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Life Lessons From Dad

Jun 16, 2013

by Aleksa Brown handmade and vintage goods

From my grandpa’s incredible work ethic and goofy sense of humor to my stepfather’s genuine, from-the-heart sincerity, there are a number of values I learned from the fathers in my life. The words sweet, smart and beautiful hold a special place on the advice shelf in my mind – as a girl, my father encouraged me to try and embody them each and every day.

In the spirit of sharing stories and paying tribute to dads everywhere, we asked the Etsy community “What is the best advice your dad has ever given you?” on Facebook and on Instagram. We got more than 1000 responses, and here we’ll share a few of our favorites.

On taking the car out for a spin:

“When you are driving, remember it is not how fast you are going, but how quickly you can stop.” – Wendy Bradnam

On work:

“In everything you do, no matter how much you would be rather doing something else, find something you like. And be sure you do the job right. You never know who is looking over your shoulder.” – 3lla Handmade

On love:

“On my wedding day: Sometimes the thing you love best about a person is going to be the thing that drives you the most crazy about that person.” – Jhen Mason

On repairs:

“Duct tape is a power tool.” – Mickey McDonald

On closet monsters:

“Put the blankets all the way over your body, and you won’t have nightmares.” – Callie Fong

On achieving your dreams:

“If you never try, you never know what you can achieve. Also: everything in moderation. With those in mind and pinch of determination, I’ve realized a number of my dreams.” – Jettalyn Bittner

“My dad told me life isn’t worth living if you don’t have a dream. He told me to have a dream and to work hard to make it come true.” – Sandre Moore

Join the conversation in the comments section – what’s the best advice your father gave you?

TAP DANCING DUO - Dad and Daughter Photograph
TAP DANCING DUO - Dad and Daughter Photograph
Funny Father's Day Card - Father's Day Card - Fathers Day Card - Thanks Dad I'm Awesome.
Funny Father's Day Card - Father's Day Card - Fathers Day Card - Thanks Dad I'm Awesome.
$5.00 USD
Funny Father's Day Card - Not the Worst
Funny Father's Day Card - Not the Worst
$6.00 USD
Father and Child Vintage Photograph (XX)
Father and Child Vintage Photograph (XX)
Father and Sons Vintage Photograph (A)
Father and Sons Vintage Photograph (A)


  • materialrat

    Margarita Rat from PackRatJewelry said 7 years ago

    Awesome post, thank you for sharing these meaningful quotes from dads! My father did not give any advice sadly... He can hardly be considered an example of anything good. I barely saw him and we didn't have many chances to chat... Father's Day is a beautiful holiday but unfortunately it hardly has any value to me.

  • LittleGussy

    Kasia B from ShesGUtSSY said 7 years ago

    Very whimsical. Thanks for the beautiful post

  • GeorgieGirlLLC

    D George from GeorgieGirlLLC said 7 years ago

    1957 Dad and little boy, so moving! How wonderful it is to teach young minds! I love sitting on the front porch with my dad talking about nothing, just being close to him as he worked all the time when I was younger! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful post!!

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 7 years ago

    My dad told me there is no such word as "can't". Because of that I have accomplished so much in my life already! Happy Fathers Day!!!

  • poplovedesigns

    Andrea Hughes from PopLoveHers said 7 years ago

    My dad's favorite quotes were usually taken from Monty Python movies, so I don't think I have too many inspirational words to share in that department, but for that same reason, my dad is the greatest. He taught me to have fun, do what I love (even if everyone else thinks it's silly), not worry so much about what other people think, and find the lighter side wherever possible. Thanks dad!

  • BrianaEdelmanDesigns

    Briana from FoxburyAndCo said 7 years ago

    So sweet, what funny and wonderful advice. Happy Father's Day all you dads! eeBeeVintage's photo is perfection.

  • blueroompottery

    Marietta from blueroompottery said 7 years ago

    Happy Father's Day to all dads! I really miss mine on this day, he was my sister soul and I loved him so much! He was my hero, he spent so much time with me and taught me so much. I still see his hands in mine when I work on the wheel and he is still with me to guide me through life's difficult moments. I was so lucky to have such a special dad and I only wish that everybody could share my feelings! So...Guys!!! Be good dads!!!

  • blueroompottery

    Marietta from blueroompottery said 7 years ago

    Oh, I forgot to say he passed away 8 years ago :(

  • sarahhorton81

    sarah horton said 7 years ago

    have to admit I have a shoddy father, and so does my husband, but in turn my husband is the best father to our children that he could ever be, he's kind, patient, generous, helpful, encouraging and affectionate and "down with the kids". All this and more, and its lovely that we have fathers day to celebrate just how special he really is

  • MoodsWingz

    Nina from MoodsWingz said 7 years ago

    I lost my dad 4 years ago and not a day goes by that I don't think of him, or miss him. Although we were two complete opposite personalities, our bond was so strong and warm. I will never forget the image of his hand in mine shortly after his passing, when I removed the wedding-ring from his finger to put it on my mom's finger. She died of a broken heart 9 months later.

  • AutumnLeavesJewelry

    Carolyn S. Miller from AutumnLeavesJewelry said 7 years ago

    "Duct tape is a power tool" lol, love it, these are so sweet and funny and inspiring, Happy Fathers Day :)

  • TheGlowingSkin

    TheGlowingSkin from TheGlowingSkin said 7 years ago

    My son drew a picture of us dad with wings like an angel and spiky hair and dark glasses like the cool devil. It does not look too baffling to me, most dads are somewhere in between, all too human, all aspiring to be to best. Happy fathers day !

  • MissTopanga

    Anna Imhof from MissTopanga said 7 years ago

    My dad had integrity. He had strong convictions and never ever changed them for anybody. That's the kind of dad I would want for my child, too. Happy father's day!

  • maggiemaevintage

    maggiemaevintage from maggiemaevintage said 7 years ago

    Dad didn't say much....but was a great example and lived his life right..

  • PruAtelier

    Jeanne B from PruAtelier said 7 years ago

    Gosh, I have so many tidbits of advice given by my father, but the one that sticks out the most in my mind was something he never tired of saying at mealtime...."don't wash it down"! This was always the admonition because my sisters would get themselves a glass a water or some such to drink with their meals and he always explained that if you drink water or soda with your meals you dilute your digestive juices needed to break the food down; if it's diluted, it's weaker, thence comes the indigestion. To this day, I am the only one at a table who doesn't have the water, juice or glass of soda sitting aside the plate while the puzzled looks are always directed at me! I just give them the old refrain....."don't wash it down" father taught me well! I miss you dad!

  • lcarlsonjewelry

    Liesl Carlson from lcarlsonjewelry said 7 years ago


  • Aristocrafts

    Aristocrafts from Aristocrafts said 7 years ago

    Great quotes! My dad continues to be an example to me, and I have so many wonderful life lessons I've learned from him. Some of the phrases above sound just like something he would say. Happy Father's Day to all :)!

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage said 7 years ago


  • debragalbo

    Debra Galbo from HowCuteAreYou said 7 years ago

    My Dad taught me how to be cherished and loved.

  • RenataandJonathan

    Renata and Jonathan from RenataandJonathan said 7 years ago

    Great post !

  • debragalbo

    Debra Galbo from HowCuteAreYou said 7 years ago

    A great life lesson that he taught me is..... Push away from the table before you have to do push ups!

  • squinkus

    Emily Warner said 7 years ago

    My Dad's was "Never fire yourself". Its helped me at many jobs.

  • prettyware

    Barbara Mahan from prettyware said 7 years ago

    Daddy said "When someone older than you gives advice, say Yes, Sir or Yes, Ma'am and then go on and do what you intended to do in the first place. Everybody will be happy."

  • richdon1

    Rich and Dona from TheCottageMouse said 7 years ago

    My dad always told us "Enjoy life, It is only for a little while". He turns 90 on Tuesday and says yesterday he was 23 and blinked his eyes and all those years melted away. My family is blessed to have him. Many happy wishes to all who are father's and to those who stepped in to replace one. Blessing and love to all.

  • KitKatCabaret

    KitKatCabaret from KitKatCabaret said 7 years ago

    once you get a job work for the boss as though your job counts on it everyday, be honest, sincere, straightforward

  • piperscrossing

    piperscrossing from piperscrossing said 7 years ago

    My favorite advice from my Dad (I hear this pretty often in my head) Can't never could.

  • cosmiksouls

    joan kelly from cosmiksouls said 7 years ago

    Dad's ROCK !!! Happy Father's Day everyone .. have fun celebrating the one's you LOVE ... they r a blessing <3

  • artlover2013

    Kay from ArtMeetsLove said 7 years ago

    Happy Father's Day! I miss my Father.

  • SpaceMauve

    Caroline Bee from SpaceMauve said 7 years ago

    Great !

  • debvasbinder

    Deb Vasbinder from BabyCuteBaby said 7 years ago

    Great post - I enjoyed it & loved the pics! Thinking of my Dad brings back great memories - the very best advice & life lessons that I still live by today.

  • ArtDecoDame

    Desiree from ArtDecoDame said 7 years ago

    Wonderful post,I loved the photos.

  • H88255

    H88255 from HillarysSuperfoods said 7 years ago

    Awww! What a sweet post! Happy Father's Day!

  • TheAmateurNaturalist

    Beth Anne and Sarah Schwamberger from TheAmateurNaturalist said 7 years ago

    I remember one moment of advice very well. I was a junior in high school, and taking AP Chemistry. I had always gotten A's on everything, and was a perfectionist/overachiever. AP Chemistry was really hard and I got my first B on the first 9 weeks report card. I wanted to drop the course and switch to the easier science course instead. My dad said, "Beth Anne, you're incredibly smart and motivated. Most things come very easily for you. This is the real test of your character right here. Will you give up when things get hard, or will you stick with it? You may not perform perfectly at everything, but in not giving up you will learn so much." I stuck with AP Chemistry and spent many nights studying and getting very little sleep. I ended up with a B as my final grade in that course... and forfeited my chance at being valedictorian, but the lessons I learned in working hard and staying the course have stayed with me forever. Dad was so right!

  • christineshmisteen
  • RigbyandFable

    Megan Moulos from RigbyAndFable said 7 years ago

    My dad always told me to never let anyone speak down to you. That being a girl didn't mean I had to take any nonsense from anyone, because I am his strong, independent daughter. My stepdad taught me to let things go. Say "who cares?" to things I can't change.

  • joliefemme

    Diana from joliefemme said 7 years ago

    Not advice but encouragement, You are a very smart person, I believe in you.

  • PhilippaLundberg

    Philly Lundberg said 7 years ago

    plan your work - the work the plan * he's been gone 13 years I would love to tell him he was right with so many things, I didn't see it at the time.

  • christinekirkland

    Christine Kirkland said 7 years ago

    He taught me to be curious, to question, to find out how and why things work. He taught me to be imaginative and creative and from him I got my love of science and languages. He taught me about spiritality in the broadest sense, not based on any particular religion. He taught me that while I might not suceed in everthing I tried, the fact that I tried was the important part. He taught me to take responsibility for what I said and did, to apologize if I hurt someone. He taught me to stand firm for what I believed in even if it wasn't popular or understood by others. He taught me that "Life is what you make it", and that I could do anything I really wanted," even if I was a girl," enlightened thinking for the fifties and sixties. He was not my father, or grandfather, uncle or relative. One of Life's huge lessons is that sometimes family is where you find it. On Fathers Day, thank you , Don, from the bottom of my heart for the life gifts you gave me.


    VINTAGE NOW from ESTATENOW said 7 years ago

    Happy Father's Day to All of my DAD'S...

  • NicolasKnitKnacks

    Nicola and Jessica Belton from CelticKnittingCo said 7 years ago

    Beautiful photographs, Happy Fathers Day to all Dads out there!

  • foxpots

    Carole Fox from foxpots said 7 years ago

    Happy Father's Day to all of the dads on Etsy!

  • Nemki

    Nemki from nemki said 7 years ago

    Happy Father's Day everyone! My dad taught me the importance of letting go. I used to be quite nervous and possessive of things I loved- for instance, my pets. He taught me to let my hamster run around in the lounge for exercise, and when she disappeared under the sofa I freaked out. He was calm and told me to wait, she'd return. She did, of course, there was nowhere for her to get lost. Together we saved baby voles, birds and insects. When I was scared of a spider he pretended it had a name and a personality. He showed me how wild animals knew more than we give them credit for, and to trust that everything would fall into place. Love you, dad!

  • scharding

    Stef said 7 years ago

    My dad passed away 13 years ago but still manages , somehow , to keep in touch with me... Like today, fathers day, looking through this post, I come across the print ' yoiu are my sunshine' and I know it's from him to me... He sang it to me on my ansaphone 20 odd years ago and I still have the recording ... Now here it is in print for me to frame and put up in my kitchen... I found the exact same one as in your post... Thank you sooooo much for being his channel to find me xxxx

  • scharding

    Stef said 7 years ago

    Thank you for being the channel for my dad to get through to me ...x

  • vintagemaison

    Carol Dent from Vintagemaison said 7 years ago

    My step-son just phoned his Dad although he lives in another country - we haven't seen him for 3 years. The other kids gave him a bottle of his favourite whiskey and lots of hugs.. I wish I could say Happy Father's Day to my Dad - he died 31 years ago and not a day goes by when I don't think of him. I'd love to hold him and listen to his voice.

  • SilverSandDollar

    Joanne from CherishedSentiments said 7 years ago

    What a great day to let the special father figure in your life know how really special he is and always will be! I hope all you Dads out there are having a wonderful day :-)

  • brokenasphalt

    Chris from brokenasphalt said 7 years ago

    Dad rules....forever!

  • pumpkiandmo

    Kathi from PumpkiAndMo said 7 years ago

    That is so wonderful! I think one can be really grateful and happy to have parents, both, mum and dad. I loved that post and it really made me feel a little sentimental about my own childhood. Thanks for sharing that great post!

  • MarieAnnette

    Marie from MarieAnnette said 7 years ago

    Well, now I'm all weepy. I miss my dad, and remember his advice to be proud of the job I've done, and there's no shame in the most menial of jobs.

  • glendalee

    glenda puhek from glendalee said 7 years ago

    The most memorable piece of advice my recently departed DAD gave me, was given after I completed my first day on my first full-time job. He listened while I poured out my heart about my new boss and my frustration with decisions that seemed totally crazy to me. My dad sighed and said: "The boss may not be right about things, but he IS the boss. Do your job and don't take it home with you." While I haven't always followed this sage nugget, I can still see my dad with his kind, easy expression…sitting behind the driver seat…taking us home.

  • holliewilson

    Hollie Wilson from TheTuftedFrog said 7 years ago

    Though can't think of any profound statements from my Poppy, I remember his example well. He taught me not to pay for things I could do for myself - he can fix anything, build anything! Whether plumbing, electrical, construction, mechanics, you name it, he could do it. And I think growing up with a poppy like that instilled in me a love for DIY and creativity in general. His example has served me well.

  • TinfenaStudio

    linda Tinfena from TinfenaStudio said 7 years ago

    My dad thought TV was poison and wouldn't allow one in the house, he told us to go outside and be active, do something productive, be creative, travel, make friends, expand your horizon, eat well but in moderation, take care of your health, go away can't you see I'm busy ! he was a very wise man xoxo

  • myword38

    angie blunk from the5thelementshop said 7 years ago

    Happy Fathers Day!!!

  • jamasters

    Jess Masters from RefinedRock said 7 years ago

    My Dad gave the best advice-am passing it along to my son!

  • xutian1

    ya mo from 2013color said 7 years ago

    Happy Father's Day to all of the dads on Etsy!

  • stephaniewoerfel

    Stephanie from UbarDesignJewelry said 7 years ago

    My dad was a nerd before it was fashionable.When we had pie for dessert he told us about the molecular properties of lard. We all knew that he was really saying he loved pie!....and he loved us unconditionally. He taught me to pursue my dreams. I miss him everyday since he passed.

  • Celticcatphotos

    Celtic Cat Photos Mary Catherine Campbell from Celticcatphotos said 7 years ago

    Wish my dad was here today!

  • GisellasDesigns

    Gisella from GisellasDesigns said 7 years ago

    I hear you Jeanne B from PruAtelier; My Dad thought us so many thing he is a Godly man and always try to follow God's laws but the thing that sticks with me to this days is to be very respectful to older people and always say MR. and Mrs, I'm 13 years married to my wonderful husband and still call my in-laws Mr and Mrs. I can't help it. My dad is going to be 90 years old in a couple weeks and I wish I could say Happy Fathers Day!! and Happy Birthday!! in person. Love you Dad!

  • lovelytrinketshop

    lovelytrinketshop said 7 years ago

    My Dad has been gone 40 years, I miss him. I remember walking with him, my hand in his. I love you Dad, happy father's day.

  • PennyBirchWilliams

    Penny Birch-Williams from PennyBirchWilliams said 7 years ago

    My dad has been gone for 16 years, and I miss him dearly. He was very intelligent and creative, and had varied interests and skills. He had several businesses (a gas station, a small newspaper, an advertising agency) and played drums and piano, and was a wonderful artist. I have copies of amazing caricatures he drew of his crewmates on the B-29 airplane he flew in during WWII, and wonderful characters he carved from wood. He was often too busy to spend much time with his four daughters, but he was very encouraging and proud of us. I don't recall specific words of advice...I know he wanted us to follow our dreams and develop our talents, and not be afraid to take a chance on ourselves. He always believed in being optimistic and hopeful even when things were difficult. "Anything is possible," was his motto. Miss you and love you, Dad!

  • SuprCases

    Supr Cases from SuprCases said 7 years ago

    What a lovely post!

  • basicblack

    basicblack from basicblack said 7 years ago

    1. Always shop for a car on the last day of the year. 2. Never go to a free event in the summer. 3. Always sand with the grain. 4. Never order fish if you're more than an hour away from the coast. 5. Always have a trade you can fall back on in hard times. 6. Never play cards with a guy called Doc.

  • Pysar

    Yuri Pysar from Pysar said 7 years ago

    love etsy for being so emotionally charged! thank you for a great post!

  • kathyjohnson3

    Kathy Johnson from kathyjohnson3 said 7 years ago

    Love all these posts!

  • StyleGraphicDesign

    Maria from StyleGraphicDesign said 7 years ago

    So sweet:)

  • cberez

    CB DESIGN'S from CBDesignsPR said 7 years ago

    I love and enjoy your post!!!!

  • NellywithWings

    Nelly V from NellywithWings said 7 years ago

    My dad did not say much, but he threw me many challenges so that I would know what I was capable of achieving. He also showed me how to trust God to help me achieve impossible things. He was right.

  • grapevineforge

    Jeremy from grapevineforge said 7 years ago

    I strive to pass along words of encouragement and wisdom to my boys. and I make a point to tell both of them that I love them at least one time every single day

  • dominna

    Katrina Dzerkale from Dominna said 7 years ago

    This made me tear up a bit.

  • aressa

    aressa from OriginalBridalHanger said 7 years ago

    Great post...Dads have a special place in the family...

  • catherinemaria

    Catherine Maria Charalambous from BouncyTree said 7 years ago

    Best advise, one I will never forget is "It costs you nothing to be nice to anyone, and for all you know, your smile could have made their day"

  • catherinemaria

    Catherine Maria Charalambous from BouncyTree said 7 years ago

    Best Advise. My favourite will always be: "It costs you nothing to be nice to anyone, for all you know, your smile could have made their day."

  • akvjewelry

    Amy Kanka Valadarsky from AKVjewelry said 7 years ago

    Best advice I got ' too much of something is never good'. Did not really understand the wisdom of this until I grew up. And yes, I agree, even too much of a good thing is eventually not good.

  • nativestrandsjewelry

    Rachel from PeppersJewelry said 7 years ago

    Great dad quotes!

  • jennyan51

    Jenny Saltzman said 7 years ago

    if you are going to do something, do it the BEST you can finish what you start,,,,,,,,,,,,love my daddy

  • emberair

    emberair from EmberandAir said 7 years ago

    Wonderful dad quotes! Brings back memories :)

  • DamsonTreePottery

    Marieanne Cavaciuti from damsontreepottery said 7 years ago

    "Don't cry over spilt milk" This has helped me so many times - especially with my own children when they were little and milk was spilt in the most awkward places and difficult times! This also applies in many situations when crying won't help !

  • ste81wood

    Steve Wood from VancouverIslandPhoto said 7 years ago

    Ace blog post! Duct tape IS a power tool, at least in my house! The best thing my dad ever said to me: "We're going to live in Cyprus for three years." :)

  • deeser0324

    deeser0324 said 7 years ago

    "Learn something new EVERYDAY" ..... and that is something I taught my children as well. Consequently, I have a very broad base for knowing a little about a lot! LOL Miss you Dad (an Mom too!)

  • littletimewasters

    A-M from littletimewasters said 7 years ago

    'Do as I say, not as I do.' I'll be using that one on my own kids!

  • MasabGadit

    C.K MOD from Craftscapedotcom said 7 years ago

    'Learn from your mistakes, as making a new mistake every time will make you a gem and repeating the same will smash your personality'

  • Runningpuma24

    Felicia Plunkett from Runningpuma24 said 7 years ago

    "can't never could" and "head down, rear up (said to me at least 15 times while picking green beans in the garden, something I still loathe) were my favorite sayings from my amazing Daddy!

  • simplynautical1

    simplynautical1 from SimplyNauticalStore said 7 years ago

    My father told me, " Anyone can make a dollar, only a wise man can save a dollar" I know that was his little way out of buying me something, lol. Love you dad!

  • korenkwan

    Koren Kwan from GarasuWonderland said 6 years ago

    interesting article!

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