The Best Advice OUR Dads Gave Us

From swinging fists to what really counts in life

advice from dad

We asked our team at YMC this simple question, and the answers were nothing short of amazing—just like our writers, bloggers, and staff: 

What was the best advice your dad ever gave you?

Evelyn: My dad was one of three brothers who grew up in a rough part of Montreal. All three were street fighters; the eldest was an amateur boxing champ. No one messed with them. When I was in grade two, one of the boys in my class hit me. I came home and told my dad about it. His advice? If someone hits you, hit him right back. So, I went back to school and gave that boy a bloody nose. I cringe when I think about it now, sixty-six years later. Still, there was some good in that long ago advice. My Dad taught me never to be afraid and maybe that is why I have the courage to travel the world solo.

Alexandria: The best piece of advice my Dad ever gave me was to never give up, no matter how down I felt or how sure I was that I couldn't succeed. He was basically telling me to "just keep swimming," long before Dory. ;) God, I could talk for days about all the things my Dad has taught me. 

Kelly: My last piece of advice from my Dad had to do with my golf swing, but the best piece of advice my Dad gave me was in his actions. He was loving, protective, attentive, and supportive, and by example helped equip me to choose a life partner that would be all those things to me and our children.

Erin: My Dad doesn't dole out the advice verbally, but I learn so many great lessons through his example. The top four are:

  1. Children are a delight. Never miss an opportunity to make a child smile.
  2. Bad puns help make the world go around.
  3. Life is full of joy—never stop noticing the good stuff.
  4. A great scotch can be enjoyed anytime, day or night.

Gav: Treat any girl you date the way you'd want someone to treat one of your sisters.

Tanya: I was a painfully shy child, but in Grade 4 I desperately wanted to try out for the volleyball team. The problem was I wasn't old enoughit was for Grade 5 and 6 kids. I mustered up some courage and made a case to the coach and she let me try out. When the day came, I was so nervous and intimidated thinking about the older kids I was going up against . . . kids I didn't know and who certainly didn't know me. My familiar shyness was out in full force. "Be aggressive," my dad said before I left. Something came out on the court that daya confidence and determination I'd never felt beforeand I made the cut. I've been playing vball ever since, sometimes still with the 'older' and more experienced kids, only now it rarely fazes me.

Kat I: My dad always comforts me with one-liners. Some are paradoxical, some are poignant and esoteric, and some are amazingly bad translations. But whether it's "measure twice, cut once" or "barbecued fish are better than fried fish," whenever he starts a sentence with, "Let me tell you something . . ." you listen! The message is always, "You can do this, and you are doing it." That conscious moment of ownership and being in the driver's seat in my life is something I am so grateful for. That and the best hugs ever. And his barbecued fish. Love you, dad.

Sarah R: My Dad always told me, "Sarah, it's the little things that count." He even made up a song about it and sang it to me all of the time. He was talking about the little "extras" that go a long way, like telling someone that you love them, or making a homemade card instead of buying one, or making breakfast in bed for someone who wasn't expecting it, or a random act of kindness. I really try to remember this in my every day life, and realize now more than ever how much I appreciate "the little things" too. 

Joe: Dad taught me how to relate to people no matter what their background; how to create bonds and foster relationships. He taught me to respect people for who they are and what they offer.

Jackie: My dad is famous for saying, "Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit." (He must think I'm a total dumb-ass.) 

Kim: I sucked at softball. I was the worst player on my team and I couldn’t hit the ball to save my life. My dad saw me struggling and decided to help me. "Don’t just stand there at the plate waiting for the ball to come to you, hoping you might hit it," he said. "Lean forward, get your arms up, get ready for that ball. Stare it down and plan to knock it out of the park." I should mention that my dad is Britishhe has never played baseball or softball in his life. But I took his advice and became one of the top batters on my team that year. I’ve taken the liberty of applying his words to everything I’ve ever attempted.

Consuelo: Growing up I didn't have a ton of heart to heart talks with my dadjust wasn't our thing. But he did impart pieces of advice in his own way . . . usually when I went on walks with him after dinner. The best piece of advice was just to do what made me happy. I guess he noticed I, at times, struggled with the "what decision do I make?" and he made me realize if I am happy then I've made the right decision. The other piece of advice was to accept that I was never ever ever meant to parallel park or back into a parking spot. That advice has saved me thousands in bodywork at the mechanics.

Lisa: My dad always makes time to play, he talks to animals, his wife is his friend. He's never raised his voice or his hand. Not once. Kindness begets kindness. 

Natalie: The best advice my father gave me was to stay true to myself and be authentic!

Dawn: My Dad is incredible, patient, funny, kind, and a total baby whisperer. His best advice to me came from his speech at my wedding, when he said: "Life's hurdles are for jumping over." His encouragement has always taught me to be resilient and relentless. The best things that have happened to me in my adult life are because of that attitude, which he has always nurtured. "No" just means "not YET a yes."

Hailey: My dad taught me that happiness comes when you're living your passion, nothing is unattainable if you set your mind to it, and it's never too late to make the choice to change your life. 

Nicole: “Forget about the damn 'dream job.' Just work hard and make as much money as you can. THEN you can do what you want.”