I read a blog the other day called “Ten Things I Learned From My Father“, and it reminded me of things my dad taught me…even though sometimes growing up, I just thought he was being funny. It wasn’t until I got older that I could see the lesson or wisdom in his sayings. My father was a very humorous man…he was voted “wittiest” and “best personality” in high school, could tell a joke like no other and was always the life of the party. He was my best friend, and I learned just about everything I know about life from him…but, he taught it in his own way…you’ll see what I mean.
Here are some of the life lessons my daddy taught me :)
Gary Foster Smith
03/04/1951 – 04/02/2010
**WALK IT OFF – I can’t begin to tell you how many times I heard this growing up! I played a lot of sports, and every bump, bruise, crash and burn was followed by…”walk it off”. If you’ve ever heard Chris Rock’s bit about “put some Tussin on it”, you know exactly what I’m talking about! For any injury, this was the first and only option, and believe it or not, 99% of the time, it worked. If “walking it off” didn’t work, you were REALLY hurt. Later in life, I realized that this applies to certain other times in life also. Everyone gets beat down or beat up or knocked around by life at some point…usually several times throughout the course of life, but the lesson here is, you’ve got to get up, walk it off, and keep it moving. The game of life isn’t going to stop just because you’re on the injured list. Don’t sit it out…get back in the game!
**DON’T ARGUE WITH A FOOL – The first time Daddy said this to me, I didn’t get it. I thought he meant that I was wasting my time and breath trying to convince someone to see my point of view about whatever topic I felt that they were wrong about. How wrong I was! This lesson can be summed up in one sentence…When you argue with a fool, you look like a fool, and no one can tell the difference.
**DON’T LET YOUR MOUTH OVERLOAD YOUR ASS – You hear this a lot when someone is, as they say, “barking up the wrong tree”, but this little tid bit can be used in just about any situation. All of us have known someone who talks the talk, but can’t or doesn’t walk the walk. Ever promised or committed to something, and then a second later, you wish you could take it back? Ever made a bet or a statement that you couldn’t back up? I learned early on that your word is your bond, a handshake is a legal contract, and you better be able to back up what you say. This applies to friendships, business and relationships. Trust, loyalty and honor are priceless characteristics. Respect is earned over time, but lost in a moment.
**DON’T GO OFF HALF-COCKED AND NEVER BRING A KNIFE TO A GUNFIGHT – So many times, I have jumped into things without even really thinking about it. Granted this has provided me with a lot of life experiences and opportunities for growth, but it has also caused a lot of headaches, heartbreaks and hangovers! Lesson learned! Spontaneity is great, but some life choices deserve some time, attention and reflection. But, the biggest lesson here is just don’t do anything half-assed.
**DON’T GET CAUGHT WITH YOUR PANTS DOWN – I’m not sure this one needs any explanation, but…We all can’t be prepared all the time, and all of us have been in an embarrassing situation at some point. But, if you know that you are going into a situation that requires a certain amount of preparation on your part, then get prepared…expect the unexpected and try to be prepared for everything. If you end up in an embarrassing situation, plan for that too, and how you best can handle it. In a lot of circumstances, it’s your reactions or remarks (or lack thereof) that determines whether or not you look like an idiot! Having a good fall back line (that will evoke laughter) in case something comes up that you haven’t prepared for can make all the difference in the world!
**FISH OR CUT BAIT – I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Shit, or get off the pot.” Well, this was my dad’s version of it. You can’t just do nothing and expect things to change. You have to take action to make change. If you want something, go get it. Make up your mind, get a plan and get it done. Don’t sit around and wait for it to come to you. Hard work, self-motivation and determination are key to success.
**DON’T GET TOO BIG FOR YOUR BRITCHES – Any time my ego or attitude got a little bit cocky or over-confident, my dad had no problem putting me right back in my place by using this line. He always told me to treat others like you want to be treated, work hard, don’t take yourself too seriously, and never forget where you came from. No matter how much fame, fortune or success I attain in life (maybe someday), I will always be this country girl from Columbia, TN. By the way, Mule Day is Saturday, March 31st!! (This is Columbia’s claim to fame…people come from all around the US…I have been wondering why my whole life???). Yee Haw!
**MEND YOUR FENCES – Just like fences, sometimes relationships get broken. Rather than holding on to anger or resentment, ego, selfishness, self-righteousness or hurt, either try to fix it or do what you need to do to make it right with yourself. Regardless, you never want to walk away with regrets or wondering what if. Don’t hold grudges, say your piece and fix what can be fixed and leave what can’t, but make sure that either way, you make your peace with your role in it. My dad mended his fences in life, so he did not leave this world with any unfinished business.
**GIVE THE SHIRT OFF YOUR BACK – This is very simple. Helping others should just be in our DNA. My father was the type of person that would do just about anything to help someone out. Whether this was passed along genetically, or if by watching him and seeing how happy it made him to do it, and how happy it made others, I just wanted some of that feeling, I don’t know. I’m inclined to think it’s catching…I hope so!
**SITTING IN HIGH COTTON – It didn’t matter where he was or what was happening, Daddy always made the best out of the situation. He always said, that it was all about attitude. He would say to me, “If you want to be miserable, you will be…it’s your choice.” He always managed to make me laugh when I was at my lowest. It’s funny how the bad times never last, and because of them, you can really appreciate the good times. The trick is to try to find the positives in all of them, so you can always be “sitting in high cotton”.