There is a man I have known all of my life. I mention I have known him all my life because I realize I am blessed to have had him in my life since the day I was born. I know not every child is granted a gift like the one I am about to describe. When I was growing up, through my eyes he was the smartest and strongest man in the whole world. This man is my dad. Allow me to share some of the lessons my dad taught me.

1. You matter.

He always took time to answer my questions whether they could be viewed as pointless as a child sometimes can ask or deep when I had a problem to which I could not find a solution.

2. True strength is in character and loyalty.

It’s not that he wasn’t physically strong. He was a golden gloves boxer in his college days. At 5’8, his strength surpassed his physical body. In every situation we faced, individually or as a family, he remained my source of strength when I was-according to society standards-old enough to be on my own.

3. Where you are, is not where you have to stay.

My dad came from a modest beginning, but he didn’t stay there. He went into the Navy, fought in the Korean War, put himself through college, and went on to graduate school. My dad along with my mom made sure that we never knew what it felt like to be without anything.

4. Your legacy is not only about the things you achieve but the lives you touch.

My dad accomplished a lot, but his focus was on his students-not his accomplishments. He was a principal for most of his career who insisted on getting to know the names of every student that attended his school. It is not uncommon for one of his students to stop me and tell me how he changed their lives.

5. There is a time to be stubborn.

This is the stubbornness that accompanies determination in achieving something that is so important to you that you cannot imagine your life without it. Sometimes the stubbornness takes physical strength, but often it takes emotional and spiritual strength to keep going despite the obstacles that you face. It can feel like what you are facing is bigger than you are. Remain in stubborn determination anyway because it is at that moment that you are about to achieve your desire.

6. Don’t spend what you don’t have.

My dad would not charge anything on a credit card that he couldn’t pay when he received his bill. My parents were able to retire quite young and enjoy their lives because they lived within their means.

7. Men will tell you that they love you when they really don’t.

I know this may cause some alarm for some people, but the truth of the matter is that it is true. He explained that when you are young especially, men may tell you that they love you. They may really believe it, but they don’t. It is lust and it won’t last so don’t believe them. They are after one thing. This saved me a tremendous amount of heartache. It also shocked a few boys when they professed their love to me and I used my dad’s theory to explain to them what they were really feeling. Love takes time to bloom. If a man loves you, he will wait.

8. You may feel like you don’t measure up, but to somebody-to him in my case-you are the most beautiful girl in the world.

If you ever feel like you don’t measure up, know that others feel that same way too probably, but everyone has somebody that will see their true beauty.

9. Accomplishment is not always about succeeding but being willing to show up when something seems bigger than you.

My dad always made me feel this way, but on one occasion I was getting ready to go to the starting line of a triathlon when I was too sick to eat. My dad pulled me aside and said, “It is ok if you don’t finish. We are proud of you because you showed up.”  Sometimes you may fall short, but showing up in life-especially to tasks that may seem overwhelming-is what counts.

10. If you have a reason to brag, somebody else will notice it.

Be humble. There is no reason for you to be boastful ever.

My dad taught me so much about life-in the conversations that he took the time to have with me and in the example that he sets for me every day in how he continues to live his own life. I thought my dad was the smartest, strongest man that I knew growing up-and now that I am a grown woman, I know that he is all that and more.

Dad, for the many lessons that you taught me and the love that you continue to give me, thank you from the bottom of my heart for who you are and what you have done for me. I love you! I am the luckiest woman in the world to call you my dad.


  • Cindy Nolte

    Entrepreneur, Speaker & Professor

    Fresh Look on Life

    Cindy Nolte is the founder of Fresh Look on Life. She combines her background in training and development with extensive studies in mindfulness and holistic modalities. She works with clients and organizations to find hidden opportunities and make the changes they desire. She also speaks about topics like Creating a Culture of Mindfulness and Finding Peace in an out of Control World (based on her best-selling book).