Those of us lucky enough to have a Dad in our life know that they teach us many valuable lessons. Here are a few tips from my Dad that taught me some.
Challenge what life hands you
Dad grew up on a farm, lived through the depression watching his folks lose the farm and turn into sharecroppers. He hated farming and all the back breaking work that went with it. He wanted a mentally challenging profession and went after it. In the 1940’s he became a radio repair technician, started his own radio repair service company, went to work for an aircraft manufacturer and eventually ended up working on parts of the space program in the 1960s.
He reached out and grabbed the life he wanted, instead of accepting a generations long family farming tradition.
He once told me that going to school wasn’t about how many facts you could memorize or how many things you could learn. He believed that going to school should teach me how to keep on learning my whole life. He finished formal training through high school and trade school, but set an example of lifelong learning for me.
Share what you know
Even when I was a young adult with a family of my own, my Dad continued to share knowledge with me. Financially, he moved from working for a living to becoming a landlord and property flipper to eventually trading in the stock market. As he learned about the market, he shared with me via a newsletter (hand written) that he created and distributed to his adult kids and their spouses.
Dad didn’t just preach that boys and girls were equal, he demonstrated it. He and Mom worked side by side on all of their projects. Dad required me to learn to use tools and perform tasks which, at the time, were considered for boys only. I learned to change the oil, rotate the tires, use power tools, cut the grass, paint the house, work with concrete and much more.
Try new things
One of the most impressive things I saw my Father do was to continually try new things. He took an art class by mail and painted landscapes in oil. He spent hours in his homemade shop, working on inventions. He tried making pots from the clay in the backyard. He dabbled in the paranormal – trying to get me to read his thoughts and trying out the Ouija board to get answers. He taught himself BASIC in the early 80’s on a Timex Sinclair computer. He figured out land-lording. He had a house moved. He tried riding in a glider and he traveled eagerly with Mom.
He bought and learned how to use a Ham radio set, talking with truckers across the country from the basement of our home in the 1950s.
He taught himself how to fix cars – doing all the maintenance work himself. He taught himself how to build and built his own garage.
Dad taught me through word and example that hard work pays off. He never aspired to career ladder climbing, content to work at what he loved day in and day out until his final days. Then he came home after work and worked some more on projects that needed his attention around the house or those on which he wanted to spend time.
In his 50’s he studied real estate and the local housing market to find a home to fix up and sell. He did all the work himself, going straight from his 7 – 4 job to work on the house until dark.
Just fix it
No matter what broke, he fixed it. If he didn’t know how he studied on it until he figured it out. There was never an outside contractor or repairman in our house. Sometimes his fixes didn’t look polished, but they always worked.
He taught me that I could fix things myself, if I just tried hard enough. He expected me to work side by side with he and Mom, fixing, learning and doing.
His lessons have monetary value as well as life value.
- By challenging what life presents, you open your eyes to greater earning power and opportunity for financial gain.
- Pursuit of lifelong learning allows you to adapt to changing job market and business needs and helps keep you economically valuable.
- Sharing what you know establishes your expertise with family and community and may lead to income opportunities.
- Knowing that gender doesn’t limit your possibilities allows you to focus on getting the education/training and experience you need to earn, save, invest and manage your personal assets.
- Continually trying new things builds your experience level and shows you worlds that you might want to explore and conquer. New worlds bring new opportunities for profit.
- Working hard is a key component to becoming financially independent.
- Doing things your self and fixing things can save you money.
What life and money lessons did your Father teach?