There are some things, from common-sense knowledge to people skills, everybody should learn. And no matter how hard or uncomfortable some of the lessons may be to teach, it was up to my father to instill them upon me. In addition to teaching me how to change a tire and fix a leaky sink, my dad shared a lifetime of lessons I am only now beginning to appreciate.  

  1. Happiness is a choice you make every single day. On days when things aren’t going your way and you can’t seem to just go with the flow, you can make the choice to be happy regardless. That’s a wonderful, little thing, isn’t it? 
  2. Anything of value, you have to work hard for. The world is not always fairy tales, unicorns and rainbows. It can be rough. So whether it’s your college education, that job you’ve always wanted, or that apartment in the city you’ve longed to move into for years — nothing is handed to you in life. Fathers teach us the value of hard work and how it pays off when you put every ounce of effort and heart into something. But …
  3. Stop and smell the roses every once in a while. Hard work is valuable but so is knowing when to pause and take a step back. Look around, smell the roses and give your mind a break every so often — it’s good for the soul.
  4. Patience is a virtue. You spend your life rushing to grow up, landing that dream job, getting married and so on and so forth. But learning the gift of patience is truly special because it helps you appreciate how amazing it is when you achieve each milestone and how much better it is when you don’t rush each one happening. Practicing patience helps you become more compassionate, understanding and thankful, overall.
  5. Be grateful for every little thing and all the big things. Be thankful for everything from the roof over your head to the food you eat. There are people who go without every big and small thing we take for granted. Dads are great at reminding us of the privileges we have and are experts at putting things in perspective, especially on a day when everything isn’t exactly going your way.
  6. Laziness is a sign of weakness. Never in the history of mankind has laziness earned anyone anything. There is no value in it. You have to work for everything you get or you will get nothing in return. If you are going to do something, do it right.
  7. People make mistakes. Only you can choose to forgive. We are all perfectly imperfect. Once you accept this, you can be graceful, humble and choose to avoid the path of stubbornness. You can forgive, and maybe not forget, but you can elect to not let anger eat away at you. “Holding onto anger is like grasping onto a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else. You are the one who gets burned.” — Buddha
  8. Family time is precious. My dad always instilled in me that the time we spent together — whether good or bad — should be cherished because, at the end of the day, all we have is each other.

Happy Father’s Day!