My Father's Daughter

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.
- Author unknown, but often misattributed to Mark Twain

My family likes to joke that had we been born closer together, my mom and I could pass for twins. We have similar coloring and nearly identical facial structures. My mom and I are both first-born children, both type-A personalities and both entrepreneurs. We are voracious readers, savvy shoppers and spa aficionados. It is easy to see where I take after my mother.

An impartial observer must look a bit closer to see where I take after my father. We have the same hair texture and skin type. My dad and I are both believers in big muscle activity, both single minded and both cautious when setting precedence. We are lovers of fresh baked bread, avid letter writers and opera aficionados. (OK, Dad is the aficionado, but I do enjoy the music!) In honor of Father's Day I have put together the Top Ten List of Life Lessons Learned from my Dear Dad.

  1. Family First ~ Make time for what is really important. Whether it is a Sunday stroll, Friday family dinners or Monday movie night, carve out time to enjoy the company of those closest to you.
  2. Mirror, Mirror ~ Respect is a mirrored reflection of you. Respect is not something that you can demand from someone. Respect is something you must show to others so that, in turn, they will be respectful to you.
  3. Be A Diplomat ~ To function as an adult, it is imperative that you are able to disagree with someone without becoming disagreeable. You can think an idea is foolish, but never call the person a fool. Always attack the idea, never the individual.
  4. Less Traffic ~ Whenever possible, take the high road. Do the right thing for the long run. It may take more time, more money and have the potential to be a bit ego bruising, but you will be glad you did.
  5. Opposites Attract ~ Know your own strengths and weakness. Then actively seek out those individuals whose strengths match your weaknesses.
  6. First Time is a Charm ~ If a job is worth doing at all, it is worth doing right. From digging ditches to surgery, your work reflects upon you; do it well.
  7. VIPs ~ The most important people in any office are the support staff; secretaries, receptionists, copy person, supply clerk, cleaning person, etc. These are people who can make your job much easier or much harder. While they might not be the top earners in an office, they are the people who ensure the office functions on a day-to-day basis. Offer them your sincere admiration.
  8. You May Pass This Way Twice ~ Never burn your bridges. The world is a small place and you never know when you may come in contact with someone again. Be sure to leave each situation on a positive note, just in case you happen back that way again.
  9. Dressing Down ~ Appropriate attire is always important. When shopping/negotiating for a big-ticket item, dress just well enough so the salesperson thinks you can afford the purchase. But not so well the salesperson hears the ringing of the cash register's drawer.
  10. No No Crankies ~ Sleep when you are tired. While few individuals can match my dad's ability to sleep anywhere, this is still good advice all the same.
On this Father's Day, I encourage you to think about what you have learned from your father, both through words and through his example. Perhaps this year you will bypass the standard tie and opt instead for a letter to your dad from the heart.