This starts a little bit like an unofficial biography. So, before I proceed I will disclaim; my dad has not given me permission to quote him, nor is he aware of this post (or most the things I do), so it’s not like I sat down and interviewed him. These are just lessons and teeny shards of wisdom he’s imparted into his offspring, whether he knows it or not.
My dad has been business owner, partner, self employed, employee, apprentice, high-school-drop-out, brother, son, father. (Personally, I think he’s particularly good at the last thing). We’re both very alike and completely different, but I think that’s what makes us work. If my dad had a twitter bio, I think it would say, I read a book once, it was green. A man of very few words.
He calls me kid, his favourite colour is orange, he’s 6″4 but slouches and is scared of frogs, and these are just a few of the things he’s taught me:
If you can’t figure it out, step back, put the kettle on, but go back to it.
When I call my dad, bitching about something that’s hard at uni, he will always tell me a variation of this. It’s important to remember to walk away from a problem, relax and go back to it more objectively. Sometimes you’re too frustrated to focus. It works wonders with writers block too.
This is now something I take very seriously and has not aided my caffeine addiction or my abuse of the kettle.
The little things will make you happy.
My dad is excited by such silly little things, that have such minor functions. We once had a conversation over a particular spoon that was the perfect size for the sugar in our coffees, but it does apply to the larger sense of life, too. I doubt it’s something he’s ever consciously thought about, but a particularly well cooked dinner or a surprisingly well made cup of tea will almost make my dad forget about a bad day altogether.
If it’s important, you’ll find the money.
Mortgages, bills, etc. are important. But so is your best friends birthday, or going to see your daughter whilst she’s at uni, and holidays. He might have delayed paying a few bills in life and had a couple of cash flow issues, but he would always get it together when he actually needed to. Get your priorities right, you can always earn more money.
Asking for help is okay. (I’m still trying to learn this one, he’s leading by example)
I admit, I struggle to ask for help, I struggle to admit I need help, but my dad has taught me that it doesn’t equate weakness or inferiority.
Don’t undersell yourself.
My dad thinks he’s daft. He’s not. In fact, he’s really very clever, but he makes self deprecating jokes that he’s stupid. It frustrates me so much, because he undermines himself and I think it limits him at times. He’s almost afraid of what he doesn’t know. He encourages me to go and learn and is the president of the Grace Gay booster club, but continues to underestimate himself. So this is one of those lessons I’ve learnt because of him, maybe not from him.
Do favours for people.
And not because you want one back, but because you can. I think a lot of the reason my dad has survived in the industry he’s involved in, is because he’s nice. He will do anything for anybody if he can.
Do the things you like.
He’s not a massive hobby guy, something he passed on to his children. However, we all have interests and if there’s one thing my dad has taught us, is that it’s so important to do the things you like. Make sure you have a job you’re passionate about. Don’t follow the crowd if you’re not interested. Be creative (I’m the only creative one, my brothers are all logic and facts). Do what you want to do. Motivation follows.
You’re going to be okay.
Hypothetically, your career is up a creek. What are you going to do? You are going to sit in your canoe and find a fucking paddle and a way to deal because you have to. I think the art of this is above, appreciate the little things, whilst you muddle through the big things and you’ll be okay. If you’re not, call your dad, bitch for 20 minutes, step back, get some distance and put the kettle on and go back to it. Okay?
There’s probably another 45,000 things too, including but certainly not limited to; Don’t eat yellow snow, how to put up a shelf, how to change a 28 ton arctic lorry wheel, what the fuck taxes are, silence is okay and being weird is fine, too.
Sorry about the pictures. Love you Pops.