PARENTS

39 Things We Can All Learn From Our Dads

06/02/2015 16:03 | Updated 20 May 2015

Father and sons

Out on a family walk the other day, I told my youngest son to 'pick your feet up', the middle boy to 'pull your shoulders back and stop slouching' and the stepdaughter to take her coat off in the cafe because 'you won't feel the benefit when we leave'.

"Give them a break," said their mum. "You sound like your dad."

And I'm actually quite proud of that fact.

When I was a teenager, my dad – in common with all fathers of teenage kids - was a bit of an embarrassment.

But over the years – and especially since I've become a father myself – I've learned that my dad was (and still is) a very wise man: a fellow with wisdom to impart; an example to follow; and behaviour to ape.

And here are 39 things I've learned from my own dad that I hope my children will learn from me...

1. How to use a drill.

2. How to patch up the plaster with Blu-tak when the use of the drill doesn't quite work out as it does on DIY shows.

3. How to find a plasterer who won't rip me off when the Blu-tak botch job doesn't work.

4. Saying: "When I was a lad, you could get a new suit, two tickets to the pictures and a night on the town for what you ask for in pocket money."

5. Money DOESN'T grow on trees. Fact!

6. Books are more interesting than anything on telly.

7. Dipping a comb in a cup of tea is cheaper than using hair gel (OK, I don't do that - yet - but I'm weighing up the pros and cons of the kids moaning about smelling of sour milk when they come home from school).

8. Opening all the windows in the morning is good for kids (especially for shifting that smell of 'stale boy').

9. You can never have enough Big Soups in the cupboard: you never know when WWIII will break out.

10. Never say 'if only...' (as in: 'If only I'd remembered to buy a lottery ticket last weekend because my numbers came up').

11. Invest in a pension (even if the banking crisis means they're now worth jack shit, saving for a rainy day is one of the best things you'll ever do).

12. Treating 'em mean doesn't keep 'em keen. Just be nice to women: most of them really like it.

13. How to tie a tie (one day they'll l come back in fashion.– look at beards).

14. How to polish shoes until you can see your face in them (more satisfying than a mirror).

15. How to tuck-in corners of bedsheets so that only a crowbar will budge them (it stops the kids going walkabout in the night).

16. Always put the toilet seat down (the key to marital bliss).

17. Pee into the bowl. (Ditto above)

18. Shaving with a cut-throat razor (there are few thrills like it, just keep the toilet roll handy).

19. How to play chess (ammunition with which to destroy your own sons when they beat you on the Xbox).

20. Ironing your own shirts says more about your thoughtfulness to your partner than buying her a Valentine's card once a year.

21. As does re-filling the toilet rolls and cleaning the toilet.

22. But you'll get no Brownie points for taking the bins out. That's just your job.

23. Don't buy your partner what she NEEDS for her birthday, but what she wants (or might want).

24. On which note, the effort and imagination is more important than the gift. OK, not quite, but she'll appreciate it.

25. Every day is Mother's Day. Especially Mother's Day.

26. Better out than in (except in a lift or if you're after some Friday night under-duvet action).

27. Give it a minute (more like an hour).

28. Be nice to shop assistants, waiters and bar staff and you'll (nearly) always get good service.

29. Cleaners are just as important as doctors (athough not when your leg's hanging off, unless you just want the blood mopped up)

30. Leftovers - aka food fussy kids wouldn't eat – make great breakfasts, lunches or dinners the next day. Or all three. Even liver, kidneys and cabbage can be turned into gastronomic gold.

31. There really is no such thing as a free lunch. Everybody wants something from you.

32. Always look a driver straight in the eyes before you cross the road at a zebra crossing so he/she knows you're there. Most of them are oblivious away-with-the-fairies idiots.

33. Cyclists are just motorists on bikes. Most of them are oblivious idiots who think they own the road.

34. There is always someone bigger and tougher than you. And you will meet them one day if you don't keep your mouth shut.

35. Bullies are children whose parents don't know how to love them properly.

36. Never stick a cotton bud in your ear canal (I wish I'd listened, I say, I WISH I'D LISTENED).

37. Work ethic: Nothing is more important than putting bread on the table.

38. You get what you're given.

39. Marry someone who's out of your league (he did, and so did I).

What advice would you give your children?

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