7 Life Lessons Every Dad Should Teach

Today should have been my Dad’s 65th birthday. It blows my mind that we’re coming up on the 5th anniversary of his passing but I promise, this not a sad post.

Instead, it’s a post on all the things he made me do or did to me while I was growing up that I absolutely hated. You know what I’m talking about because you’re doing it to your kids right now. You make them do things that make them crazy and curse you under their breath.

And yes, your kids curse you under their breath.. stop kidding yourself.

But if you’re like me, you’re doing these things for the same reason my dad did them to me.. to teach my kids the important lessons about life.  And someday – if we’re lucky, they’ll let us know that all that Charlie Brown talking (wa-wah-wa-wah-wa-wah) worked and that THEY learned, too.

READ MORE: 20 Life Lessons I Want To Teach My Daughter

I only regret I didn’t tell him more often how those lessons actually sank in.

1. If you’re going to do it, do it right – I can’t tell you how many times I did something, thought I was finished and ready to cruise on to the important part of my day (playing) and was promptly sent back to do it over. Sometimes multiple times. It made me crazy and then somewhere along the way I realized that if I just did it really good the first time, I didn’t have to do it over. Shocking.

2. Flat tires don’t change themselves – I’ll never forget the summer before my senior year in high school when my dad called and woke me up from a typical teen slumber to tell me I had a flat tire and that I had better get out there and change it. I couldn’t believe it – how could he leave me like that? I didn’t know how to change a tire. So I did what anyone would do. I called my friend Marsh to help me. Only problem there is that he didn’t know how to change a tire either. So we learned together and got the tire changed. And I’ve never forgotten. Lesson – know the basic things to keep a car maintained.. changing the tire, checking the fluids, etc.

3. For every action, there’s an opposite action – This was the Margo Law of Motion. If you turn it on, turn it off. If you drop it, pick it up. If it breaks, fix it. If it’s dirty, clean it. Not only did he teach me but he did his best to teach my kids, too. I’m still working on teaching them that lesson but trust me – I repeat the Law of Motion multiple times a day.

READ MORE: Dear 16 Year Olds: Life Is Harsh And 5 Other Things You Need To Know

4. Stepping in dog crap is no fun – If you’re going to own an animal, you have to own ALL the animal. The good, fun stuff and the crappy stuff like picking up after it and scooping up the crap out of the front yard. Which I had to do twice a week before I mowed the grass. And yes, I learned the hard way to do it before I mowed. And it’s not just about dog crap. There are always jobs that suck. Just because they suck doesn’t mean you get out of doing them and you should still to do them well.

5. Your reputation and name are all that you have – And if you mess either of them up, it’s hard to come back from it. It really does take a lifetime to build a reputation and one stupid second to ruin it.  Don’t believe me? Look at the news. There are plenty of people doing it everywhere. I tell the girls all the time that you don’t ever want to be “that” girl at school. You know “that” girl and I know it sounds old-fashioned but think about it..  you don’t remember the rockstars from your graduating class nearly as much as you remember the ones who royally screwed up and did something scandalous  The other part of that lesson was if you tell someone you’re going to do something, you better do it. I can guarantee you that if I tell you that I’m going to do something, it’s as good as done. And if I can’t do it, I’m not going lie and tell you that I can. Not worth my name or my reputation.

6. Don’t lie, cheat or steal – The ONLY time that I was spanked when I was gowing up is when I lied. It didn’t happen very often but when I told a lie and got caught, I knew the consequences. So guess what? I don’t lie. Ever. Which may explain why I am usually TOO honest. I also have zero tolerance for people who lie and let’s not get into the cheating and stealing.

READ MORE: How To Teach Your Kids To Self-Motivate

7. You can play when your chores are done – My dad was one of the hardest working men that I have ever known in my life. He was at the office by 7am and when he got home, he put in at least another 3 hours around the house. While I don’t recommend working as much as my dad did (sadly, that’s pretty much how I remember my childhood), I firmly believe that you need to work before you can play. It sucks, but chores have to get done and then we can play. I don’t drive my kids as hard as my dad drove me but I still preach this to them.

My dad taught me so many more lessons and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him and wish that he was still with us. But I know that he’s looking down on us and I hope that he’s proud that I DID learn and that I’m doing the best job that I can to instill the same values in my girls.

Happy Birthday to my Dad. We love you and miss you :)

This post was originally featured on Kristen’s blog, Four Hens and a Rooster. Photo via.