Jun 19, 2022 - Economy

Axios Finish Line: Lessons from dads around the country

Animated gif of the word "Dad" being written.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Nearly a thousand of you answered our call for Father's Day wisdom from your dads.

Why it matters: These dads represent a stunning range of experiences and perspectives — and we can all learn from them. Below you'll find a selection of lessons.

1) Work hard.

  • "The best advice my smart and hardworking dad gave us, whether we landed a summer job at an ice cream shop or in corporate finance after getting an MBA, was to 'work like you own the place.'" –Julia P., Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • "My dad Herb was a Down East Maine raised boy who left the island and went to Boston to became an electrical engineer around 1920, and both Herb and my grandfather George taught me to 'always clean and sharpen your tools, and put them back where they belong for the next project,' which also applied to mental tools!" –George N., Boston, Massachusetts
  • "There is no such thing as a dirty job. There is always soap and water at the end of the day." –Michael L., San Francisco, California

2) Be confident.

  • "Gazing in the mirror at my 6-year-old, buck-toothed, gangly self in a new Brownie's uniform I heard my father say, 'You look like a million dollars,' changing my self image forever." –Marilyn R., Boulder, Colorado
  • "Women can be engineers, too. (This was in the 1970s)." –Jennifer S., Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • "A child will be who you tell them they are." –Alan M., Bentonville, Arkansas

3) Be patient.

  • In high school, my dad, Larry Simmons, told me something I’ve never forgotten — even if I haven’t always followed it strictly. 'If you’re mad and it feels good — don’t do it. You might choose to do the same thing later. Just don’t do it while you’re upset.' It’s a lesson that works in every sphere — professionally, personally and especially as a parent." –Jamal S., Washington, D.C.
  • "When my dad, Matt O’Brien, was teaching me to drive, he gave me a great lesson on how to avoid road rage: When you get angered by someone who has cut you off or is driving dangerously, imagine that they are dealing with the biggest crisis of their life — a sick child or another emergency — and your anger will dissipate immediately." –Cathy G., Alexandria, Virginia

4) Live life to the fullest.

  • "No matter where you live, make a garden, and then live in it, even if all you can have at that time is a windowsill with a few houseplants." –Marilyn S., Derry Township, Pennsylvania
  • "My father showed us that’s it okay to still be a kid, and even though you’re an adult with responsibilities, you can still have unbridled fun." –Greg M., Charlottesville, Virginia
  • "My father taught me that men can, and should, have a range of emotions — most notably, that it is indeed okay to show remorse, sadness and to cry." –Andrew H., New York, New York.

5) Be kind.

  • "My dad showed how the best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." –Ted K., Garden Valley, Idaho
  • "If you see someone without a smile, give them yours." –Diana C., Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • "Befriend the person with no friends; they need you the most." –Becky A., Butte, Montana

And a few that made us smile...

  • “I never met a nap I didn’t like.” –Kassie M., Greenwich, Connecticut
  • "Always leave the party when you are having the most fun." –Corley Kenna, Santa Barbara, California
  • "Life by the yard is hard; by the inch it’s a cinch." –Malbert S., Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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