22 Invaluable Lessons People Have Learned From Their Fathers That Are Worth Remembering

Sometimes you just need a little advice from your dad.

Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen sit on a couch in casual outfits during a scene from the show "Modern Family"
Danny Feld / © ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to share the best things they learned from their dads. Here are some of the most important lessons:

1."My dad was a stay-at-home dad. My mom worked and made the money for our family. When we were kids, other moms never wanted to be around us because my dad always took me places while my mom worked. He took me to every birthday party, play date, and event when I was a kid, and later did the same for my siblings. But other moms never wanted to include my dad, and to an extent, myself and my siblings. As a result, my dad grew to feel insecure about his role as a stay-at-home parent, and my siblings and I grew up lacking social skills because other kids were discouraged from playing with us."

A parent holding a sleeping baby on their shoulder, both seated in front of a laptop

2."What loyalty and unconditional love looks like. My mother is chronically ill and he would give anything for her health and happiness, and always has. He would protect her and his kids with his own life if he ever had to."


3."The worst they can say is, 'No,' when asking for ANYTHING. A late fee reversal, car wash when I get my oil changed, coupons at the checkout, or asking a grandparent to babysit? Be polite and ask as the worst they can say is, 'No.'"

Tequan Richmond, Terry Crews, Imani Hakim at a kitchen table together with a floral wall and hanging pictures in the background
© 3 Arts Entertainment / Courtesy Everett Collection

4."Never, ever look down on people because of their job. Doing any job well is worthy of respect."


5."To respect all women. In my adolescent years, I was like any pre-teen, trying to find my place in the world, what it meant to be a man, and the definition of masculinity. One day I snapped back at my mother and my father became unglued. It was very unlike him. He sat me down harshly and said, 'You will never speak to your mother or any women in that way ever again.' It took some learning on my part, but I will never speak to women in a degrading way ever again."

Laurence Fishburne stands indoors, holding a drink and wearing a casual light-colored shirt. Artwork and a curtain are visible in the background

—Anonymous, Tennessee

Kelsey Mcneal / © ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

6."That happiness is expectations versus reality. If you set your expectations higher than reality will ever be able to fulfill, you won't be happy. You will find happiness when you match your expectations and reality. It doesn't mean never dreaming or lowering your standards, it's not expecting things that aren't possible."

—Taylie, Utah

7."You don't have to respond immediately to all situations. When you are distraught due to an event and must respond, ask for time and tell them you will get back to them in X days/hours when possible. It will allow your deep emotions to calm down (to an extent), and you will think clearer and ultimately make far better decisions, even in a tough situation."

Constance Wu and Randall Park are sitting at a desk covered with papers, looking serious and focused
Tyler Golden / © ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

8."This was probably inadvertent on his part, but my dad helped me realize how important it was to forge and be confident in your own identity instead of letting other people decide who you are for you, even if they're doing it out of a place of love."


9."It's simple and to the point: Treat people how you want to be treated. It doesn't mean they'll treat you that way back, but life isn't fair. You still need to treat people fairly."

Vanessa Marano and Katie Leclerc smile and pose indoors. Vanessa has curly hair and wears a casual top. Katie has straight hair, wears a denim jacket and a necklace
Danny Feld / © ABC Family / Courtesy Everett Collection

10."The most difficult part of any job is doing it."

—Anonymous, New Jersey

11."My dad taught me to never settle. He's such a gentleman to me, my sisters, and my mom. He holds the door for us, randomly buys my mom flowers, and surprises us with things that we like. He never yells, even when he's very frustrated. He has always been on my side and constantly encouraged me to keep going, no matter how hard it was to do so. He and my mother have been happily married for almost 37 years."

Cierra Ramirez and Maia Mitchell sit outdoors in casual clothing, with Cierra in a printed top and red skirt, and Maia in a grey tank top and blue jeans

—H, Ohio

Tony Rivetti / © ABC Family / Courtesy Everett Collection

12."Resilience and adaptability. My brother was hit by a car when he was five and required multiple levels of care until he died at 45. My dad just rolled with it."


13."When I was a teen my mom and I — both strong women — butted heads frequently. I expressed my frustration (and worse) to my dad. He responded, 'Believe it or not, you will grow up to be best friends someday when you realize that she only wants what's best for you and that she's pretty sharp about what that is.' I, of course, believed it highly unlikely. But as I matured I realized how right he was. She ended up being my best friend (other than my husband), full of sage advice as I raised my children. I realized she was a lot of fun, too. But the first, best wisdom came from my dad, who counseled patience and fresh insight."

Linda Belcher, holding a wine glass, and Louise Belcher, wearing bunny ears, sit at a table with books and a board game

—Anonymous, Michigan

© Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

14."To remind us to be grateful he would comment, 'I complained because I had no shoes, 'til I met a man who had no feet.' It got the point across every time!"

—Christina, Vancouver, British Columbia

15."To love selflessly and without judgment. My dad always ensured that the people he loved had slightly better circumstances than he did. I call it 'the good fork' perspective. When we were running low on silverware, the dishwasher hadn't been run, and we were down to the random hodgepodge of older and more beat-up silverware in the drawer, he would always take the bent one so we could have the ones that were easier to eat with. He's never once said anything about it, but that's how he lives his life, making sure the people he loves are happy in small ways. I've cherished that philosophy."

Milo Ventimiglia stands with arms crossed, wearing a denim jacket with a beige collar, in what appears to be a waiting room

—Kris, Texas

Paul Drinkwater / © NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

16."Always make the choice that leaves the most options."

—Ginny, New Jersey

17."No one cares that the responsibilities you chose to take on ended up being responsibilities you didn't want. When people depend on you to live up to them, you suck it up and do it."

John Stamos, Mary-Kate/Ashley Olsen, and Bob Saget are in a scene from "Full House." The child wears a floral dress, and the men are casually dressed indoors
© ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

18."You don't need to like anyone, but you must be kind to everyone."


19."My dad taught me to live within my means. Trying to keep up with the Joneses is a surefire way to get into financial trouble. It's OK to treat yourself to something nice once in a while but don't go overboard with your spending. Financial problems can ruin your marriage and your health. You will sleep better at night knowing you can pay your bills and still have money left over rather than living paycheck to paycheck."

A person is pulling a one-dollar bill out of a black wallet. Only their hands and part of their body are visible
Boy_anupong / Getty Images

20."He told me to keep in mind that common sense isn't all that common."

—Anonymous, New Jersey

21."I learned to never waste a moment to show love. My dad passed away when I was 16. What I remember the most is every time we passed him, he would kiss us on the top of our heads. My siblings remember it, my cousins remember it, and even some of my close friends remember it. He was charismatic, known for his dad jokes, and great voice. He was a singer in a band and a community leader for many years, but he was remembered by us kids for his unconditional love! I'm now 39 and show my kids my love for them every day."

Stu, Didi, and Tommy Pickles meet newborn baby Dil Pickles in a hospital setting, adorned with balloons and flowers in "The Rugrats Movie"


© Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

22."All you can do is try to improve your corner of the world. I stress about global problems all the time. My dad reminded me that even the smallest gestures can make a difference."


What's the most important thing your dad taught you? Share it in the comments!

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.