when I needed to the most. Now that I am an adult, I hear his advice coming out of my own mouth. So, in honor of my dad, here are ten things I have learned from him. Some are direct quotes, and others are things that I learned by his example.
1. The job's not done until you put your tools away. It is very convenient to have your tools in the drawer where they belong, isn't it? How do you think they got there?
2. Wiping off the counter is part of doing the dishes.
3. Sunburn is bad for your skin. Sun is not.
4. Your friends will come and go, but your family will always be there for you.
5. Shine the flashlight where I'm looking, not in my eyes.
6. You should spend your money. That's the reason you make it.
7. You should not fight with your brothers and sisters. There are times when they will be the only ones who understand.
8. Pitching in and working hard is part of what it means to be a family. Sometimes, that means you will have to do things you don't want to do for the good of the whole.
9. Being physically tired is different than being mentally tired. At the end of the day, you will sleep best if you are both.
10. Check the oil before you go on a long car trip.
And this, which he shared with me once when I was in high school, and again this weekend (so I guess technically, there are eleven things). It is, as he said, a reflection of his spirit:
"With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." (Desiderata)
Thanks, Dad. I'm sorry I forgot your birthday. At least I remember all the things you taught me.
(This is my awesome dad, at the zoo. I know, I know, I look exactly like him.)