The Tiger in My Corner: Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day weekend everyone! Oddly enough, in addition to Father’s Day it is also my dad’s birthday this upcoming week, and I would like to honor the man. It takes a lot to be a good dad, and I’ve been lucky enough to have a great one.

A while back, I found a list of advice (apparently, I kept the old school hard copy of it) that my dad wrote for me when I started high school. He was a high school and college teacher for about 30 years, so he knew what I’d encounter when I got into those high school halls. My dad titled the list “Do’s and Don’ts for a Successful, Fun, and Safe High School Career.” He’s a very literal man, sometimes. Also, I guess an affinity for lists runs in the family. Anyway, when I recently reread his list, I saw that a lot of his advice is actually really good life advice. So, I would like to share some of that on this Father’s Day post.

I know that some people got stuck with lousy dads or didn’t have a dad in their lives. Some may have had a great dad, but he is sadly no longer here. So, for the time being, please let my dad’s words be the fatherly advice you may have wanted, needed, or currently miss.

Dawning of a New Day
This is a picture of my dad.  He often refuses to let me photograph his face.  Ugh.  What a diva.  😉   Photo By: Elizabeth Preston

1.  Make friends.
2.  Be friendly with many but realize that only a few will be true friends.
3.  Be aware of your surroundings and situations. An ounce of prevention always beats a pound of cure, and it’s not so hard to do. Keep your brain with you.
4.  Be safe. Be assertive in regard to your morals, health, and safety. People can only intimidate you if you allow it. You are always but a phone call away from calling out the cavalry; don’t hesitate to do it. And, the cavalry will come—bank on it.
5.  Do your best not to be overly sensitive or to embarrass too easily. Everyone makes mistakes, and young people make tons of them—it’s normal. Mistakes and embarrassments become more and more minor as time goes on. Eventually, they will seem funny; though when you’re a teenager, they seem huge and earth-shattering.

My dad is the one who taught me how to fish and how to appreciate and take care of the environment and creatures that making fishing so special. Photo By: Elizabeth Preston

6.  Be respectful to peers and adults. Try to treat them in a manner in which you wish to be treated.
7.  It’s best to walk away from unpleasant confrontations if at all possible. If not, do what you have to do quickly and get out of there.
8.  Listen carefully and critically to new ideas and points of view. Never blindly accept stuff that you’re told. Remember: opinions are like noses—everybody has them.
9.  Realize that everyone is a little different from each other—and that’s O.K.
10.  Always remember that you have a support system, and members of your support system love you and welcome opportunities to help you out. You have tigers in your corner.

Tigers in Your Corner
I love that metaphor: “Tigers in your corner.” Very creative. Photo By: Elizabeth Preston

1.  There’s rarely a need to compromise your character. Short of a life-threatening situation, I really can’t think of any. You’ve worked hard for your character. Why let anyone take that hard work away from you? They don’t deserve to take it away, and they don’t have that right. Yes, I did say “short of a life-threatening situation.” This is because you must live, because there are many great and wonderful things that you will do with your life. Yes, the planet will be a better place because you are in it.
2.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If someone has a problem with you asking a question, then it is that person, not you, who has a problem.
3.  Don’t let anyone rush you into an action. If they’re rushing you, they have ulterior motives; and it ain’t in your best interest. (My Side Note: My dad is a Texan, so using “ain’t” is in his blood.)
4.  Never forget your common sense and your intelligence. Don’t be a thoughtless reactor. Think for yourself.
5.  Don’t be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake. God forgives us, so why can’t we forgive ourselves? You cannot be perfect. Who can? And, some of your most valuable lessons come through making mistakes. Yes, you should use your intellect and morals to avoid making many mistakes, but you will still make some. So, learn to live with this reality.

Pyramid Profile
This is one of my favorite pictures of my dad. Photo By: Elizabeth Preston

6.  Don’t be overly critical of others. Sometimes, you may think that someone is an idiot, but you don’t have to say it. In fact, it’s best if you don’t.
7.  Don’t get carried away with the “flavor of the month.” Fads, fashions, crazes, etc. always fade into obscurity. ALWAYS. Rather, look inward and analyze for what is meaningful.
8.  Don’t be a habitual excuse-maker. Take responsibility for your actions and inactions. The process is critical to growing up to be a mature, responsible adult.
9.  Never take a dare. Morons make dares, and even dumber people take them.
10.  Don’t forget self-control and self-discipline. Ultimately, you are in charge of yourself. Let your actions make you proud. Let your words make you proud.

10 thoughts on “The Tiger in My Corner: Happy Father’s Day

Add yours

  1. Elizabeth, this is my favourite post! I loved it, I’m going to print it off and put it up on the wall so our kids can see it!! Thank you for sharing these words of wisdom…

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