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The best advice Dad ever gave

In honor of Father’s Day, readers share family wisdom

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten from your dad?
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten from your dad?Stuart Miles - stock.adobe.com

This week, I asked readers a simple question in honor of Father’s Day: What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten from your dad? Could be about anything — money, relationships, jobs. Here are your most memorable tips, from the practical to the philosophical to the metaphorical.

“When I was little and would visit [my dad] at work, the security guard knew him by name. They always chatted, and employees at every level knew him … and shared stories. He was interested in people. He really showed me that it’s important to treat everyone with a smile, and maybe a joke.”

“My dad told me — about love — that I should look for the queen of hearts, not the queen of diamonds.”


“Never allow a man to honk the horn for you to come outside.”

“My dad was a firefighter: Always know two ways to get out of any building.”

“Anytime I’d ask my dad what something was, he’d tell me to look it up. At the time, I found it very annoying, because that meant going to the Encyclopedia Britannica, but I realize that he was actually teaching me to pursue information and answers for myself and not to rely on the easy way out or what someone else might tell me.”

“There’s a difference between a job and a career.”

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Sign up for our parenting newsletter, In the Family Way.Heather Hopp-Bruce

“Don’t turn down a job until it’s been offered to you.”

“If you can’t be good, be discreet.”

“You’ll never regret time spent with your grandparents.”

“If you always tell the truth, you never have to remember anything.”

“During a tough time in my early twenties, I once asked my dad through tears if it ever gets better. He answered, ‘No. It gets much worse. Someday you’ll be wishing for problems as simple as these.’ Not the most comforting advice at the time, but he was right.”


“Wash lettuce with the water going down toward the stem so little bits of dirt don’t get stuck in the creases of the leaves.”

“I was head of a Boy Scout patrol in which a few kids were always unruly and challenging my authority. My dad suggested making the most disruptive kid my assistant patrol leader. By giving him authority, he would feel more privileged and keep his friends in line. I was skeptical, but it worked like a charm. I’ve always remembered that and used it in situations since then.”

“When fixing something or assembling something, if two pieces are supposed to go together but aren’t fitting together easily — don’t force them.”

“Show up for family.”

“It’s always about the money, especially when people say it’s not about the money.”

“Never buy a house boat. Buy a lake house.”

“Pace yourself, on the hiking trail and in life.”

“Get a car with a sunroof, so you can easily give other drivers the finger. Such Boston/Masshole driving advice!”

“Those who dance have to pay the piper. Your actions have consequences.”

“When traveling, always pack a bathing suit.”

“Always give a strong handshake. No dead fish.”

“Don’t buy the most expensive house on the block — which I did, and it’s gone up in value eight times its original price.”

“Put away 10 percent of your salary from the very start, even if it feels like you don’t have enough to get by. It will always feel that way, but one day you’ll be really thrilled to have started that retirement account so early.”


“Please yourself. Make one person happy.”

“As a sailor, he says, ‘Don’t oversteer,’ meaning constant control and adjustment — instead of following the direction in which you’re being pulled organically — will take up too much time and energy.”

“You’re only as rich as the number of choices you have.”

“The one lesson my sweet and empathetic funeral director dad has taught me (and he’s taught me many) that has stuck with me the most is that nothing is worth having if it isn’t hard to lose. This has comforted me whenever I’ve suffered a loss: from a beloved pet, to the painful cutting of ties with a once dear friend, to the death of my mother. It takes work — but remembering this sentiment always helps to change my focus from my hurt to my loving memories.”

Kara Baskin can be reached at kara.baskin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @kcbaskin.