Your Father's Advice

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oatnet   10 MW

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Your Father's Advice

Post by oatnet » Jun 16 2011 11:52am

I just read an article on CNN, where people posted their Father's best life advice. Some of it was really inspiring! Given the wide range of intuitive, self-sufficient folks here on E:S, it made me wonder what advice made us who we are. If you have a gem about YOUR Dad, please share it!

I didn't have a dad - just a male ancestor I met when I was 22. I guess his advice would be more of a subtext - "You're on your own, kid."

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Re: Your Father's Advice

Post by MikeFairbanks » Jun 16 2011 12:19pm

My dad, who did very well in his career and as a real estate "mogul" always told me not to be ashamed to brown nose others.

Worked for him. He kissed his bosses' butts and rose to the top in his organization.

He used to always say (probably weekly, maybe several times a week), "don't cut off your nose to spite your face."


It took me forever to understand that, but eventually I understood. He also said never to burn bridges. It took me a while to put that into practice as well.


Finally, my dad never put up with "are we there yet."

If we asked that, or "where are we going?" He would always answer the same by asking us, "Se Habla Espanol?"

That means, "do you speak spanish?"

It was his way of telling us he was taking us to Tijuana and leaving us at the orphanage. He thought that was hilarious, and laughed constantly at it. We didn't think it was funny, even though we knew he was joking. Like most dads, he told the same jokes over and over.


I still ask his advice a lot, mostly about home maintenance, real estate, and purchases of appliances, cars, etc. He has excellent advice. I don't ask about parenting, because we have a spoken (yes, spoken) agreement that I won't criticize his parenting if he won't criticize mine. He used to offer unsolicited advice, and one day I confronted him on it and said, "you know, just because I parent differently than you did doesn't mean I'm disrespecting you or questioning the way you raised me. It means I live in a different generation with a different set of parameters that I didn't set. Society won't let me parent the way you did."

He understood that, and we agreed that our different parenting styles are not better or worse. It's been great. He no longer criticizes or offers that kind of advice, and I never criticize the horrible/wonderful way he raised us. ;)



When I was a kid, if I got goofy in a public place, my dad had this perfect way to gently set his hand on my head, and then use his middle finger to flick me really hard. I mean HARD. He had a gift. And to outside observers, they'd have no idea I was in absolute ten-second agony. It was like martial arts or something. Just a perfect snip.

And if I were to cringe and yell, "OW!" he'd do it again. One snip on the head was all it took. I would very slightly cringe, hold back the tears, and ten seconds later I was a little gentleman. Same for my brother.

Other than that, I got a couple spankings up to the age of about eleven (I remember each one and deserved worse). And he only hit me with a closed fist one time, when I was about 14, for telling him that he wished failure upon me. I said, "you just don't want me to be successful at anything," when he frowned on my yardwork business started with a friend (because people called to complain, and because it affected my grades, even though we were making good money for kids our age). He slugged me in the gut, knocking the wind out of me. I was questioning his love and devotion, and I actually learned from it (even though I acted like a pansy and told mom, who got mad at him....in hindsight, I should have sucked it up).

He was (and still is) an outstanding father with a gazillion faults, like me.


Also, I've been fortunate enough that I've confessed just about everything to him, including what happened to the Audi and how that hole got in the wall (handgun accident) and we can laugh about it now.

Yeah, a friend loaned me his handgun when I was about 15. I never even considered it a weapon in terms of people. I lived out west and our home was surrounded by canyons, so we went out shooting a lot, mostly rifles and shotguns. Abandoned cars, freezers, bottles, rabbits, etc. were our enemies, not people.

So, one day I was out shooting bottles with my buddy's .22 handgun, and while returning to the house and walking down the hall, I was confused about the safety. Which way was the safety supposed to go to keep the gun safe?

What better way to find out than to pull the trigger, right? DOH.

So, the gun fired (thank goodness I was the only one home). The bullet went through the wall downstairs and into my brother's room. I found the slug in one of his jackets in his closet. Phew.

So, I grabbed a piece of masking tape and covered the hole in the hallway wall, and by miracle the tape was exactly the same color as the paint. Seriously, stepping back two feet one could not see the damage. The tape blended perfectly.

It took them a year to find it (yep, a whole year) and by then I had a great lie: I accidentally slammed into the wall with the fishing spear I made in metal shop. Hahahaha. Worked perfectly. Didn't get in trouble at all.

By the time I confessed the true story, twenty years had passed. :)


My brother and I were so sneaky and mischievous, but my father says we were good kids because (unlike almost all of our friends), my brother and I never got arrested for anything.


Okay, I did get arrested once, but the charges were dropped at the police station because I really had nothing to do with it.

Oh, and there was the time when the cops brought me home (I was ten) for throwing rotten lemons at passing cars. I cried all day (especially after dad screamed at me for almost killing people. It was his best acting job ever, because I knew he was trying not to laugh, but he had to send us a message).

Oh the stories.

You opened a can of worms starting this thread.


There was one time, skiing in Northern California, that I got tired of waiting on the family. I progressed beyond them and asked to ski alone for awhile. As I came down the mountain to meet my family for lunch, I was cruising along, listening to Van Halen on the Walkman, when I saw a pool of blood in the snow. I stopped and looked at it, thinking, "man, someone ate it big time."

Then, when I got to the lodge, I walked up to my family and laughed loudly, "someone wiped out big time up on Silverado (a ski run at June Mountain)."

My dad turned around and gave me the evil eye. He was holding a bloody towel to his face.
Stay frosty

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number1cruncher   1 kW

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Re: Your Father's Advice

Post by number1cruncher » Jun 16 2011 12:56pm

Best advise my dad gave me was while he was changing out a stereo in our family van. He told me that everything in life is okay in moderation. I have used this mantra in my life endlessly.

He also ingrained in me that I am responsible for myself and that noone would ever fix my screw-ups in life for me once he was gone. That was before he met my wife. :mrgreen:

To put things into context, my dad is a lowly maintenance clerk at the Post Office who orders parts for cranky mechanics. His father was the top Patent Judge at the Patent and Trademark Office's Electrical Engineering Division in the 60's and 70's. I think my dad was a much better father than my grandfather, because I was his focus, not work. Again, different generations...
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Re: Your Father's Advice

Post by beast775 » Jun 16 2011 1:39pm

well my father always told me-pay yourself first, for your work. then use the rest for other people.took me 25 yrs to understand but it works very well.
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Re: Your Father's Advice

Post by bigmoose » Jun 16 2011 2:15pm

My Dad was the greatest man I have known. He taught me many things, the most important was: "Moose when you don't know what to do, do what is right!"

He also defined an axiom of life for me: "Moose, whenever you learn something it is going to cost you. Time, money or a piece of skin. Sometimes all three..."
Last edited by bigmoose on Aug 07 2011 7:09pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Your Father's Advice

Post by StudEbiker » Jun 16 2011 2:50pm

First off, Wow Oatnet.....tough advice. :|

Man, my dad had so many sayings and tidbits of wisdom it's hard to know where to start, but the one I hear my self repeating most is, "A job done 50% right is a 100% wrong."

The one about not "cutting off you nose to spite your face" is pretty good, but I my dad used to put it a slightly dofferent way: "Don't shit in your own nest." :P

The biggest conundrum he ever laid on me though was this, "try to see yourself as others see you." Man, I tell you that's the hardest thing to do I think I've ever tried. However, even attempting it has kept me on a pretty good path though.

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Re: Your Father's Advice

Post by MikeFairbanks » Jun 16 2011 2:53pm

Here's another one, and this is so true (but most of us don't want to admit it): What other people think of you is none of your business.
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Re: Your Father's Advice

Post by Ypedal » Jun 16 2011 3:25pm

Hmm.. not much advice as i grew up, little did i know at the time ( it was well hidden ) my parent were going thru a rough patch in my young years, so i was pretty much on my own and did my own thing.... likely the DIY mentality i have developed.. If i want something, i better start working on it cuz i'm on my own .. :o

My dad was/is a good man, i have much respect, has an education degree and a nursing degree, yet ended up prefering the simple life and became a lumberjack .. what i would extract from that is that money is not worth it if you have to be stressed out to the max for what you earn.
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Re: Your Father's Advice

Post by REdiculous » Jun 16 2011 5:04pm

"Go stack marbles on the freeway, kid." :lol:

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Re: Your Father's Advice

Post by jonescg » Jun 16 2011 9:32pm

"Shit Chris, getting rid of you would be like putting on two good workers!" :lol:

I love my dad. Taught me all sorts of cool stuff. I can't think of many other pearls of wisdom, except maybe:

"Women are a funny breed of cattle"

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Re: Your Father's Advice

Post by wineboyrider » Jun 16 2011 9:46pm

My pops is a sage. He only hit me once in my whole life, because I smarted off once when I was 16 to my mother. I work with him everyday so it isn't always easy, because he is tougher on me than on the other workers at our winery. He is generally easy going, but my father is workaholic and I learned how to make some dad good vino from him. My father is still a gentle man and I know I can count on him even today to bail me out of jail. LOL!
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Re: Your Father's Advice

Post by neptronix » Jun 16 2011 10:48pm

My dad was a pothead janitor that liked to make surfboards, surf, and work on shitty cars, neither which i was interested in. He was either slaving away or being at home being um.. unpredictable. Never supportive of anything i did and constantly tried to get me to get into the janitorial business with him until early adulthood.

Mom was an aspiring psychologist, feminist, and liberal to the core. Very supportive.

Dad had the DIY spirit but he was crazy so i never listened to him.. he was best avoided at all costs because he could go nuts on you all the sudden for no reason or provocation. But yard saling and dumpster diving with him was fun.

Mom had the brains and supported my tinkering with electronics, art, and computers early on.

I really had to find my own way. It's been an interesting journey. I find that people with the shittier / more awkward childhoolds are way more interesting than the ones that grew up in a um.. functional household :)
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Re: Your Father's Advice

Post by amberwolf » Jun 17 2011 1:09am

My dad taught me a lot of things, most of which I would rather not have learned, because most of them are wrong. :(

For instance: That it's ok to cheat on people you care about, ignore them when you called them or asked them a question or asked them over to your place, give them things instead of paying attention to them, take those things back whenever it happens to be inconvenient without them, run away whenever a problem you create grows to big to ignore anymore, etc. :(

I have tried, ever since I started figuring out things for myself, to be the polar opposite of him, but I know I'm not, and always need improvement. Lots of it.

One thing he did teach me that is right, is that if you have something that can be shared without losing any of it yourself, you should always do that. LIke caring, knowledge, wisdom, love, etc. But I also learned that from my Mom, first, since dad had pretty much abandoned us by then, forcing my Mom to flee with us kids to the countryside, where her dad lived.

I'd say my mother's advice would be much more important to me, and most of that was very practically-instilled, rather than ever spoken. I try my hardest to live by it, and I don't even think I could sit down and list it. Just, "be good to others and yourself and good things will happen back", and things like that. And that when bad things happen, it's not always going to be that way--bad stuff goes away, even though you have to push it away most of the time, or work at it, but if you don't give up, it *will* get better, and the more people you involve in making things better, the better it will get and the faster it will get better.

Does that make any sense?

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Re: Your Father's Advice

Post by dogman dan » Jun 17 2011 4:43am

I've spent my whole life trying not to repeat some of my dad's mistakes. So I never hooked up with a bitch, or cheated on my wife and have a 32 year marriage.

Never tried to swim in the pond too big for me, and was always the big fish in my medium size pond.

And never blew all my money on too much house. That second one really came in handy the last few years while nearly everybody else blew it buying a trophy house. We blew money flying, but when we needed to stop we stopped. Can't stop a huge house payment once you commit.

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Re: Your Father's Advice

Post by Mark C. » Jun 17 2011 1:06pm

My father worked long hours and didn't spend as much time with us as he / we would have liked.

What I remember the most was him telling us that the only thing you will take with you when you leave this world is your name, so make sure it's still good. Pay your bills and do what you promise to do.

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Re: Your Father's Advice

Post by NeilP » Jun 17 2011 1:19pm

Not father advice, but mothers advice....slightly off course here, but..

Quote from Arthur in the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy books

Chapter 7
"You know," said Arthur, "it's at times like this, when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young."
"Why, what did she tell you?"
"I don't know, I didn't listen."
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Re: Your Father's Advice

Post by Kingfish » Jun 18 2011 11:08pm

My Dad used to tell me the same story every year - not some sage advice, mainly to remind himself of what I had said to him when I was very little (about 3) and had to go pee; we’re standing at the urinal and he says that I said “Sometimes it’s like this… and sometimes it just grows and GROWS!” :shock: This always caused him to bust up laughing! I was glad I could bring some entertainment value into his life.

The only other thing he said that was memorable was “squirrel away your money”. I miss him, though not the cigarettes. In that regard we were opposites; I enjoy adventure, and he enjoyed watching it, with a beer.

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