After I wrote my column about “Momisms” for Mother’s Day, several people asked me to do the same for “Dadisms” and Father’s Day.  So what follows is a list of some common Dadisms, those wise, pithy statements that father’s often say to their children.  And because this is a column about personal and family wellness, I offer a brief reflection on each Dadism and the life lesson it provides us related to personal and family wellness.  The Dadism appears in quotes, followed by the reflection in italics.

  • “A little dirt never hurt anyone.”  This would be said when a fork, or a plate, or a piece of food dropped on the ground or floor.  There are perhaps two important lessons here: You are tougher and stronger than you think you are, and things don’t have to be perfect to be good.  
  • “Rub a little dirt on it and you’ll be fine.”  What is it with fathers and dirt?  The lesson here again is that we are not as fragile as we might think.  When we get hurt, or when we hurt each other, the hurt will pass.  This saying could also be a way to distract a child from what’s hurting them.  Rubbing dirt on a sprained ankle won’t make it better, but it might help a child to stop thinking so much about their ankle.  
  • Don’t forget to check the oil.”  Fathers and cars tend to go hand in hand.  This saying reminds us about the importance of preventative actions in maintaining wellness.  Checking the “oil” of our physical wellness means getting regular check-ups and addressing problems as soon as they arise.  Checking the “oil” in our family relationships means being proactive about keeping those relationships strong, and thus avoiding more  “expensive repairs” down the road.
  • “Keep your hands on the wheel.”  Here we have another car-related Dadism.  The lesson here is to eliminate distractions and pay attention to what we are doing.  We cannot control the surprises that come up while driving or living, but we will have fewer accidents if we keep focused on the road ahead.  
  • “Go ask your mother.”  Dad may have just been passing the buck with this one, but he also may have been teaching us the important lesson that in families we need to work and make decisions together because we are all interconnected.  Dad also could have been modeling that when you don’t know something,  it’s okay to seek someone out who knows more than you do.
  • “We’re not lost, I just don’t know where we are temporarily.”  This one could go either way.  It could be seen as an example of denial and not being willing to face the truth, or it could be seen as a humorous way to put a positive, hopeful spin on a difficult situation.  This is a great attitude to have when you are experiencing a conflict with someone you love–you are not lost, you are just temporarily off course and will soon find your way again.
  • “Shake it off.”  The message here is twofold–it provides advice and hope.  The advice is based on the premise that your current troubles or challenges are on the surface and you have the ability to shake them off before they settle in more deeply.  The hope implied is that you can in fact do this, you will be able to shake off the challenges you are currently facing.  
  • “Keep your eye on the ball.”  The wisdom here is all about the importance of being focussed.  The life lesson here is to “keep the main thing the main thing.”  Keep your focus on character and on the wisdom of the soul–avoid being distracted by the whims of the ego.  
  • “I’m so happy for you,” or “I’m so proud of you,”  or “I love you.”  Some fathers were raised in a time when fathers didn’t come right out and say, “I love you,” so instead they would say, “I’m so happy for you,” or “I’m so proud of you.”  However it was said or expressed, it meant the world to us! 

A special thanks to our fathers for teaching us so much about personal and family wellness!

And to all the men in our lives, who bless us with their wisdom, love, and guidance, Happy Father’s Day.

***Do you have a favorite Dadism that I left out?  Please feel free to email it to me and I’ll add it to my collection for next yeare.

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