My father gave me the best advice:
- Make sure you’re on time to pick me up from work
- Make sure you do your chores before you go to school
- Guys think about sex ~ a lot!
- Take care of your brother and sister!
The last one isn’t really advice… Really, none of them are. But that’s all I could remember about my stepfather, the man who raised me, told me. As you see, he didn’t do much “advice-giving”. For me, he didn’t do much giving at all, except the roof over my head and the food in my belly. I never felt like I would end up on the streets, but I was far from being his princess. That was my sister.
For my biological father… advice was about as useless, always given after the situation had happened, never before. Without the feeling of security that I had someplace safe to return, his apathetic nature leaves me wanting more… or just something.
Since I didn’t get any helpful advice from the men in my life, I’ll give you the
Words I Wish I Heard
1. “I love you unconditionally.”
I heard it from my mother quite often, but my dad… honestly, I don’t even recall being told this at all from my stepfather, after my sister was born. I know my biological father has said it, but then I wouldn’t hear from him for another year, so what did that mean?
Your father is a woman’s first love. A father teaches a woman how to love and how to be loved. Understanding that you are already loved and that you don’t need to “seek” love is a level of comfort that I never felt. Hence, a period after I left home that I won’t be talking about now.
It would’ve been nice to hear ~ just once ~ these words:
I love you no matter what.
2. “I’m proud of you.”
My dad attended my graduations, he smiled politely and came to support. Yet, the feeling that I had was that he was there because he had to be, that he was there because he loved my mother, and I meant a lot to her.
After his passing a few years back, his funeral held dozens of friends that I had never met. When I introduced myself, they all seemed to know exactly who I was and they all expressed how proud he was of me. Yet, to me, we hadn’t had a real conversation in years.
It would’ve been reassuring to hear that he really was proud before he passed away, even more so, when I was growing up, so I had some idea that I was making the right moves.
I worked hard growing up. Working for my mother starting at 12. At 15 (and a half), I worked at McDonald’s. When we moved 30 miles away, without a car, I still maintained a 4.0+ GPA, a job and a full sports plate. Jobs and school continued all through undergrad and eventually law school.
I felt alone. I felt that I was working harder and harder and my life wasn’t getting any better. After a while, I just got tired. No one seemed to appreciate my hard work, but expected to reap the benefits. I was drained and unmotivated.
If, for one second, I felt someone was just on my side, I would’ve kept going.
4. “It’s important to find the right husband, for he will help shape the rest of your life.”
I have met couple after couple, woman after woman who picked the “wrong” mate… or the wrong mate for them. Their lives have been turned upside down, sometimes over and over again because of their choices. Some of them are able to get back on their feet, learn from their mistakes and make better choices the next time around. But for others, life knocks them on their behind and they aren’t able to get back up.
I am grateful that I found a great husband, but it would’ve been nice to have SOME guidance on what I should’ve been looking for. I had no idea. My husband was “dropped” in my lap and I was intuitive enough to pick him up. I know a good thing when I see it!
5. “Keep your body to yourself. No one will be able to respect your body more than you.”
Remember when I mentioned my 20s? Yea that. I’m not proud, I’m not gloating, it was a dark time… but I didn’t realize that until MUCH later. There was a lot of empty calories spent doing things that I had no business doing, looking for the respect that I could only really give myself.
I truly feel that God intervened because he had something else for me, because there’s no other way that my life makes sense.
Learning to respect yourself may come naturally to some, taught to others, and painfully learned by the last. In general, I learned by others’ mistakes… and I was good with that. However, in this realm, I did no such thing. It made me who I am, but there are a lot of painful memories behind it.
So that’s it! The five things I wish I would’ve been told by my father. Since I had to research what I wish my father told me, here’s a great article on other things that a father should tell his daughter… all of which I wish I heard:
This has been another edition of Finish the Sentence Friday… “The best advice my father gave was…”
What was the best advice your father gave you?