As an estate lawyer, we emphasize the word ‘inheritance’ a lot—who will you leave your money to when you pass away, who gets your home, who gets the family business, etc.
I am fortunate to still have both of my parents living. Recently I was debating out loud at work over whether to take a trip because of cost. I told Josh, Jonathan, and Bonnie that my Dad used to warn me while growing up about how some business owners become successful and start taking a lot of trips and buying bigger homes, and then become a slave to their mortgage and lose everything when the market turns. Bonnie said to me, “Does your Dad have any idea what an influence he has had on you? Do you know how many times you bring him up and think what he would say or do when you go to make a decision?”
It’s true that my Dad has had a huge influence on my life. I am very fortunate to have been raised by such a good man and father. As I think about Father’s Day, I think about the wonderful gifts he has given me over the years and how proud I am to be his daughter. (My mom is awesome too but I’ll save that for a Mother’s Day post!)
Thank you, Dad for all you have done for me and for the strong values we’ve inherited from you: Here are my top 10 favorite values from you:
- Stay Active. My Dad is almost 70, and he still surfs every morning and does not eat anything with sugar. I have so many memories of him running, using exercise machines, and playing basketball. I even remember him lying dead for a day or two on his bed after running a full marathon. So, when I wake up each morning, the first thing I do after situating the kids is work out. Maybe one day I’ll go sugar free.
- Save Your Money. My Dad is a great saver. I knew the term ‘nest egg’ before I knew where kids came from. He modeled for me the importance of living debt free and living below your means. I once asked him for lunch money as a teenager and he handed me two dollars and said to pay him back. The man treats his cash with care.
- Have Great Credit. When I was sixteen, my dad sat me down and said he was worried because he sees a lot of kids like me getting pressured when they go to college. I was mortified he was referring to boyfriends when he surprised me and said, “and that’s why you need to always have good credit and not get pressured into signing up for a credit card.” His advice seemed strange at the time, but I remembered it the first time I was on campus and saw the credit card booths. Years later when I was buying a car I told the finance rep that story and she smiled and said “well you obviously listened. Your credit is excellent.” Good tip Dad.
- Stay Married. My parents have been married 40 something years. I am sure they’ve had their ups and downs, and they are different in so many ways, but I never worried for one second growing up that my parents would not make it work. Now that I am married, I really appreciate that gift they gave us kids and hope my own kids feel that love and security as well.
- Keep the Faith. My Dad always practiced his faith and made sure we did as well. Even though I chose as an adult to practice a different religion than him, he was still supportive when I told him. He said, “any time you take a step towards Christ you can’t go wrong.” His confidence and assurance brought me a lot of peace of mind.
- Say I Love You. My Dad would always tell me “I love you” or “I’m proud of you” at any given moment. Sometimes he still leaves me random voicemails about how proud he is of me, and how much he loves me and my family. I will never have to wonder if my Dad loves me when one day he passes, because he tells me all the time. I try and tell my own kids I love them, and I am proud of them any chance I get, because I know how much it means to hear those words.
- You’re Already Good Enough. I am a fairly-driven person, and with that comes a lot of self-pressure. I remember calling my dad at law school worried how my first semester grades would come back. He was so reassuring. He said “Laura, who care what your grades are. You’re at one of the best law schools in the country. Even if you graduate last in your class, just graduate. No one will care what you were ranked.” Fortunately, I did well (and law firms do care what your grades are Dad), but even today when I pressure myself to achieve more, I hear him reminding me that I am already good enough and it will all be okay.
- Give a lot. Growing up, my Dad was always helping someone move on a Saturday or helping a kid with a boy scout badge. Candidly, I didn’t always like having to share him with other people, but I am glad he instilled in me the importance of volunteering and donating. In fact, sometimes when I am at a fancy gala and we are donating money, I wish I was more like my Dad and just cut the check or showed up to help without any of the attention. I am glad he engrained in me the importance of giving my time and money to others.
- Go for It. Even though my parents had traditional roles in their relationship, he always encouraged me to become a lawyer. He would introduce me to lawyers and tell me anytime he met a woman attorney and how I could have a set up like hers. After becoming a lawyer, it didn’t matter to me in those early years when I felt someone trying to hold me back, because thanks to my Dad, and the people he had surrounded me with, I believed I could accomplish anything.
- Marry a Man Who Will Be a Great Father. My Dad is a great father, and a great man. I’m so proud to be his daughter, and I think it is kind of cool that I look just like him. When I decided to marry Josh, I knew my kids would be blessed with a great father like I was. I feel a peace when I watch Josh with our daughter and how he builds her up and cheers her on, because I know just how priceless that gift is when a girl has an amazing loving father.
Happy Father’s Day to all the great Dads out there, especially my dad, my father-in law, and Josh. If you have an awesome Dad, or are married to an awesome dad, click here to post a picture on our Firm Instagram page and tell us what you love most about the special dad in your life.