If your Dad was anything like mine, he had these certain sayings that he repeated all over again as we grew up. Many of them were spoken to us in times of trial. And while Dad was one of the most loving and caring dads I know, at the time, I didn’t really understand his words of advice. As I grow older and become more experienced in what this world has to offer, I finally understand Dad’s famous quotes. And I will admit, Dad, it’s pretty solid advice. Thank you for being real with me, for not sugar coating it, no matter even if it wasn’t the thing I wanted to hear.
For those of you who know my Dad, he has the biggest heart of anyone I know. But often times when it comes to the ones he loves, he can be hard. He expects a lot out of the ones who are closest to him. Dad is one of the best “school of hard knocks” teachers out there. But he does it out of love. These quotes are a reflection of that. I can remember many times when as an emotional teenage girl crying, my Dad spoke these words to me and then I would cry some more. Because in my mind they weren’t particularly soothing words. But he didn’t mean for them to soothe me, he meant for them to teach me a lesson. They aren’t the most politically correct advice out there. They aren’t what you will want to hear in times of trial. But there is so much truth to these words.
1. Life Isn’t Fair
I can’t tell you how many times my Dad told me this. I would come running home as a teenager, upset because the boys made fun of me at school… And Dad would tell me, Jenny life isn’t fair. I can remember thinking “Dad, that is the worst advice ever”. But he is 100% right. Life isn’t fair. It is full of disrespectful, rude, negative people. People are mean to you, criticize you, and can threaten you. Bad things can happen to good people. People die, people are injured for life, people get sick. As I look back on Dad’s word of advice now, I know he was just trying to prepare me. He was just trying to let me know that throughout this life I will encounter trials, tribulations, and criticisms. And it won’t be fair. But it’s not important to focus on the “fairness” of it. It’s important to remember we are bigger and better than those unfair things in life. So get up, dust yourself off, and continue on.
2. Just Because Everyone Else Does It Doesn’t Mean You Have To
I hated this one. Of course I would always hear it when I wanted to do something with my friends. A variation with this one was “just because ‘so-and-so’ jumped off a bridge, does not mean you will”. He didn’t give me the option of choosing. I was a Dewey, I was my parent’s daughter, and that came with a set of guidelines. There were certain things I did not do. And while as a teenager, I cried and cursed my parents for making me feel like the odd man out. Now I realize, Dad was just trying to teach me individualism. In a world that tries so hard to mold you into what society dictates, individualism is important now more than ever. I guess it is thanks to Dad that I can now be confident in the fact that I don’t view myself as that popular girl in school and that’s okay. I am confident in who I am and all those qualities that define me. And I will stand strong while the rest of the people jump off the bridge.
3. Normal is Nothing More Than a Setting on a Dryer
Dad told me this one all the time. Growing up, we talked a lot about what a “normal” family consisted of. Then these words would come out of Dad’s mouth, every time. There is no normal. Normal is relative. What is normal to one family may be totally different to the next. As humans, we all have our struggles, we all have our own quirks, we all have our own strengths. When normal doesn’t exist, you can worry about other things in life that matter, besides if you fit that ideal “normal” in your head. And as a family, it is okay to deviate outside society’s “normal” because if normal is nothing more than a setting on a dryer, the stress of trying to fit in is taken away and your thoughts can be re-focused on the important things in life.
4. You Wipe Your Butt Everyday Even if You Will End Up Back on the Toilet Tomorrow
This one would usually come in the form of a question when I would complain about doing a mundane task. As a kid, I didn’t understand why it was important to do every day tasks like wash the dishes or make my bed. It was Dad’s best example of something that we do every day because we have to. I remember as a kid, trying to come up with ways to debate this and now I think about how gross it sounds. HA. But honestly, he has a point. There are certain things in this life that we don’t particularly like to do. But it is important that we do them. And in the case of this example, it is also important we do them well! 😉
So there you go. Some hard knocks lessons straight from my Dad. I am sure your Dad has some great nuggets of wisdom, please share them with me below! I would love to hear them! And if you are a Dad, feel free to borrow a couple of these! Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there.
Dad… I love you, I appreciate you, and I thank you for raising me into the woman I am today. For always pointing me to be a woman of God, for always telling me to be unique in a sea of people trying to find that “normal”, and for always making me laugh with your clever words of wisdom. Speaking of laughing… here’s one for the books, Dad.