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May 23, 2012

What’s the Best Advice You Received from Your Dad?

Staff and readers weigh in.

Our fathers are some of the most important people in our lives. Their impact can be felt long after we’ve left home and started families of our own. And sometimes we realize, like Tim Russert, that “the older I get, the smarter my father seems to get.”

We asked staff and advisers from Christianity Today’s discipleship resources to share some of the wisdom their fathers have given them through the years.

“My blue-collar dad wasn’t a man of eloquent speech, to say the least. But he always got his point across. He often told my older brother and me, ‘Be good and work hard.’ He lived those words, and he died saying them, too. As my brother and I stood at his bedside, just before he passed away, Dad asked with a raspy gasp, ‘What did I always tell you boys?’ Without missing a beat, my older brother responded, ‘Be good and work hard.’ My dad, too incoherent even to understand what my brother had said, answered his own question, ‘Be good and work hard.’ He died shortly thereafter.”—Chris Lutes, Men of Integrity

“Be honest, even if it costs you both money and pride.”—JoHannah Reardon, ChristianBibleStudies.com

“My dad always used to tell me, ‘You’re a sinner like your Daddy.’ This used to frustrate me because he’d remind me of this while telling me I needed to apologize and ask forgiveness for something. But ultimately it also taught me that everyone makes mistakes; everyone sins. We all have things we need to repent for, and we all need to be thankful for God’s forgiveness.”—Sloan Skinner, SmallGroups.com

“Seek first the kingdom of God. You might not want to all the time, and you might want to chase after your own wants instead, but God knows your needs better than you ever will. He wants to meet those needs. Seek him first...I heart my dad.”—Ashley Moore, Kyria.com

“Do your best and then be done with it.” When I was younger, I was ruled by perfectionism and anxiety, particularly with regard to schoolwork. This was my dad’s gentle way of encouraging me to keep work in proper perspective.—Jonathan Sprowl, Men of Integrity

“I’m most grateful for what I learned about finances from my dad. Growing up I perceived him to be cheap, but now I see how his frugality and his words of wisdom around finances helped me to budget effectively, save and spend wisely, give generously, and stay away from credit card debt that so many of peers have fallen into.”—Cory Whitehead, Christianity Today

“I hated it growing up, but now I understand, ‘Soldier on.’”—Lesa Engelthaler, Writer

Here are some responses from our readers that were shared on Facebook.

“You can fall in love with anyone if you hang around them long enough . . . so be careful who you hang around with.”—Kelly

“Don’t sleep in on Saturday if you have to take your car in for service. Be the first one there and you will not have to waste your whole day.”—Kris

“Listen to your mother.”—Jane

“The past is the past. Be done with it. Focus on today!”—Robin

“Don’t sweat the small stuff!”—Mendy

Related Tags: advice, dads, fathers, life, parenting


"What time you go to bed at night has nothing to do with what time you get up in the morning." My dad lived these words too. It was understood as we got older that we were able to make our own decisions about evening activities but morning still came with commitments that were to be fulfilled. It is a lesson that went beyond getting out of bed on time, to a life where commitment is part of who we are. Thanks for the lesson dad, and so many more that you shared with us.

Resting allows you to travel further in your journey.

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