15 Lessons From a Father to a Son

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of.” Benjamin Franklin

Today is my husband Billy's birthday.

For the next few months Billy's merely a couple of years younger than I am, which happens to be my favorite season!!  Though he'll still call me "cougar,"   and I'll still rib him about his immaturity, I think he's a pretty terrific guy. In fact, I see a host of character traits and attributes that I want my kids to emulate. Last year I wrote down some lessons I hope my daughter picks up, but this year, I think my son should take notes (he's 8 1/2 after all!)

1. Lead with Humor


Nothing's more attractive than someone who has a finely tuned sense of humor; the drier the better. Go for subtle jokes and never resort to ridiculing others to make your point, unless, of course, they are bronzed park bench figures, then go crazy!

2. Prioritize Marriage


There will always be more to do at work.  The only way you have time with your wife (or children) is to stand up and go home.  Do this at a reasonable time on a routine basis. If you need a reminder of this importance, invite at least five other couples into your life who will call you out should you forget.  Lives change when you sit in a circle with people and invite them into your "stuff."

3. Own a Dog


Unconditional love and acceptance is most purely found with a dog. Your wife will never tolerate the antics the dog endures, let alone be happy for more.  Love, play, and tease the dog when you're feeling ornery and bring your best cooperative spirit inside for the rest of the family.

4. Embrace Creativity

When playing reindeer games, working around home, the office, or on long car rides, never settle for the ordinary.  Find new ways to do things as a matter of habit.  Creativity is a muscle, so work it out!


5. Like, but Don't Live For Sports


Show up, represent your team, and enjoy the game. However, don't forgo the wedding, vacation, or birthday to see your team play.* (Note - the exceptions to this rule are for NCAA championship games, Final Four appearances, the Super Bowl, or the World Series)

 6. Build Stuff & Be Handy


Whether it's behind a computer or a table saw, learn how to do helpful stuff.  Study, disassemble, reassemble, disassemble and try again,but figure things out.  Resourcefulness is next to Godliness... I'm pretty sure that's in Proverbs somewhere!

 7. Play, Play, Play


Life is meant to be an adventure.  Don't be so earnest that you forget to enjoy the day. Say yes to play daily and embrace fun with reckless abandon.

8. Be Responsible and Brave


Find new adventures, but be smart about it.  Position yourself in the middle of the action, ready to help others and keep a sharp eye out for how you can help!

 9. Use Your Manners


You'll be amazed at the power of a well-placed "please" or "thank you." There are LOTS of other things to work on, but we'll celebrate if you at least nail those two!

 10. Show Affection


Don't just say you love someone, show them!

 11. Be a Helper


Pay attention to the needs of others.  Make sure you make others more important than yourself!  Always, always ask, "How can I help?"

 12. Honor Your Parents


I'm not saying this merely because, as a parent, I want to be honored, but because how your treat your parents sneaks into EVERY relationship. Love your mom and dad well, and you'll be in good shape for loving others well too.

13. Be Interested


People don't care what you know until they know that you care. Demonstrate this by being interested in what they are interested in (including Mario Cart DS).

14. Love God

Nina Sutherland Photography
Nina Sutherland Photography

Foundational to everything is loving God. God made you for a reason, and he wants you to know him. Get this right and life's purpose becomes clear and intentional.  We talk about this often and no one leads us in this better than your Dad.                                    (photo credit: Nina Sutherland)

15. Love Others


The best part of life is what you do with others.  We aren't designed to be alone, so embrace people who are placed in your path. They will give you depth and perspective you won't find on your own!

Happy happy Birthday Billy!!!

Team Phenix loves you!