If you’ve been on Facebook or Instagram today, you know it’s not just another Sunday. Tributes, pictures and heartwarming thoughts have filled our pages, interrupting vacation and graduation pictures or opinions on current events. For weeks leading up to today, stores warred for our attention with sales for the perfect gift ideas for our dads. It’s a great day for cookouts and celebrations to honor all dads do and for who they are.

If you’re like me, and you’ve had a special dad but he’s no longer here, today is bittersweet. It’s easy to miss him all the more with all of the dad-focus of today.  This year is my fifth Father’s Day without my amazing dad. Rather than focus on him not being here, I took a moment to reflect on some of the incredible wisdom he’s left behind.

1. Choose the high road.

There will be people who insult you or are just plain mean. Dad demonstrated that their actions speak to their character. And, your actions speaks to yours. Taking the high road means knowing when to walk away, disengage, or move on, and equally when to respectfully stand your ground. It’s often not the easiest path to take, but it’s the right one.

2. Smile and laugh often.

I’ve heard it said that smiling impacts your attitude and laughing increases your lifespan. My dad’s smile and humor were both contagious. He worked hard but found ways to play hard too. Don’t get caught working so hard in life that you forget to smile and laugh. It does your soul good!

3. Nurture a growth mindset.

The attitude my dad conveyed over the years was to never stop learning. Both he and my mom went back for additional degrees or took classes to keep growing. Dad never looked at a degree as having arrived at a level of learning but instead as a doorway to new opportunities to grow.

4. Share your gifts and talents.

The special talents you have were meant to share. Brighten the days of those you care about by finding ways to share the skills you’ve been blessed with. My dad was a great craftsman. From the desk where I’m writing this, I need only look to my left to see a product of his handiwork. I’m thankful for the many things that adorn my home that came from his workshop. You don’t have to make something physical to share… maybe you sing, or play an instrument, paint or craft. Be uniquely you and share your talents!

5. Be a person of integrity.

Be the same person in public that you are behind closed doors. Don’t hide behind a façade or mask around people but then act completely differently at home or when you’re alone. Choosing to be a person of integrity means being authentic and genuine, even when it might feel vulnerable.

6. Be compassionate.

Simply put, my dad would say “be kind.” Every day we all have an opportunity to be kind. We can choose to make the world a better place by caring about those in need, or those around us. My dad found countless opportunities to display compassion out loud. One of the many ways he did this was providing transportation to families with a sick child to the children’s hospital several hours away. His generosity in time meant the parents didn’t have to think about the travels while they dealt with the medical challenges of their child. Every day, find a way to be kind, make a different, and be the good. The world needs more of it!

7. Feed your faith.

My dad stood strong through the storms of life much like a strong oak tree. His roots were firmly planted in his faith. I remember sitting in the driveway with dad on countless Sundays waiting for the rest of the family. He and I were the two early ones in a bunch of just-on-time family members. Dad served and volunteered and lived a life evident that his faith was important to him. If you want to weather the storms of life, feed your faith so that you too can stand strong.

8. Be present.

Be where you are with who you are there with. No matter if dad was tearing up the dance floor with my mom or fishing with me, he was present. Each year the world gets noisier. Distractions war to rob us of special moments. Put down your phone. Sign off of email. Sit on the floor with a child or go for a walk with a friend. Choose to embrace the moments life brings your way and choose to be present. I’m forever grateful that was my dad’s philosophy!

9. Leave a legacy.

Leave the world a better place because you traveled this way. In dad’s final days, I remember sitting on the floor next to his bed as we spoke. The pressing question he had for me as he grew increasingly frail was did he leave a legacy? I didn’t have to dig deep or search my memory for examples, they flowed with ease. Dad’s impact is etched on the lives of anyone who met him. His giving attitude and compassion truly made a difference. When I write, I’m inspired by the life my dad lived. We all have the ability to weave together a better world with the choices we make each day. Won’t you choose to leave the world a better place too?

It’s your turn:

While I cherish the skills my dad taught me, the wisdom he shared is tucked even deeper in my heart. My dad taught me many things – how to fish, how to drive, and the difference between a philips head and a flat head screwdriver. He gave me an appreciation for Ritz crackers and peanut butter. But most of all he’s impacted me with his life-demonstrating tidbits of wisdom.

Have these things that my dad taught me touched you? If so, comment and let me know. It would warm my heart to know my dad’s legacy touched you too. And, how about you? What are the best things your dad taught you? Comment and let me know what your dad taught you.

Wishing all of the dad’s out there a very Happy Father’s Day. If you are blessed to be spending time your dad today, hug him a little closer. The time you have together is a gift!

Until next time friends, be blessed!

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