50 Pieces of Advice from Dear Old Daddy

Daddy and me along about 1972.

My daddy has given me lots of good advice over the years. So I got to wondering what other daddies told their children — what was the one piece of advice that stood out in their memories? Well, y’all, our daddies are some smart, smart fellas.

In the hundreds of responses I got, I noticed something though. While our mama’s advice tends to lean toward manners and the lovey-dovey, emotional side of life, our daddies are all business. And that business is to ensure that we stay out of trouble, get a good job, and not mess up … too much.

So without further ado on this Father’s Day, here are 50 pieces of fatherly advice. The first three come from my dear old dad. Happy Father’s Day, Daddy! And let me take this opportunity to say that you were right on all three counts! XOXO

  1. Dress for the position you want, not the position you have.
  2. If you’re not the lead dog, the view never changes.
  3. Never stay in a motel that charges by the hour.
  4. There’s a high price for low living.
  5. Never get higher than picking corn nor lower than digging potatoes.
  6. Your word is your bond.
  7. Somebody has always got to be in charge.
  8. Worry is like a rocking chair — you rock all day and get nowhere.
  9. If someone’s not good to you, they’re not good for you.
  10. Can’t never could and should never would.
  11. Nothing good happens after midnight. (This one was probably the most common piece of advice that was mentioned!)
  12. Even if you don’t have any cents, at least have a sense of humor.
  13. Don’t take any wooden nickels.
  14. You are the only one in control of your emotions. There are no buttons for people to push. You decide how you react.
  15. When you make a big decision, make sure you are running toward something, not away.
  16. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.
  17. Get the money first.
  18. You never REALLY know someone until you marry them or go into business with them.
  19. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  20. Never hit a bull in the ass with a shovel.
  21. Make a boy earn every kiss.
  22. I’ve been poor and I’ve been rich. Rich is better.
  23. There are two ways to do things, right and over.
  24. You can’t make people do right.
  25. Treat school like a full time job. If you dedicate yourself to it from 8-5, you’ll retain more and will get to have your nights and weekends off.
  26. Never touch your principal.
  27. Don’t be unwisely trusting of friends or too harsh with enemies.
  28. Measure twice; cut once.
  29. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
  30. You don’t want to be around anyone who doesn’t want to be around you.
  31. Stay out of places with no windows.
  32. Remember what your name is / who you are / yourself.
  33. God gave you one mouth and two ears so you could listen twice as much as you talk.
  34. If you can’t afford to pay cash, you can’t afford it.
  35. You can’t take it with you when you die.
  36. Don’t buy the cheapest, buy the best you can afford.
  37. You can’t fix one problem by starting another.
  38. You never know if you’re entertaining an angel.
  39. Don’t get your butter the same place you get your bread.
  40. Excuses are like assholes, everyone’s got one.
  41. The only people who don’t make mistakes are the ones who don’t do anything.
  42. The world does not owe you a living.
  43. If you don’t want dumb kids, don’t marry a dumb husband.
  44. Never back up when you can go forward.
  45. Attitude is latitude.
  46. Righty tighty, lefty loosey.
  47. If you can’t say anything good about somebody, don’t say anything at all.
  48. Sometimes, you don’t need to talk to be heard the loudest.
  49. There are two different people in the world: doers and dreamers. Be a doer!
  50. If you’re gonna be stupid, you better be tough.

(Have you gotten your copy of my new book, They Call Me Orange Juice? If you’re in Birmingham, head over to Little Professor Book Center or Church Street Coffee & Books, and in Citronelle, you can get one at Jeanna’s Flower Shop. Or you can order your copy today!)