Life Lessons Every Dad Should Teach

Today is April 8th which should have been my Dad’s 65th birthday. It blows my mind that we’re coming up on the 5th anniversary of his passing but I promise, this not a sad post.

Instead, it’s a post on all the things he made me do or did to me while I was growing up that I absolutely hated. You know what I’m talking about because you’re doing it to your kids right now. You make them do things that make them crazy and curse you under their breath.

lessons every dad should teach

And yes, your kids curse you under their breath.. stop kidding yourself.

But if you’re like me, you’re doing these things for the same reason my dad did them to me.. to teach my kids the important lessons about life. And someday – if we’re lucky, they’ll let us know that all that Charlie Brown talking (wa-wah-wa-wah-wa-wah) worked and that THEY learned, too.

I only regret I didn’t tell him more often how those lessons actually sank in. If you’re a new dad, I can tell you for a fact that you could learn a lot from my old man. You could also benefit greatly from checking out something like a best for mums ultimate dad guide as this could have some valuable advice that can make your early experiences as a father that bit easier.

If you’re going to do it, do it right – I can’t tell you how many times I did something, thought I was finished and ready to cruise on to the important part of my day (playing) and was promptly sent back to do it over. Sometimes multiple times. It made me crazy and then somewhere along the way I realized that if I just did it really good the first time, I didn’t have to do it over. Shocking.

Flat tires don’t change themselves – I’ll never forget the summer before my senior year in high school when my lessons a dad should teachdad called and woke me up from a typical teen slumber to tell me I had a flat tire and that I had better get out there and change it. I couldn’t believe it – how could he leave me like that? I didn’t know how to change a tire. So I did what anyone would do. I called my friend Marsh to help me. Only problem there is that he didn’t know how to change a tire either. So we learned together and got the tire changed. And I’ve never forgotten. Lesson – know the basic things to keep a car maintained.. changing the tire, checking the fluids, etc. I’m pretty sure that everyone will need these skills at some point in their lives. My other friend knows nothing about any of these things, as she just takes her car to this MINI service in Lawrenceville whenever she has a problem. This is fine, but I just think she may benefit more if she had these types of things taught to her, as it may save her some money. She did tell me that she prefers to take her car to a professional garage so she knows that it has been fixed correctly. That’s fair enough, I guess. Everyone has their own ways of doing things.

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For every action, there’s an opposite action – This was the Margo Law of Motion. If you turn it on, turn it off. If you drop it, pick it up. If it breaks, fix it. If it’s dirty, clean it. Not only did he teach me but he did his best to teach my kids, too. I’m still working on teaching them that lesson but trust me – I repeat the Law of Motion multiple times a day.

Stepping in dog crap is no fun – If you’re going to own an animal, you have to own ALL the animal. The good, fun stuff and the crappy stuff like picking up after it and scooping up the crap out of the front yard. Which I had to do twice a week before I mowed the grass. And yes, I learned the hard way to do it before I mowed. And it’s not just about dog crap. There are always jobs that suck. Just because they suck doesn’t mean you get out of doing them and you should still to do them well.

Your reputation and name are all that you have – And if you mess either of them up, it’s hard to come back from it. It really does take a lifetime to build a reputation and one stupid second to ruin it. Don’t believe me? Look at the news. There are plenty of people doing it everywhere. I tell the girls all the time that you don’t ever want to be “that” girl at school. You know “that” girl and I know it sounds old-fashioned but think about it.. you don’t remember the rockstars from your graduating class nearly as much as you remember the ones who royally screwed up and did something scandalous The other part of that lesson was if you tell someone you’re going to do something, you better do it. I can guarantee you that if I tell you that I’m going to do something, it’s as good as done. And if I can’t do it, I’m not going lie and tell you that I can. Not worth my name or my reputation.

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Don’t lie, cheat or steal – The ONLY time that I was spanked when I was gowing up is when I lied. It didn’t happen very often but when I told a lie and got caught, I knew the consequences. So guess what? I don’t lie. Ever. Which may explain why I am usually TOO honest. I also have zero tolerance for people who lie and let’s not get into the cheating and stealing.

You can play when your chores are done – My dad was one of the hardest working men that I have ever known in my life. He was at the office by 7am and when he got home, he put in at least another 3 hours around the house. While I don’t recommend working as much as my dad did (sadly, that’s pretty much how I remember my childhood), I firmly believe that you need to work before you can play. It sucks, but chores have to get done and then we can play. I don’t drive my kids as hard as my dad drove me but I still preach this to them.

My dad taught me so many more lessons and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him and wish that he was still with us. But I know that he’s looking down on us and I hope that he’s proud that I DID learn and that I’m doing the best job that I can to instill the same values in my girls.

Happy Birthday to my Dad. We love you and miss you 🙂


June 16, 2016 at 11:15 am

I realize I’m a little late to the party here but thanks for the great blog. I came across it searching for ” The Margo Law” that was reference elsewhere. I appreciate the reminder for keeping my dad-skills in check. Happy father’s day to your dad. Have a great day. 🙂

April 15, 2013 at 11:19 am

My dad was also obsessed with making me learn to check and change a car’s fluids and was ecstatic when my driver’s ed teacher forced the girls in his car to change a tire in the gym parking lot (the lone guy didn’t have to, which never fails to tick me off). Yet, I must grudgingly admit that I have changed far more tires (and more efficiently) than my husband ever has and I taught my daughter to look after her car. Dads have a way of getting their point across, don’t they? Loved the tribute!!

April 14, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Your father sounds like an awesome man, and an excellent teacher. You’ve given me a great roadmap to use with my two little ones who will no doubt curse me today, but see the value in these lessons tomorrow. Thank you for the lovely read. Best wishes for your family.

April 14, 2013 at 12:41 pm

What a great tribute to your father! Definitely life lessons that we should all be sharing with our children!
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April 13, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Happy Born Day Dad! Sage advice hear, especially, “If you’re going to do it, do it right.” Sooo true. And clearly stepping in dog poop and any other kind of ish is no fun. Thank you for visiting BeQuoted! #sitssharefest
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April 13, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Great life lessons. My dad shared many of the same, and you’re right in that now I find myself teaching my kids the same values. It just took a few decades to realize how smart my parents were and are. 🙂 Stopping by from SITS.
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April 13, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Such wonderful advice from your dad, he was a very smart man! Thank you for sharing 😉
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April 13, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Awesome lessons! I wish someone had told me about the dog crap before we got a dog. I was not prepared for that much maintenance. Cats are so much easier.

Thanks for sharing the influence your dad had on you. I hope you’re enjoying many wonderful memories of him.

Happy Sharefest. I hope you have a great weekend.
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April 13, 2013 at 12:06 pm

What a great tribute to your dad. Huge hugs!

April 13, 2013 at 10:53 am

HUGS to you. This week marked what would have been my Grammy’s 89th birthday and it’s her first in heaven. She passed just after the new year. I spent a lot of time thinking about the things I learned from her this week as well.

April 11, 2013 at 12:45 am

Oh what a lovely piece! I am a lie hater too. I tell my kids all the time, lying is unacceptable. Carters DON’T lie. I can’t lie at all… which as you can relate, is a problem! Not even a little lie- oh how I disrespect people who do.
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April 8, 2013 at 10:55 pm

This is a lovely tribute to your Dad, thanks for sharing it.
These are some of the same things I learned, and *now* appreciate, from my father too.

April 8, 2013 at 4:19 pm

This is a very sweet post! I had to laugh, because I was right there beside you!
I know you will always miss him… it breaks my heart thinking about the ones that have left us…
I have a 14 year old son and an almost 6 year old daughter. Sigh. Your post made me smile, enough said!
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    April 8, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Thanks for stopping by!! And don’t you just hear yourself saying the SAME things to them that ours said to us?? At which point do we finally go “that’s it! I AM my parent”.

April 8, 2013 at 1:55 pm

What a beautiful tribute! I love the lessons your dad taught you and love even more how you appreciate these lessons so much now. Great stuff!
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    April 8, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    I think I have to do a part 2 for FAther’s Day.. seemed like all I got were “lessons”. Funny how you miss those lessons once the person’s not around to continue to give them.

April 8, 2013 at 11:11 am

I so very much enjoyed this Mrs. D. This is the best kind of immortality. It’s a kind you get from doing the right thing for the ones you love for the right reasons. It’s a side effect, not a prize or a goal. Well done, Mrs. D’s Dad. *tips hat*
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April 8, 2013 at 10:53 am

P.S. Just shared this in my G+ Bloggers Unite! community. If you’d like some more attention, please join us; we have a grand group of peeps who read content and share.
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April 8, 2013 at 10:51 am

Yesterday, my mom said to my dad, “Do you have any appointments tomorrow? Maybe you can run down to Jayme’s and battery charge her Mini Cooper?”

And, Dad said, “I’ll give you the charger and you can do it yourself.” And, I agreed.

So, after much ado to find the battery under the cover under the bonnet and breaking off a tip in the process to read how to hook up the charger to call dad and ask if the arrow was supposed to leave zero any time soon, sigh, I do need Dad.

Yes, I’m not diving in too deeply above b/c I cannot cry today.
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