Dadisms: Timeless Wisdom From the Men in Our Lives

Last month we received very positive feedback about our Mother's Day column featuring "Momisms".  Several people emailed us and shared some of their own favorite momisms while others, anticipating a similar Father's Day column, shared some of their favorite dadisms.  So as not to disappoint, here are a few favorite dadisms, each with a brief application highlighting the wisdom they contain, as it applies to personal and family wellness. Of course both momisms and dadisms can be spoken by either parent, as well as by other important adults in the lives of children. This week we offer them however, with a special spirit of gratitude to all the fathers, uncles, grandfathers, and other male mentors in our lives who imparted these timeless bits of wisdom.

Money doesn't grow on trees.  This common saying submitted by a reader is a good reminder that just about anything we wish to achieve requires perseverance and sacrifice.  Good health doesn't grow on trees.  Healthy relationships don't grow on trees.  A strong spiritual life doesn't grow on trees.  Good grades don't grow on trees. Even money in the bank doesn't just happen. Each of these "fruits" are the result of habits and disciplines practiced over an extended period of time.

  If you can't say anything nice about someone, don't say anything at all.  Another reader shared this bit of wisdom that her Dad regularly shared with her.  Curtailing our negative and hurtful words about others is a habit that can be practiced over time.   It takes a great deal of energy to be negative, energy that is better spent instead being a voice for positive growth and change, and helping to create positive, healthy relationships.

It will work out in the end.  The reader who shared this dadism remembers his father saying this to him when he was going through a hard time in his early 20's.  He said he appreciated that his father didn't minimize the fact that he was, in fact, going through a hard time, while at the same time his father provided hope for him that things would work out in the end.  Offering honest hope to others is a true gift.

A little dirt never hurt anyone. This is a classic dadism from my own father.  This would be said when a fork, or a plate, or even 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, and things don't have to be perfect to be enjoyed.

Don't forget to check the oil.  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. All types of "checking the oil" help us avoid more  "expensive repairs" down the road.

I'm so proud of you.  Some men have a hard time saying the words "I love you" and so they substitute others expressions of affection like "I'm so proud of you." However this pride and love was expressed, it meant the world to us, and is a reminder of how important it is to express our affection for one another.

So in honor of all the men, be they fathers, grandfathers, uncles, or other important male figures in our lives who have loved us and continue to love is, Happy Father's Day!

We would love to hear your favorite Dadism.  Please post it on our Living Compass Facebook page, or email to us at