Fathers Day is just around the corner, so today we’re going to celebrate the timeless overflowing fountain that is fatherly wisdom. Dads have lived life. They know the score. They know the dealio. Any problem you may be facing, they’ve probably faced it at one point in their lives too, and also bested it. Sometimes, though, the Tao of Dad goes over your head. You’re just not ready to pick up what the old man is putting down, you dig? But here’s the beauty of it: when you’re old enough, the light will suddenly switch on. Keeping that in mind here are 6 Things Your Dad Taught You as a Kid That Only Make Sense to You as an Adult:
Some People Are Just Bad
One day, when I was three years old, my dad took me to the local playground. As I was climbing down the jungle gym, an older kid walked up to me, shoved me so hard I fell over, pointed and laughed, and walked away. Afterwards, as my old man was putting Band Aids on my elbows, I kept asking him why this kid had hurt me for no reason. The best he could respond was that some people are just bad. I didn’t understand at the time, but now that our country has elected a giant schoolyard bully as president, I’m starting to get it.
Early to Bed, Early to Rise
Kids hate going to bed. If it was up to a kid, they’d just run around all night long until their nervous system crashed and burned. I never understood why my Dad took such glee in going to bed early. Wasn’t the whole point of adulthood getting to do whatever you wanted? Tell that to me now, at age 30, when my body forces me to sleep at 11pm and then jolts me awake at 7am. The old adage is true.
A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned
Speaking of old adages, when you’re a kid, money is somewhat ephemeral. You get it from your parents or relatives or maybe an after school job. Sometimes you save it, sometimes you blow it on candy. I was always much more in the latter camp. And don’t even get me started on those things my grandparents would give me for birthdays and holidays that were like money but you couldn’t spend them? Well, those bonds are going to ensure a somewhat more comfortable financial future once they stop accruing interest in twenty or so years, which as a professional writer, certainly helps.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
I was a very neurotic kid. Everything scared me. I was afraid I would become separated from my parents forever. I was afraid I’d get hit by a car, or an airplane would crash through the roof of my preschool. I was afraid of nuclear war. I was afraid of God AND the Devil. Basically, I was afraid of that which I had no control over. I couldn’t understand how adults, especially my Dad, didn’t seem to be paralyzed by these same fears. Now that I’m an adult, I know why: it’s hard to fear death if you’ve gotta get up for work in the morning.
The Power of No
Kids are taught to be agreeable. To be available. To help out whenever needed. That ain’t my old man’s style. The guy doesn’t want to be involved. He can’t be bothered. Need help moving on the hottest day of the summer? Sorry, bad back is acting up. Fight between his younger siblings? Tough shit, figure it out on your own. If I have one thing in life to truly thank my Dad for, it’s for teaching me the power of No. If you’re confronted with a situation that you want to say No to, 99.99999% of the time your instincts are correct.
Always Have a Plan
Life is short. And it’s hard. And it’s often unpredictable. This is part of what made me such an emotional wreck all the time when I was a kid. But my Dad would never let me lie down and shit my pants like I wanted to. He’d always sit me down, force me to come up with a plan to deal with whatever I was dealing with, put that plan into action, and stick with it, no matter what. And guess what? If the plan needed changing, that could be dealt with at a later date too. I’d be lying if I said I was still working on having a plan, but that’s just, you know, part of the plan.