3 things my Father taught me

I’m a day late on this one… but at least I’m not a dollar short!

Actually… that’s debatable.

Yesterday was Father’s Day. I sent my dad an e-card (because the Canadian Postal Union was still on strike/locked out last week and I knew that there was no way the card would get to my dad in time).

But what I really wanted to do was tell him how amazing he is.

You know how every child believes their dad is superman – that he can do anything at all? You know how every child grows up and out of that phase?

I didn’t.

Not really.

I still believe my dad can do anything. Ok, maybe not fly or save the world countless times from Lex Lutherianesque super-villans, but he can build a house with his own two hands (and supplies…) He can navigate the complicated world of business and finance and come out a winner (that’s like when Superman had to free Lois Lane from the bubble that he couldn’t get through and he had to warp speed around the earth in order to break the sound barrier so he could get through the bubble and save Lois Lane….) (yes, I am referring to the television show – Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman).

But gushing about my dad was not the original intention of this article. So, without further ado, here are a few things my Father taught me:

1) Don’t be a squirrel

When I was first learning to drive, I was very timid (as I’m sure most new drivers are) and I would inch out into an intersection with uncertainty, pausing and looking around as if some big truck was going to materialize out of no where and squish the front side of my car.

That never did happen.

Anyway, my Father got a tad bit impatient (I believe we were at the same intersection for roughly 5 minutes…) and commands me to just go!

“Don’t be a squirrel,” he said. “Squirrels go half way into the road, freeze and get run over.”

If you’re going to do something, commit to it 100% – don’t stop mid-way!

Well, I don’t think I need to spell this out, but that applies to more than just pulling into an intersection. Life is full of intersections, and if we freeze in the middle of making a choice, we’ll get run over by those people who aren’t afraid of big trucks. We’ll be (sorry for the unfortunate metaphor) the dead carcasses of squirrels, scraped up by the ones we love to be brought back to our last save point (ok, also sorry for the quasi-mixed metaphor going on).

2) Do your research

A piece of advice to temper the first lesson learned – always investigate your options. If you’re looking to buy a house, a car, a dress or maybe even a bookstore, you need to make sure everything is legitimate. Because there’s nothing worse than getting a loan for 120K to invest in something you need or think will be profitable only to find yourself stuck with loan payments and no income (drastic, I know, but it could happen!)

The flip side of this is that, if you don’t do your research, you won’t know if what you’re planning on jumping into might not actually be what you want. You have to give yourself time to get passed the initial “omg, I NEED, I WANT, I MUST HAVE” and into the “Ok, so if I move ahead with this, here are the ups and here are the downs.” (that’s when the scale comes into play and you weigh your options…)

Once you’ve made a decision, you have to remember that we’re not emulating squirrels anymore. Be confident in your research and your decision.

You control your life, after all.

3) The Truth Hurts – but it will set you free

My dad tells me the truth. Always, forever, he tells me the truth.

Yes, this sometimes hurts my little girl feelings. And when I was a little girl and those feelings were all I had, I would cry.

A lot.

I was really sensitive… Overly so. And I didn’t want the truth. I wanted to be told I was amazing and talented and wonderful.

I realize now that I was being really quite ridiculous. Yes I still have trouble with my little girl feelings…. Sometimes when they’re hurt, there’s nothing I can do to keep them from surfacing. But most of the time, I just acknowledge that my little girl feelings are there and try to sooth them with rational thought.

It works occasionally.

But I’d rather be told the truth, be hurt (possibly cry a bit) and then reflect on the truth. If my dad didn’t love me, he wouldn’t say anything to me at all. But he does love me and wants me to be successful and happy. So, he provides me with constructive criticism so that I can become a smarter, more confident person.

If you don’t have someone who always tells you the unedited truth, find someone. It’ll take a while to get over the initial shock (I mean, who really tells the truth any more?) But you’ll realize that there is freedom in knowing that you’re not perfect, in accepting your hang ups and listening to advice on how to fix it.

There’s also freedom in knowing that at least one person in the world sees you, with all of your faults, and still loves you, no matter what.

Happy (belated) Father’s Day!

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