Lesson 22: learning from Dad


More than just a Daddy’s Girl, I am my father incarnated in female form. We are identical in so many ways it’s actually quite weird. Our eyes, mouth, nose, ears, legs (cheers Dad) and feet all look exactly the same. And more than that, we often think the same. We’re moved by the same things. We’re not afraid to say how we feel and we like to think we’re pretty in-tune with our emotions. We’re over-thinkers and people watchers, happiest either staring out to sea and pondering life or dancing to loud music with an endless supply of beer.

I have learnt more from my dad than I could ever say. Not only did he perform the miracle of ensuring I got an A in GCSE maths, he’s had me believing I can achieve the unthinkable ever since. Almost 10 years on, I might have forgotten Pythagoras’ Theorem, but I’ll never forget the importance of working hard to get what you want. My dad’s ambition, work ethic and motivation are qualities I feel incredibly lucky to have witnessed firsthand. They are the reason my sister and I went to good universities and followed our dreams of living and working in London. They paid for family holidays to beautiful places. They ensured we all lived in a spacious house in a nice area. They provided security, health and opportunity. The very foundation of my life has been outlined by my dad’s hard work, which is pretty amazing when you think about it.

My dad is really good at giving advice, but, like most of us, he doesn’t always practise what he preaches. When he dropped me off at my halls in Exeter for the first time, he handed me a note that told me to work as hard as I could whilst having as much fun as possible. My whole life still revolves around this rule, but I’m not convinced that my dad, or many people of his generation do the same. And there is absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t. If I’m not still dancing until sunrise on my 50th birthday, then something has gone horribly wrong. If anything, once you reach your 50s and 60s and your children are able to support themselves, you have more of a right to have a good time than the average teenager. You’ve brought up happy, ambitious children who love and respect you. Surely the rest of your life should be one big celebration?


Father’s Day seems like the perfect time to document some of the most valuable lessons my dad has taught me, whilst hopefully reminding him and others to take his wonderful words of wisdom on board.

  1. Do things today, not tomorrow. It’s easy to push back the things you want to do. Life gets in the way far too often. Some things we can control and some we can’t. It’s so important to be impulsive no matter what, making the most of the opportunities in front of you and continuing to dream big through the hard times. My dad taught me the value of having a life plan, and together we’ve learnt that plans are often only made to be broken. Expect the unexpected and learn from the surprises life can bring. Change is terrifying, but it forces us to grow in ways we didn’t realise we could.
  1. You can’t please everyone. And you should never aim to. You can only spread yourself so far. Trying to fit into different moulds of expectation will only leave you wondering who you really are and what you really want. Save your loyalty and energy for the people who really appreciate and deserve it, because otherwise you’re in danger of being all used up by the time the ones you love need you.
  1. You are never too old to do fun, crazy, ridiculous things. At the end of term at university, my dad would drive all the way down to Exeter to collect me. On a few occasions, I took him for a night out. Like a proper night out. I took my dad to Timepiece. And we didn’t just go upstairs, we went upstairs-upstairs. Only Exeter goers will understand the significance of this. But just imagine my dad discovering that Jager bombs are only £1 after he just withdrew £100 at the cash point. He stayed up drinking cans of cider with my friends while I passed out. I find this weirdly inspiring. My dad is cool. My dad rides a motorbike. As he gets older, I want my dad to embrace this fun, carefree side of him more than ever. And I hope reading this inspires you to do the same.

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