My dad wrote one of these for his dad. Here is mine. It wouldn’t be mine if it wasn’t late.
1. There is Never a Time One Should Look Unkempt
These are the things my father has taught me. Not necessarily the ones I exhibit in the outward sense. While my father is usually in a suit, I am usually in jeans and a t-shirt. It is not lost on me that people are a lot nicer to him in public than they are to me. Dressing nice has its privileges. He should know. He began wearing suits in high school.
2. Apologize When You’re Mad
I never got the chance to walk away from an argument, and ours are epic because we are the same person in two bodies AND WE ARE BOTH ALWAYS RIGHT. However, neither one of us have ever walked away from a fight without apologizing and meaning it.
3. Mean Not To
God, it was so irritating when I was a kid. If I said something to the effect of, “I didn’t mean to,” the response was always “mean not to.” It’s emotional shorthand for “try to figure out how not to hurt someone in the first place.” At the time, I thought it meant that there were no accidents. It still does. The meaning has changed for me as I learn the ways I can be really annoying and trying not to unleash it on other people.
4. Funny Fixes Nearly Everything
There’s no reason to do anything without humor. My dad has proved that to me many times, and that advice has gotten me out of sticky situations. People rarely want to hurt other people that make them feel good.
5. Starting a Conversation is Easy
I have incredible social skills, and most of it comes from having watched my dad navigate all kinds of social situations with grace. Don’t know anyone? Sit down randomly and say, “I like your shoes.” You will be amazed at how easily the conversation will go from where he/she got those particular shoes to anything and everything else if there’s a newfound connection… because what do people like to talk about *the most?* Themselves.
6. Somebody Has to Be in Charge
There can always be collaboration, but at the end of the day, someone needs to be held accountable. someone has to direct the flow of traffic. I’ve learned a lot from him about how to be one of those people without seeming like a dictator or doormat.
7. Having People Look at You is the Point of Doing Silly Things
My dad taught me that “they’re all going to laugh at you” is a good thing… and how to use it to my advantage. When you make people laugh, good things tend to happen for you. Because of my dad, I can hold an entire room of people in the palm of my hand… just because they’re waiting to see what I’m going to do next.
8. Love All You Can
We’ve always had this saying in our house- “if I have it, and you need it, it’s yours.” He taught me that there’s literally no place on earth I could go to get away from his love- that he would always find me if I got lost. I’ve loved other people that way even when they haven’t loved me back. Of course it hurts- but what is the point of life without it? What is the point of love so shallow you can’t even feel it there?
9. There is No Such Thing as Quiet Brass Music
10. Be Who You Is
My dad never reacts when I have new tattoos, new piercings, or anything that could even be construed as body-altering. It’s not that he doesn’t care how I look. It’s that he would accept me no matter how I looked.