My 11-year old daughter cringes whenever she hears one of her younger brothers say, “That’s not fair.” After years of experience, she knows what’s about to happen.
“Oh, no,” my daughter says with a sigh. “Now you’ve gotten him started.”
“”You know what’s not fair?” I say as the boys start to groan. “It’s not fair that you get to live in this house while other people are homeless. It’s not fair the you have an X-Box and Wii while other kids struggle to meet their basic needs. It’s not fair that you have access to good schools while many people in the world are illiterate.” My speech goes on for several minutes until the boys can’t take it anymore.
“Okay, Dad,” says my 8-year old son. “We get the point.”
My daughter just shakes her head.
I’m sure that we all have stories about our dad’s favorite dad-isms – the funny, profound or inspirational words of wisdom that fathers are known for. Of course there are the classic lines such as “Don’t make me turn this car around,” “You’ll understand when you’re older,” and “When I was your age…”, but every dad has his own personal set of go-to sayings.
My wife’s father’s favorite dad-ism was “Be nice.” Although it sounds innocuous, the phrase had deeper implications.
“When my father said ‘Be nice,’ I knew I had overstepped my boundaries and severe punishment would follow if I didn’t change course immediately,” said my wife.
I rarely saw my father when I was growing up, but we started mending our relationship after I had children. Whenever we talk, he always says, “Take care of your family.” When he first said this to me, I was taken aback. As an absent father, he was in no position to give me this advice. But after spending more time with him, I realized that this was his way of warning me not to make the same mistakes he made.
Join the conversation: What are some of your favorite “Dad-isms?”
Photo by Carl Loven