Wisdom//

15 Life Lessons Every Dad Should Teach Their Kids

Fifteen contributors share the most valuable lesson they learned from their fathers.

Maskot/ Getty Images
Maskot/ Getty Images

By Siobhan Colgan

One of the best teachers: pops. Below, Spartans share the hard-earned wisdom they gleaned from their dads when it comes to fitness, health, and hard work.

Lesson 1: You Always Need More Practice

“My dad spent hours shooting baskets, playing catch, and cheering at my games. He taught me the key to success is to practice hard and never quit.”—Bri Payne, Ten Mile TN

Lesson 2: The Only Way Forward Is Forward

“My dad taught me to always keep moving and stay active, no matter your age. He has always been a pretty active guy and because of this he was able to swing dance with me at my wedding at age 70! Even now he continues to retain his mobility at age 77. I am reminded through him that movement keeps us feeling young, even as we get older.”—Robin Legat, SGX Coach, Los Angeles CA

Lesson 3: Face Challenges Head On

“Fitness starts with a mindset, and one of the biggest lessons I learned from my father is to be strong in the face of adversity. Never hide from your challenges, but face them head on. Those who are persistent and determined will reach their goals.”—Kelly Korponay, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Lesson 4: The Right Thing Is the Best Thing

“The most important lesson I learned from my father was that no matter what others do, if you keep doing the right thing, you’ll come out ahead. No shortcuts.”—Bradick Young, Bartlett IL

Lesson 5: There’s a Better Way—Find It

“My dad had very high standards and always pushed me to be better. ‘Never settle for less than your best.’ He was a quiet man who worked hard, but he was resourceful and found ways to get things done when others couldn’t. This taught me to challenge myself mentally to find better way to accomplish my goals.”—Rod Julian, Carmel IN

Lesson 6: Slow and Steady Wins the Race of Life

“My dad’s lessons were always on discipline and staying focused. He told me, ‘Elizabeth, with practice and consistency you can accomplish goals, even if it takes longer than expected. Nothing in life is easy; working hard is crucial to survival.’ I take these words and use them daily and it has served me well with my training for Spartan races!”—Elizabeth Narvaez, Chicago IL

Lesson 7: If Someone Hands You Something, You Don’t Want It

“My dad taught me so much. But the most important thing he taught me was to work hard for what I want in life and not expect things just to be handed to me.”—Crystal Smith, Clarkesville TN

Lesson 8: Exercise Is the Best Medicine

“As a kid, my father encouraged me to stay on the path of being fit and healthy. He would always tell me to move toward my goals and that anything can be achieved. Four months before my daughter was born, I was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s. I was told that it was incurable and that the progression rate is unknown. That was six years ago. Since then, I have discovered that exercise helps slow the progression. Today, I have completed two Trifectas and am going for the third this year. When I run, I’m free. I’m able to be in the moment. And I think of my dad who taught me that we can do anything we put our minds to, regardless of our circumstances.”—Christian Banda, Henderson NV

Lesson 9: You Can Always Work Harder

“I was a successful gymnast when I was younger and my dad was forever taking me to and from training and competitions. He was very supportive but also taught me the importance of pushing yourself. He would say, ‘If you want results, you have to put in the effort.’ As I got older, I took the same ethics into my working life. My dad was always a hard worker, no matter what he did, and I wanted to be the same!”—Lisa Grant, Andover, United Kingdom

Lesson 10: Life Is Garbage In, Garbage Out

“My dad taught me that to live a full life you must maintain your health. For example, if you don’t maintain your car with scheduled maintenance it will break down. In the same way, if you don’t maintain your body with proper nutrition and exercise it will also break down. He believed that to achieve optimum health and fitness in life you must put in the hard work and time.”—Allen Dowhie Jr, SGX Coach, Limerick PA

Lesson 11: Always Make Time for Family

“This year I will spend Father’s Day with my Papa. I live a healthy lifestyle—mentally, emotionally and physically—because of the examples my dad set as I was growing up.”—April Joy Bird, Twin Falls ID

Lesson 12: If You Wouldn’t Want Your Kids to Know, Don’t Do It

“My dad told me, ‘Always strive to be the best example you can be to your kids, because they are always watching and learning.’”—Richard Clarke, Knoxville TN

Lesson 13: Know What’s Important and Ignore Everything Else

“I’m going to cheat a little here and talk about my grandfather as he was like a second dad to me. When adults ask, ‘What do you want to do?’ some kids say ‘I don’t care!’ I did that. But once, my grandfather leaned into me and gently said, ‘You should.’ Point is, everything I do in life now relates to the things that I care about. If something is not important to me, I don’t waste time with it. Now, at age 47, the most important things in my life are health, fitness, and good nutrition. By not taking care of them, I would stall in other areas of my life.”*—James P. Manganiello, Babylon NY *

Lesson 14: Talent Is a Gift—Open It

“My father would always say, ‘If you don’t get out there, you will never know! The biggest mistake in life is wasted talent.’ A quote he often said that comes to mind: ‘You can’t have a comeback without a setback!”—Stacia Cova, Wheatland CA

Lesson 15: Hard Work Makes You Unstoppable

“A quote from my father: ‘Hard work outdoes talent any day.’ And one from my husband to our own kids: ‘I don’t expect perfection, but I expect your best.’”—Kristy Ashby, West Jordan UT

Originally published at life.spartan.com

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