Life Navigation: Words to Remember from my Father

He has a genius IQ and street smarts to match. That is my father. I am thankful for the things he taught me. Things that have made me a stronger person and that have helped me navigate the world.

He wanted a better life for his children than he had. I am thankful because his life was difficult growing up poor and chopping cotton in the hot sun.  Our life has been better.

That, in turn, made it easier to give my children a better life than I had.  

We are in a good place but at times have not done so well.  Some say we are too much alike; code for “strong-willed” and “stubborn”. We are good at “sticking to our guns.” 

Some of his valuable thoughts on navigating life:

Unless you are nearly dead you go to school and to work. Of late, I have been struck by people of all ages who do not know the importance of just showing up. 

You work hard not because someone is standing over you but because that is just who you are and what you do.

Money is only important when you don’t have any. 

Everyone needs to wake up every day with something to do and something to look forward to or you will die. 

You should know, without a doubt, someone knows what they are talking about or do not believe it and keep asking questions until you find correct information. I am sure he has never heard the phrase “critical thinking skills” but taught them to us to the max. 

Gather all the facts before you decide.Be careful about what you say you will do. If you say you will do it, it should be as good as done. 

Complete your education. It is something no one can take away. Life is much harder without it.

Do not go in debt except for a necessity which is basically a house and a car.  It is no fun to have your money spent before it is earned. Debt is a bad cycle to find yourself in. 

Be careful what you go looking for because you might find it.

 Sometimes, “the more you stir crap, the more it stinks.’ Basically, be careful about “stirring the pot.”  I have thought of this many times when deciding whether to speak or remain silent.

At times, moving forward in life involves taking risks but you must take them sometimes.

Think big picture. The decisions you make do not just involve you but affect others as well.

 Do not give up until you have tried everything. Especially, do not give up because someone says it cannot be done.

Teens need boundaries. Curfews are good. And no one is ever old enough to watch “R” rated movies. As an adult, I have been thankful for those boundaries I protested loudly about as a teen.

If you miss church, watching “Touched by an Angel” is a surprisingly good substitute every now and then.

Do not ever think you have to keep doing things the way they are always done. Learn why they are being done that way.

If someone has two or three true friends in a lifetime, they are lucky.

If you are worried about using the wrong fork or other etiquette failures, just be yourself. That is always best.

Don’t let impressing others be your motivation for doing.

The older the violin, the sweeter the music.

Happy Father’s Day to my dad and to all who are doing this important, beautiful, and life-altering work. Stay encouraged and hopeful. You are changing the generations with each teachable moment. 

Keep the Faith #ktf




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