Editor’s Note: To celebrate Father’s Day this year, we asked some of our favorite moms (who we are not married to, dear, who we are not married to) to tell us about some fatherly advice a dad in their lives taught them. Enjoy. – KMcK.
Don’t let them know how fast you can type
My dad Paul Gumbinner has always been my No. 1 supporter when it comes to my professional aspirations (well, probably tied with my mom). He’s an executive recruiter in advertising, with a brilliant understanding of the ins and outs of business and what makes people tick. I still remember him telling me my senior year, when I was interviewing for copywriter positions, never to let anyone know I could type like a jackrabbit or I’d be offered a secretarial position instead. He was right. But the advice was most valuable to me because it was a demonstration that my father truly supported my dreams and was looking out for me. It’s so invaluable for girls to have that in a father, and I hope my own girls grow up knowing that they’re surrounded by lots of people who love them and are rooting for them in the very same way.
Fatherly advice: Pay no mind to the sharks
When I was almost 5 years old, I still didn’t know how to swim. I was much more comfortable hanging around on the steps leading into the pool, holding on for dear life to the silver pole that ran from the safety of the concrete surrounding the pool deck down into what I thought was the shark-infested abyss of the deep end.
That summer, my grandfather took it upon himself to teach me to swim and get over my fear of those imagined sharks. “Pay no mind to the sharks,” he said. “If you don’t show them that you’re scared, if you ignore them and just keep pumping your arms and kicking your legs until you reach the other side of the pool, you have taken their power away. You have outsmarted them and reached your goal.”
And I tried every day that summer, each time with him there in the pool to guide me, to cheer me on and to protect me. And by summer’s end, I did it. There are plenty of actual and figurative sharks in this world that try to take us down, but my grandfather’s words still ring true and guide me along over thirty years later.
— Jamie Krug, @JamieKrugAuthor, writer
Be patient through radio silence
My husband John has a great analogy that communicating with the kids is like working in Mission Control at NASA. If you recall, whenever astronauts are re-entering the atmosphere from orbit, there’s that period of radio blackout they always dramatize in the movies. During this period when the astronauts go dark, Mission Control never stops broadcasting, waiting for the capsule to emerge on the other side. The voice of Mission Control is reassuring, monitoring and guiding the capsule to safety. And similar to the astronauts, what kids are going through as they grow up can be a strange, seemingly isolated, and sometimes scary experience. We have a close relationship with our kids, but especially now that our kids are getting into their teen years, I’ve found this analogy to be more and more true. Whenever I face a communication challenge with the kids, I just remember his bit of wisdom. I know to keep “broadcasting,” to never stop communicating even when there’s radio silence in return, and that my words will help bring them through it.
— Carrie Pacini, @
Fatherly advice: Don’t get your dobber down
Ever since I was a little girl, I have turned to my dad in times of trouble. Relationship hiccups, job missteps, financial snags – I have sought his counsel.
And my dad has never failed to dispense the same sage and timeless advice in his low, Southern drawl: “Annie, don’t get your dobber down.” For decades, this has been the phrase that has appeared in my mind whenever life goes sideways. I hear him saying, “Don’t get your dobber down,” and I feel better – like I have a firmer grasp on the situation.
What exactly is a dobber, you ask? I have no frickin’ idea.
Stay calm and even keeled
I was the only child born to my father and his only daughter, though I had stepbrothers. Being a daughter intrinsically creates a special bond between you and your father if properly nourished.
The advice my dad gave me varied but what I can say is that it was always given in a steady and consistent fashion. He was always calm and even keeled. I am so grateful for his patience over the years. My dad instilled in me a sense of security, that I could tell him anything. He is like a girlfriend – I tell him everything going on in my life and he listens to me and cheers me on. Today is about celebrating you. Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!
Fatherly advice: Different approaches yield positive results
As much as I feel that I am the motherboard running my household, I still look to my husband for co-parenting wisdom. I’ve found throughout the years, our ideas and discipline can frequently be polar opposite, but these different approaches yield greater results when raising our children. It always baffles me, how my husband can completely switch off when playing with the children, or even better when they are whining endlessly, something that I have yet to master, or even consider. My wheels are forever turning thinking about obligations like laundry, cooking, and deadlines, but sometimes I just need to let it go. I cherish this wisdom from husband, who is the most loving, caring, and playful dad, to our three amazing children.
— Brianne Manz, founder, Stroller in the City