Lessons our fathers taught us

One of our greatest gifts has been our happy membership in a large and diverse family that stretches coast to coast and across the sea. Good father has become a redundant phrase within our ranks. The dads in our family are a clever bunch and today we’re saluting all of them.

My dad taught me to parallel park on the busiest street in town. At the time, I thought I was very brave to do so. In retrospect, I realize he was.

Please enjoy the following lessons our fathers taught us, from our family to yours.

“When I was little my dad and I would go on long walks. We spent most of our time admiring the trees, leaves, dogs, and other creatures along the way. Sometimes if we saw something beautiful in the landscape, we would take sketchpads to that spot and try to draw what we saw. He taught me to look up and admire the world.”

“My dad made sure to take each of his six kids to our first day of grade school and for our driver’s license test. He, my mom, and my grandparents together were there for plenty of other events, but my dad really wanted to have a couple special memories that only he shared with each of us/all of us, so he committed to both those milestones with me and made sure he stuck with it for all the rest of the kids. I’m sure it took some creative scheduling on his part, but it taught me that it’s worth making time to create memories.”

“My dad taught me that you must be going at least 55 m.p.h. when you reach the top of an entrance ramp. If you’re going slower than that, you’re a menace. He also taught me a little sunburn just turns into a base tan so don’t worry about sunblock.”

“My dad taught me the importance of being well rounded. It’s not how long it takes you to do a job, it’s how well you do it. Don’t be sorry, just don’t do it again (after I’d done something wrong) and, there are plenty of fish in the sea (after a break up)”

“My dad taught me to be polite and respectful of others – and to love a good sports car.”

“My dad’s constantly giving me solid advice, even when I don’t think I need it. Most recently, I was getting ready to go to Chicago for the Blackhawks rally and he told me to pack an extra shirt because, ‘You never know when you’re going to need an extra shirt.’ I thought it was ridiculous to pack extra clothes for a day trip, so I didn’t do it. Then, the morning I left, he woke up at 4:30am and said again that I should pack an extra shirt, so I begrudgingly did… and damned, if I’m not wearing that extra shirt right now. Dad: 1, Humidity: 0.”

“My dad taught me how to make a Mickey Mouse pancake and brat scramblers, to brush my teeth, to golf with a balance of precision and leisure, to out prepare the opposition, to put my family first, how to burp in texts, to appreciate chubby babies and to enjoy a good Seinfeld reference.”

“My dad taught me to be kind and respect people and listen. But, just so you know, I don’t always do that.”

“Two things my dad taught me when I was growing up were never ever cheat at golf. You will only be hurting yourself and the integrity of the game. Secondly, he taught me to control my temper/emotions on the course. I was far from having the most talent, but I often won by staying even keel. Never too high or too low.”

“My aversion to butter and mayonnaise alarmed my dad and he told me I’d better learn to like those things because I needed to grease up my lungs. Thankfully,I never learned to like butter or mayonnaise.”

“Always lead trump when you’re the picker in Sheepshead. Open the door for ladies.”

“Work hard. Do your best. Check numbers. Draw good maps. Take care of others. Enjoy life.”

“People skills. Memorize names at a party by associating one fact about a person with the name. Be the person to connect others. Don’t be a link in the chain. Make the chain.”

“You always need an emergency bag of Cheetos.”


“You can’t half-ass anything.”


“It’s okay to bend the rules sometimes.”


“Earn respect. Be loyal and love your family first.”


“A few months ago when my dad bought my mom a car, I was making fun of him a bit because we already have too many. I said that I don’t think buying it was a good decision. He said to me, “Mike, sometimes you have to do something stupid. Your boss, your employees, your friends and your family members will all say, ‘Why the hell did you do that?’ and to that you just say, ‘I don’t know.’”


“Never cheat yourself out of your best effort, whether in the courtroom or the classroom, don’t waste an opportunity to do your best.”

Vince and Vinnie
Vinnie and his dad.
Grandpa Fey
My Grandpa Fey gave great advice, the greasy lung talk not withstanding.
Dad, Charlie, Vince
Three of my favorites.
Molly and grandpa vince
Molly and her Grandpa Vince, whose lessons transcend.
Katherine and Grandpa Ron
I love this picture of Katherine and her Grandpa Ron.
Travein and his dad Keith, now a retired school administrator, make a dapper duo.
Travein and his dad Keith, now a retired school administrator.
Brian and Erin
Here is Erin, dancing with her dad.
Lizzy, Clay and Joan
Lizzy, her dad Clay and mom Joan
Ryan and Dennis
Ryan and his dad Dennis

6 thoughts on “Lessons our fathers taught us

  1. Oh, this post made me feel so warm and fuzzy this morning. Thank you for that…..I do have to ask if Vince is single though after knowing what his dad taught him..(?) 😉

  2. Laura, I love all of your blogs, but this one really touched my heart. Thank you for being you and thinking like you do, and writing like you do, and living like you do. You and your family are pure joy!

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