All parents want to raise us to follow their own goals and expectations. But by doing so, they might be taking us in another direction.
When you don’t have a good relationship with your father, the only thing you can do is try to learn how to deal with it and move on with your own life. However, as you grow up, there are definitely many different situations you wish you'd learned how to handle better, or you wish you at least had some advice about what life’s supposed to be like. This becomes more evident when you start failing without knowing why (after all, you were raised this way), but soon it becomes more and more evident that the way you were raised, instead of preparing you for real life, was just bad training and hard to undo. Sorry, dad, but not only did you not give me the attention and care I needed, but you didn't provide me with good and stable roots to grow and venture into the real world either. It’s at these moments, when you feel your life is crumbling, when you wish you had had better advice in life. So, if you ask me, these are the things I wish my dad would’ve taught me while growing up.
Money isn’t everything.
My dad always saw money as his number one priority in life. If you had the resources you could do anything you wanted, I would venture to say that even love. He would always buy me things whenever we wanted to bring us closer together because he believed that by doing so he was earning my love and doing his job as a parent while my mom was the one actually raising me. It took me so long to realize that money isn’t everything, and that you can’t really buy happiness.
Love isn't about dependence.
When I was little, my parent's relationship was idyllic, but as time went by, it became a relationship of dependence on both sides. They seemed to need the other for everything other than love. It’s sad because when it came to my first relationships, I would follow that same toxic pattern because I thought that was how love and relationships work. Well, it isn’t, and it kills me to see that over the years that dependence has grown and turned into an unhealthy thing.
Health comes first.
As you can tell from what I mentioned about money, for my dad, there wasn’t a higher priority than working hard to make more money. In that way, he always neglected his own health and just hoped he wouldn't get sick. I grew up believing that there’s always time to fix any health issue as long as you fulfill your duties. That was until he had to be hospitalized for something that would’ve been fixed easily if he had seen a doctor in time. From that moment on, I knew that, no matter how busy or important my job is, my own health comes first.
Work isn't everything.
This is linked to the previous point. His passion (if we can call it that) for his work didn’t only make him neglect his health, but also his personal life and family. He would work on the weekends or even miss important events in our lives because of his work. That was the number one lesson he wanted to instill in me and my siblings, and it took me a long time to discover that there are more important things in life, like spending time with the people you love and enjoying life's simple pleasures, which brings us to the next point.
Enjoy every stage of your life.
Of course, my dad would always push me to be the best at school, so I could get a good job because that was his idea of a perfect life. In that way, even in my teens I was so focused on school and being the top of my class that I ended up missing out on a lot of stuff. I wish he would’ve told me to enjoy every single moment in life because once they're gone, they’re not coming back.
No matter how good or bad your relationship with your father is, at the end of the day, all of them raise us according to their own expectations and perspectives in life because that’s how they understand life. However, times change, and expectations and goals do as well. Not to mention that every person is different and might not aim for the same goals in life. That’s the biggest lesson all dads should give us.
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Illustrations by Mr. Tokki