4 Lessons About Home (& Life) I Learned From Dad

4 Lessons About Home (& Life) I Learned From Dad

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Adrienne Breaux
Jul 2, 2015
My cat (not my dad) in front of furniture that my dad has helped me move (books included) from apartment to apartment without complaint 900 (or so) times.
(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Father's Day has passed this year, but as any child of an ultra-helpful dad can attest, dads (as well as the lessons they've taught us) deserve appreciation all year long. My dad couldn’t give a flying flip about what color the walls are, whether the couch goes with the rug or what kind of flooring is the kitchen. But what he lacks in caring about aesthetics, he has more than made up for in teaching me about how to take care of a home — and they're lessons that have saved me a lot of headache (and heartache) in my life.

1. Pay attention

It seems so simple, but one of the biggest things my dad taught me to do is pay attention to my surroundings. To listen to whether the appliances sound funny. To notice if cracks in the ceiling are getting bigger. To feel when the doors or locks are sticking. The list could go on. This idea has spread outside the house to other parts of my life, too. I pay attention to the car tires before I get on the road. I pay attention to my surroundings when I'm walking somewhere by myself. It's added to my safety without question, but it's also created a sense of peace to my every day life. I notice cool plants on my walks and spot every cat. I notice when someone needs help opening a door. My dad's never been one to curl up on the floor and meditate, but I think he's always practiced his own brand of mindfulness.

2. Don’t let things get worse

And he taught me to deal with problems as they happen, not ignore them and let them get worse. (I don't always follow this advice, but I do try). When I notice something that needs repairing around the home, I try and do it the same day I notice it (if it's something I can tackle) or shoot an email to the landlord right away. It might be a product of him being the kind of guy that doesn't like sitting still for very long, but we just never lived with anything broken at our house growing up. I never really appreciated how smoothly and quickly things were taken care of until I grew up and started living on my own. Not waiting to fix things (and putting them off and putting them off and putting them off) has saved me from a lot of expensive damage and headaches. And it's made all my landlords consider me a responsible tenant that has their property's best interests in mind.

My dad hiking on a recent trip to Arizona.
(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

3. Things aren’t as scary or as complicated as they seem

My natural reaction to leaks, things falling down and various other home mini-catastrophes is usually to freak out and then kind of go helpless for a few minutes. But after years of watching my dad never even break a sweat, I've finally been able to (sort of) cultivate an attitude of "Okay let's figure out what's going on before we freak out." Usually things aren't as terrible, scary, complicated or un-understandable as my natural reaction would lead me to believe. And with a call to dad or a Youtube video, a lot of stuff I can usually figure out.

My dad claims he's not that creative of a person, but I've always thought I got my creativity from seeing him figure out how to fix stuff on the fly. And the impressive/weird way I managed to hang curtains in my current apartment's bedroom without any screws or adhesives (it's a complicated system of double tension rods, hooks, ingenuity and luck) is proof that I inherited at least some of this skill. (The fact that I did still freak out for a few minutes after my first five failed attempts to hang curtains is proof that I still have a few years left until I achieve my dad's level of calmness in the face of DIY home disasters.)

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

But I also knew growing up there was never any shame in asking for help. Though the times my dad had to call in help were far and few between, when he came across something he didn't know how to do or just needed help with (usually because it involved lifting or moving something a human is literally incapable of doing on their own), he asked. And he has always been willing to drive over to help me do whatever big or small home or car thing that broke (or that I broke trying to fix).

What home and life lessons did your dad teach you? If not dad, where did you learn about how to take care of home? Was there another home lesson role model in your life that showed you the way? Share!

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