Father Knows Best

By Susie Adams

In advance of this Father’s Day this week, we pay tribute to our fathers with some of the things we learned from them.  Lou Solomon paid tribute to her dad in a recent column.

Laughter Is the Best Medicine – Amber Lineback

My dad loves to laugh – it’s a big, head-back, loud, knee-slapping signature of his that used to embarrass the heck out of me as a kid.  As I’ve gotten older, I hear his laugh in mine (as do most of my neighbors — let’s just say people usually hear me before they see me!)…and I love that!  What a fulfilling life to have some laughter in each day — even if it’s coupled with the slight groan that comes after a “dad joke.”  I think life’s too short to be serious all the time…and I learned that from him.  It keeps me sane on the craziest of days.

So, in the spirit of a little laughter, here’s a joke he taught me:

Did you hear the one about the unstamped letter?

You wouldn’t get it.

Chart Your Course – Andy Ciordia

I come from a divorced family, so a normal father figure wasn’t always there. However, when I got to see my Dad, he seemed to always be lesson oriented. One of the ones I have always taken to heart is being a good Captain. I’m from the panhandle of Florida and we loved off-shore fishing. Waking up at 3am to put 60 miles under you to get far off the coast to fish was something we did. On those journeys he would teach me the ways of the ocean, it’s beauty, it’s dangers, and the ways to chart a course (before GPS was available). One such way to know you are doing well on course is a simple one. Look behind you. Look at the wake you are leaving. Is it straight or does it veer back and forth? A good Captain he would say always knows where he is going because he knows where he has been. If you are cutting back and forth you are losing time and energy. If you are going straight, we are heading with purpose to our destination.

I’ve taken this lesson to heart and let it overall guide my life and I try and help share it to guide others. We often find ourselves wanting to chase something that we think will bring us a good result when the reality is it just takes energy and time from us while giving us little in return. Stay true to your purpose, see it through. It takes time to reach a destination and rarely are there shortcuts. When in doubt, look behind you. Are you heading straight?

Andy's Dad, Rick Ciordia

Dad’s Golden Rules – Tina Tyler

When I was young, Dad had a full-time job, but started his own company on a part-time basis during evenings and on weekends.   Because of this, he left for work early and came home late.  I had to become very clever in figuring out a way to get some “Daddy/Daughter” time.   I would wake up early to hang out in his office and have breakfast together while he did his paperwork.  (There were a few mornings I nearly fell asleep in my cereal bowl.)  Sometimes on weekends, I would ride along to/from job sites just to get extra time with him.   Dad was a saint – I would talk or sing the entire time and he would just smile or chuckle and let me go on and on.   (News Flash — this still happens when we ride together!)  I think work/life balance was tough in those days and he missed out on a lot of day-to-day happenings; however, we could ALWAYS count on him being there for the sporting events, plays, awards, etc.

Tina & Dad at Lake
  • Work Ethic — be a hard worker.   Work quickly, efficiently, and be proud of the work you do.  Stay open to learning (your way may not always be the right way.)
  • Independence – learn to be self-sufficient.   It’s OK to lean on others and ask for assistance, but if you can, take care of it yourself.    This, in my mind, is the greatest gift a parent can give a child!
  • Faith – be confident and strong in your beliefs.   (A proud Catholic Girl.)
  • Patience – Living in the country, we had well water.   There was a stick that marked where the well was located.   Sadly, every time I mowed the lawn, I hit that stick.  I also picked up the volleyball net and the clothesline in that same mower (I don’t know how it ever survived me).   Through all of this, Dad was always patient while “fixing” whatever mess I created.   “Relax, don’t get angry, just take those energies and put them into fixing the problem.”
  • Be kind and treat others the way you want to be treated.
  • Do for others and, occasionally, let others do for you.   Try to put yourself “in their shoes”.
  • Anticipate – be a step ahead in situations, for yourself as well as others.
  • ALWAYS treat elders, kids, and animals with kindness and respect.

Listen and You Hear Him – Susie Adams

My dad and I frequently solved all of the world’s problems at a Clemson Football Tailgate.  It was the time when we would catch up, just the two of us, on what was going on in our lives and everywhere else.  Usually, I would talk, he would listen, and then when I wound down, he would summarize the discussion into its bare essence, often a mere sentence.  It was at times exasperating, but always enlightening. (If the football coaches would have been listening to us, we would have been more successful in the 1990s!) I almost always took that advice, because those summaries were almost always right. Whether it was a college major, a major purchase, a job opportunity or a job challenge, he got the situation and helped me chart the right path.

Daddy died in 2010 and I miss him every day. The tailgates aren’t the same (although the football is way better.)  I can’t count the number of times when I have hungered for his counsel as I was facing a challenge, a major decision or an opportunity.  But what I’ve learned is, I pretty much know what he would say. So, I talk it out and I think about what he would say. It helps.

That’s what parents do. They teach us, they coach us, they show us the way so that when they aren’t with us, we still know what to do.  It is a powerful gift.

Happy Fathers’ Day to our Interact Dads – Andy Ciordia, Patrick Sheehan and Michael Rogers – and to fathers everywhere.

We’ve enjoyed telling our Dad stories. If you’d like to tell your story, we can help.  Our Storytelling Workshop.