Every father is important in his own way; he teaches his family lessons and most often tries his hardest to live up to the difficult task of being a kind yet powerful guardian that manages to nurture yet remain in control of discipline. In my life, my father serves as the loving, insightful, comic relief—even through the toughest times, he offers a new perspective that has the power to change my mind entirely.
He listens silently and always has a way of asking questions to provoke deeper thought. After living in a household with only girls, my father has taught me an infinite number of lessons—sometimes through his words, sometimes through his actions, and sometimes in the ways he chooses to not act.
1. Always be early.
If you’re not at least 15 minutes early, you’re late. If you’re on time, you’re late. This isn’t just for job interviews or work—this is for everything.
2. Write thank you cards—by hand if you can.
Take the time to reflect on why you’re thankful and let others know you’re appreciative of them.
3. Say, “I love you.”
Say it often, say it kindly, and say it to others even when you may not believe it in that moment. And don’t just say it, but show it through your actions and your other words as well.
4. Learn how to fix things yourself.
Know the basics about cars, computers, and other household appliances. Be competent with a hammer and nails, and know how to jumpstart a car.
5. Always offer to help.
Never let other people do all the work.
6. Hold the door behind you and open the door for others.
You should always glance over your shoulder to make sure that if someone is coming out behind you, you do not let the door slam in their face. If you’re capable, open the door for someone else and walk in after them. This goes for car doors, too—if you’re driving, open the passenger’s door and then get in yours.
7. Be kind to everyone and never make anyone feel lesser than you.
Treat everyone with respect—the CEO, the janitor, the boss, or the intern.
8. Find humor in everything.
Even in the darkest moments, there is still joy.
9. Be a leader.
Don’t be afraid to step up and volunteer. Guide others with your actions and be a positive influence.
10. Be dependable.
If you say you are going to do something, follow through. You are only as good as your word.
11. Do things for others without expecting to be paid back.
Offer to drive a friend to the airport or cut your neighbor’s lawn—but don’t do it in the hopes that you’ll get something in return.
12. You can’t help where you’re born or your life circumstances, so make the most of what you’ve got, or use your privilege to serve or help others.
If you were given life chances that others were not lucky enough to receive, do your best to share.
13. Always give 100%—or more.
Never settle for mediocre work, never let the score of the game be a tie when you could fight for the win, never turn in something if you’re not proud of it.
14. Always be prepared.
For everything—a flood, a fire, a flat tire, traffic, a wardrobe malfunction.
15. Serve others and donate to various charities.
Be actively involved in service.
16. Be appreciative.
Be aware of every gift you are given, every opportunity you are granted, and every chance you have—and be thankful for them.
17. Smile and say hello, especially to individuals who probably do not get many daily greetings.
Always be friendly to your housekeepers at hotels and the custodians at work or in office buildings because many people often overlook them.
18. You can’t bring your money to your grave.
Be responsible and smart with it, but do not live your life solely around money. Don’t be afraid to spend it on experiences especially.
19. Always tip your server well—even when the service isn’t good.
You don’t know what other circumstances could’ve made the service poor—circumstances that may not have been at the fault of the server. Plus, a couple extra dollars in their pocket could make their night.
20. Make sure your friends get inside their houses before you drive away.
Wait in their driveway until you see them safely inside their house, even if they don’t know you’re waiting.
21. Live life selflessly and simply.
Instead of thinking about yourself and how to benefit you, think about how you can work to help others benefit.
22. Forgive others.
Even if it’s hard, try your best to accept their wrongdoings and move on from them.