How to be my Dad

10. Have things to look forward to.

Every few months, my Dad would sit down at the table with us at breakfast and ask what we were looking forward to today, this week, this month and this year.  We would take turns answering, and for me, it became a habit.  Every single day I wake up and think about what I’m looking forward to, and I talk to my husband about what we’re looking forward to.  It taught me that life is not just work and paying bills; people need fun just as much as they do the other necesities of life.  It also taguht me that when I get older and have kids, it’s important for me to dream with them.

9. Treat everyone well.

My Dad would sometimes drive us into downtown Vancouver and show us hookers.  It would usually be on the way to somewhere else, and he’d ask “Kids!  Want to see the hookers?”  We would all yell “YES!!!!!” and he would take us to the seedy part of town.  He would tell us as we lookedon from the confines of the minivan at the women dressed in tight shiny outfits standing in the rain that they were just like us, just doing a job.  He took every opportunity to show us as well as tell us that we’re not better than anyone, just maybe luckier.  And because we have more, we had a responsibility to give more.  I still think about that daily, especially when I come into contact with people who’s parents effectively taught them that they ARE more important than others.  They should have gone to see the hookers.

8. Chocolate is happy.

I’ve never seen another human equal his chocolate intake.  The bakery and Purdy’s people know him by name, and growing up he’d have a chocolate milkshake every day.  Every single freekin day.

7. Exercise is happy too.

One Easter after hiding our eggs and watching us find them, Dad had us all do 20 sit-ups on his sit-up board.  Another year he brought us all to the track and ordered us to run laps.  Weird…but the man is in shape!

6. keep a duffel bag with clothes and a toothbrush in your trunk, and in your closet. 

 I make fun of him all the time for this one, but the logic is sound I think.  If there’s an earthquake, a surprise vacation, or an impromptu date then you’re covered!

5. Throw parties, visit your friends, call your family.

My Dad is a social man.  He calls his siblings and friends just to catch up more than any man I know, and my parents have parties with their friends more than we ever did as teenagers.  They are LOUD.  When I was younger and would go to work with my Dad sometimes, we’d be driving around and he’d say “Oh!  Dave/Scott/Al/Mrs. Booling/Mr. Whoever lives near here, let’s go see him/her!” And we would.  I used to hate it, because these were not MY friends he’d be talking to for what seemed like ages and I just wanted to go home and play with mine.  Now I really appreciate it, because it tought me that people need to be invested in emotionally, and it never ends.  And that’s good, because then your friendship never ends.  My Dad has kept friends from when he was a little kid, and that’s one of the best things about him.

4. Know your neighbours.

Kind of the same as above, and I’m sure he’s channeling the little gum-boot-wearing kid he was when he goes out in his neighbourhood now with the family dog and asks fellow dogwalkers their names.  It happened just this morning!  If my parents go away on vaction and I walk their dog, people know me.  Neighbours pop in to give them gifts on the anniversary of my brother’s death.  That’s all my Dad.

3. Hug often.

I’m not a huggy person, and I have my suspicions that he isn’t either.  BUT.  My Dad thinks that human beings need to be touched and held to feel happy, and he’s right.  I don’t always like being forced to reciprocate a hug, but I always feel loved.  It’s important.

2. Know what and whom you love, and why.

My Dad asks why a lot.  It’s not that he’s questioning us, it’s that he wants to know if you know why you’re doing or choosing something.   So when my husband was asked why he married me by my father, he was a little horrified by the question at first.  But now after some time with my family, he understands the reason, and can answer it without having to think hard.  And I like that!

1.  ALWAYS EAT LUNCH

I asked my Dad on my wedding day (the first one) if he had any life-advice for me, and this is what I got.  As a little follow-up, he said “Always take breaks”.  Good advice for your first job, good advice for life.

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