Every year I write a column in honor of Father’s Day which you will find below. It is a time to honor the men in our lives—whether fathers, grandfathers, male mentors or role models—who have taught us well. One of the men I admire most in my life, one who has been a profound spiritual mentor to me, is Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu from South Africa, a person I have even had the privilege to meet and talk with. In light of the horrific violence that has once again occurred this week, please read and reread the words above from Archbishop Tutu, a person who knows something about the horror of violence, as well as something about the power of love and political will to overcome violence. Below you will find our annual list of Dadisms that contain much wisdom for daily living as well.
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“The Wisdom of Dadisms”
It has become tradition for this column to reflect on what we call “Dadisms” each year as Father’s Day approaches, just as we did last month with “Momisms” for Mother’s Day. Many readers have shared some of their favorite Dadisms through the years and several of them are included in the list below. Each Dadism contains a brief reflection 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, spiritual mentors, 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, spiritual mentors or other important male figures in our lives who have loved us and continue to love is, Happy Father’s Day!