Many of my friends have heard me say, “My dad always said. . . .” followed by a phrase or statement to help navigate difficult circumstances. Dad’s statements weren’t long or fancy, but they always made me think. And if I searched long enough, often I found a deeper truth in them. They were his versions of proverbs and important lessons he had learned in his own life.
Here are just a few:
- “That’s about as useful as hip pockets on a shirt tail.” – used to describe something that not helpful or just plain ridiculous
- “We aren’t lookin’ back.” – describing what our focus should be as we leave a place that has been unpleasant or painful
- “Don’t sweat the small stuff. Remember everything is small.” – a reminder that in the light of eternity, everything around us is small
- “Nothing good happens after 10 o’clock at night.” – a warning to come home before curfew
- “If you’re makin’ everyone happy, you’re doing something wrong” – a reminder that there will be times when people are unhappy with the decisions made. This has become one of my favorite phrases. Sometimes I heard it after I became disgruntled with a decision he or Mom had made. Other times, I heard it before he announced a decision he knew would result in grumbling somewhere. As I got older, his wise words described situations I found myself in as a supervisor, sometimes as a mother. It was Dad’s way to remind us that no one wants to make others unhappy, but if it happens, everything will be okay – eventually.
But there’s a deeper truth in the statement I learned later. If I make everyone happy all the time, it’s very possible I have lost my integrity.
Happy birthday, Daddy!