In honor of my father's 80th birthday, I thought I would compile of list of eighty things I learned from him, over the course of my life. In all fairness, many of these lessons were taught by both my parents, but since it’s his birthday, Dad gets the credit today. There are also some members of my family who would say that I haven’t mastered all of these lessons…but that’s hardly Dad’s fault, sometimes I’m a slow learner. So here you go Dad –
Eighty Lessons I Learned From My Father:
1. How to change a tire.
2. How to parallel park.
3. The value of unconditional love.
4. Buy good tools.
5. Don’t throw the first punch, throw the last one.
6. The importance of well-polished shoes.
7. Give a firm handshake.
8. Take the time to do the job right the first time, and you won’t have to do it over.
9. Don’t be a quitter.
10. Always look a person in the eye when you talk to them.
11. Don’t spend what you don’t have.
12. How to tie a tie. Yep, I learned from watching him.
13. Take time for vacations.
14. There’s value in hard work.
15. A little sweat won’t kill you.
16. Wear your “Sunday Go to Meetin’” clothes to church.
17. Family comes first.
18. Be patient.
19. Take a nap after lunch.
20. A good reputation in invaluable.
21. Measure twice, cut once.
22. Think before you speak.
23. Take responsibility for your actions.
24. Help your neighbor whenever you can.
25. Go to church.
26. Never stop learning.
27. Don’t pay someone to do a job you can do yourself.
28. Marriage is forever. And that’s a good thing.
29. Even crow tastes good if it’s fixed right.
30. Make lists…there is satisfaction in crossing off completed chores.
31. Discipline is a virtue.
32. Enjoy a bowl of ice cream before bed.
33. Education is important.
34. Show gratitude – say thank you.
35. If you see the tanker truck delivering fuel at the gas station, fill up somewhere else.
36. Forgive quickly.
37. Laugh often! It’s good for you.
38. Kiss your spouse in front of your kids.
39. Listen more than you talk.
40. Follow your dream.
41. How to waterski.
42. How to mow the yard, keeping the lines straight.
43. Show affection to those you love.
44. Practice generosity.
45. The importance of service.
46. Use your talents.
47. How to ride a bike.
48. How to roller skate.
49. Buy used cars.
50. The importance of loyalty.
51. How to stand on my head.
52. Always return (or leave) things better than you found them.
53. Tell the truth.
54. Don’t play with matches.
55. Show your kids you appreciate their talents and efforts.
56. There’s nothing like a good steak, cooked out on the grill.
57. Respect your elders and others in authority.
58. Check your oil.
59. Tip well.
60. Appreciate music.
61. Marry someone good, kind, and willing to work hard.
62. Doing right is its own reward.
63. It’s okay to cry sometimes.
65. Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.
66. When the oil light comes on, STOP!
67. Raise your kids to be kind, strong and independent.
68. Choices have consequences.
69. Timing is everything.
70. Keep your promises.
71. You shift by the sound of the engine, not by the gauge on the dashboard.
72. Sit still in church.
73. Don’t watch the clock when you’re at work.
74. Never swear in front of your kids.
75. How to read a map.
76. How to ride a motorcycle.
77. When negotiating, the one who can walk away has the upper hand.
78. Finish what you start.
79. Any motorcycle is better than no motorcycle, but the best motorcycle is a Harley.
80. There’s nothing sweeter than being called “Blondie” or “Angel” by a dad whom you adore.
Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you.
Gulfport, Mississippi, 1973