Seniors Today: Father’s Day: The Best Advice My Father Ever Gave Me

by Emily Akin–

Father’s Day is a nostalgic time for senior citizens because most of our fathers have passed away. But they are with us in spirit as we remember the fatherly advice (or fatherly badgering) and guidance they gave us. This year, I asked area seniors to share nuggets of patriarchal wisdom from their dads or step-dads. Here’s what they had to say.

Nancy Laird and her father, Fred Williams.

Nancy Williams Laird, formerly of Union City: My dad told me, “It’s a pretty poor dog that can’t wag its own tail.” That told me that, if I wasn’t confident enough in my own abilities, I shouldn’t expect others to be confident in them. If I didn’t have the confidence to tell people about my abilities, I shouldn’t expect people to tell others about them. Having that attitude got me into a lot of good jobs through the years. (Nancy’s mother, Serena Williams, still lives in Union City and was the subject of a Seniors Today interview last year).

Nancy Jones Atkins, Union City: “Buy quality, take care of what you purchase and it will last a long time.”

Joe and John Dunker.

John Dunker, South Fulton: My father was a man of few words. By example, he taught me to be a man with integrity, to do my best, and to be a person others can rely upon. This led me to take seriously my responsibility towards everything I undertake.

Thomas Kilpatrick, Martin: “Go to college.” He always talked to me about when you go to college, never if or maybe, even though we were incredibly poor. Neither of us knew how we would afford it. Thanks, Dad.

Thomas Kilpatrick of martin, with his father.

Dr. Susan Johnson, Martin: “Never take anything from the government.” No explanation required.

DiAnn Callicott Perry, Union City: “Always remember—no matter how flat the pancake it always has two sides.” In other words, there are always two sides to a story. You don’t necessarily believe everything you hear until you know the whole story. DiAnn said, “He was the wisest man I’ve ever known.”

DiAnn Callicott Perry and her father.

Elwood Doss, Martin: It’s not any specific advice he gave, but the lifestyle my father modeled. He lived a Godly life realizing that, not only were his spoken words a witness of his faith, but the life he lived was also. He was a hard worker who always gave his employers much more work than he was paid for. He was honest to a fault and considered his word his bond. He loved my mother and my step-mother. He worked unbelievably hard, as a simple laborer, and later, carpenter, to provide for his family. Although he was a self-taught musician, he gave me my first music training and song-leading training. As adults, we always hugged when we met and when we departed. I continue that tradition to this day with my two sons and daughter! Sometimes, it’s not what you say that makes an impact.

Alice Beck Nelson, lived in Dresden for a short while: “Always be a cash buyer.” In other words, if you can’t afford it, do without it. Almost everyone uses credit to buy houses and cars these days, but too many people are deep in debt for buying a new television, the latest fashions, or more electronic toys. (Alice is lives near St. Louis. She commented on my Facebook post. Alice and I were fellow music majors at Mississippi State College for Women in the 1960s).

And some of them sent photos! It seems many fathers are willing to give advice, while others prefer to lead by example. I guess fathers don’t talk much so that, when they do speak, their kids will listen. Some don’t like to have their picture taken either. Thanks to everyone who participated. We’ll post this article on the website and the Hometown Facebook page in early June. If you want to contribute your father’s advice, you can comment when we post the link on Facebook. Like our Facebook page at this link to get updates.