7 things our dads taught us that we'll never forget

Peter Farquhar (R) with his father. Photo: Peter Farquhar.

For most, fatherly advice is steadfast and solid.

It bears weight on the decisions we make in life and how we choose to behave. It comes from a place of respect and encouragement.

And more often than not, it sticks with us more than we may realise.

So with Father’s Day coming up this weekend we thought it was the perfect opportunity to give our dads a shout out.

The Business Insider Australia team has rummaged through the photo albums and reflected on the many dad jokes and life lessons to bring you the best advice our dads have passed on to us throughout the years.

So, here’s the all the fathers out there. Cheers!

You can do anything if you’re willing to work hard enough for it

– Paul Colgan

Photo: Paul Colgan.

I was pretty unco-ordinated as a young kid – not very good at football, or any other sports, really. My father had been a county-level footballer in his youth and was a coach for both youth and adult teams. He encouraged me to just practice: kick a ball against the wall for hours, taking spot kicks over and over and over again. My football game never became great, but it was passable, and what it taught me was that you can get quite good at almost anything, as long as you can put in the groundwork, accept the frustrations inherent in the learning process, and refuse to give up until you’ve cracked it.

Always travel with a piece of rope

– Sarah Kimmorley

Photo: Sarah Kimmorley.

My father is an avid sailor, always has been. Unfortunately I did not inherit his keen sense for a good breeze and tidal patterns. Nonetheless dad taught me one nifty piece of advice, which you can expect from any good yachtie.

“Always travel with a piece of rope”.

He says it ties things together, provides added security, acts as a washing line or even a belt, among numerous other possibilities. It may seem peculiar but this advice has served me well in my travels — and even around the house.

Along with this practical advice, dad has always been one of my greatest sources of motivation. He taught me from a young age to set goals for myself and what I want to achieve. If you work hard and know what you want, and strive to do your best to get there, then who knows, one day you’ll look up and your list of goals will be all checked off.

Thanks, dad xx

You need to get up early and work hard to be successful, and don’t judge people

– Greg McKenna

Dad was a concreter when I was a little tacker and then started and ran a successful trucking company. Then his body failed him in his 40s and he couldn’t do the physical labour any more.

So I learnt you need to get up early and work hard to be successful.

The early part was a 5am cup of tea if I wanted to see dad before he left for work. The hard work was not just watching him, but also wheeling barrows of concrete and swinging 14-pound sledge hammers on a Saturday morning from the time I was 10.

But probably the most important thing I learnt was not to judge other people. I have no idea why Dad had the Desiderata on the kitchen wall but he did, and we used to talk about it as a good set of rules for life.

The rule that struck me, and stuck with me, says not to judge others or compare yourself because “always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself”.

I think that more than anything else has shaped who I am today and how I’m now trying to be the best dad I can be for my kids.

Embrace your individuality, because that is what sets you apart

– Daniella Brandy

Photo: Daniella Brandy.

Growing up, I was a massive introvert (and actually sort-of still am). When I was younger it really hampered me at school. What usually happened would be that I would be picked last for the sports team as I didn’t stand out because I wasn’t loud or boisterous like the other kids. Or I wouldn’t compete in things that really interested me like debating because I was deathly afraid of public speaking. What my dad taught me is that it is not just OK, but actually important to embrace myself just the way I am, with all my quirks and oddities. In doing so, I was able to identify the best way I can work, learn and interact without negatively comparing myself to others.

Doing is learning

– Peter Farquhar

Photo: Peter Farquhar.

My father started his working life as a sailor and was conscripted to the Vietnam War not long after. When he returned, he became active in local politics, before turning his hand to firefighting, hotel management, welding and horse racing. He built our house, alone, before he was 30. He taught me to question everything (especially authority) and showed me how school is just one of many ways anything can be learned. And that mullets, white tails and electric blue cummerbands are perfectly fine, if that’s what you’re into.

There’s nothing like a kick up the backside from dad to get your priorities straight

– David Scutt

Photo: David Scutt.

At 21 years of age I was living the high life, or so I thought. I lived by myself, was out most nights and enjoyed some of the longest sleep-ins that one could imagine. I even had a flat screen TV, making me the envy of many of my friends. In order to fund my lifestyle, I got myself a credit card, then another. Life was easy. Whenever I needed cash, I had an instant source.

I was more than content. However, trouble was brewing.

While those I went through uni with either furthered their studies or entered the full time workforce, I was happy enough to work at the local service station, as I had done when I was studying. Let’s just say it didn’t pay very much, with my income failing to keep up with my expenses. One thing led to another and both my credit cards were maxed out, and I was in financial strife. As hard as I tried to get on top of it, I was trapped in a debt spiral. It wasn’t a lot of debt for someone with a full time job, but it was for someone working less than 20 hours a week. Something had to give.

After months of concealing my financial mess, I told dad that I was essentially bankrupt. 21 years of age, intelligent and all I had to show for it was a pile of late payment notices. It was an embarrassment.

Dad bailed me out. He paid off my cards and I was debt free. I was fortunate, and I knew it. Not everyone has such luxuries.

I remember talking to him after we walked out of the bank. He told me a few home truths. I was lazy, delaying the hard decisions, and hard work, for another day. He was right. I was. I went straight home and hopped onto Seek, and started applying for full time jobs. I never wanted to be in that position again.

Within a month I landed a job at Commsec, the online share broker. It didn’t pay much, but it was enough. After a lot of hard work I was promoted, not once but twice, making my way into the Commonwealth Bank’s markets division. I was now earning good money, and in control of my financial destiny. I was saving and investing, and even managed to clear my HECS debt.

From there, the rest is history.

At 35, I now know that the verbal kick up the backside dad gave me after bailing me out has defined my adult life. While it took me a while to get going, I’ve learnt that hard work, and a degree of luck, has led me to where I am today.

A scotch a day can’t hurt

– Simon Thomsen

Photo: Simon Thomsen.

My grandfather, Ian Boyd, is my North Star.

I’ve been incredibly blessed to have him there guiding me for half a century. Even now, aged 101, he still lives in the house he built with his wife after WWII, taking care of himself. And nowadays he’s still passing on his advice, to both me and my children, his great-grandkids. He taught me the value of discipline and importance of family, as well as regular exercise. Even in his 90s he used to stride four kilometres to the shops.

About 25 years ago we spent a couple of weeks driving around Scotland visiting whisky distilleries in an era when Scotch was on the decline. Now we get a kick out just how many single malt whiskies there are out there, although his favourite is still The Macallan. Every day he has a nip before dinner which taught me two important things – moderation and that if you want a letter from the Queen, a Scotch a day can’t hurt.

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