10 Life Lessons I've Learned From My Dad, vintage backpacking

10 Life Lessons I’ve Learned From My Dad

10 Life Lessons I've Learned From My Dad, vintage backpacking

Today’s my dad’s birthday, in honor of which, I’ve made a list of 10 Life Lessons I’ve Learned From My Dad.

And really, the list could be titled 10 Life Lessons Anyone Could Learn From My Dad. I’ve left off ones that are snarky, but true, such as How To Be Sarcastic or How To Make My Mother Crazy.

Here they are! Enjoy!

10 Life Lessons I’ve Learned From My Dad

1. Rise early.

Daddy’s always been an early riser.  He gets a jump on the day and seems to have accomplished more by 8am than most of us do by noon.

2. Read your Bible every day.

You can find Daddy in the morning reading his Bible. You might take this for granted because my father is a pastor, but I’ve served under many church leaders who neglect this practice.  As I get older, I am amazed to discover that I need the time in my Bible more and not less.  Perhaps it’s my memory failing me, but I am usually hanging on specifically to what I have read today.

3. Exercise.

Almost every day, Daddy goes for a run.  Many years on his birthday, he goes to his high school alma mater and runs a lap for every year that the Lord has given him.  Most days he runs around his neighborhood, listening to music.

4. Work hard.

Recently, my brother had a pile of rocks delivered to his house that he was using to landscape his backyard.  Because the rocks had been dumped in the front of the house, they all had to be moved.  My dad came down and moved all the rocks while my brother placed them where they needed to go.  My brother said he would still be there working if Dad hadn’t come along to help.  Daddy is a machine when it comes to this sort of work.  He doesn’t shy away from the hard things.

5. Make time for the things that feed your soul. (Play hard.)

There has always been time for getting away, no matter how busy life gets.  Daddy is unapologetic about making time for camping, hiking, climbing and building something new.  These are the activities that breathe life into him and keep him from burning out, so he almost always manages to fit them into his schedule.

6. Get outside.

It’s hard to choose, but a great love for sleeping under the stars might be the most precious gift I have from my father.  Both of us are wide-eyed in the mountains and before waterfalls, we never get tired of seeing the world God has made with childlike eyes.

7. Hold tightly to neither praise nor criticism.

In other words, try not to care what others think.  When he receives an email or phone call, whether it is a compliment or a complaint, Daddy says he takes it, tries to learn from it and then dismisses it.  Of course, this is easier said than done, but it’s hard to move forward in life if you are constantly weighed down by others’ opinions.

8. Stay faithful to your first love.

I’ve talked about this before, but my parents’ marriage has been a strong foundation for our family.  Things have not always been rosy and perfect, but they have both persevered to make it work.  I truly believe my dad loves my mother today as much or more than he has ever loved her.

9. Have love at the ready. (Be merciful.)

Maybe it’s because he’s always been a bit of a rough character himself, but Daddy has this uncanny ability to show love without hesitation to someone who has found themselves in a dark place.  It was not until I myself reached a place in life that I needed to be on the receiving end of such love that I truly appreciated his merciful heart.  It was a game changer for our relationship.  And for my relationship with God, as I grew to see Him as the kind and merciful Father that He is.

10. Hang on to Jesus.

Daddy found Jesus when he was 19 years old, and he’s never looked back.  When he gathers us up and prays over us in Jesus’ name, his sincerity makes my heart hurt in a good way.  Come what may, Jesus loves us.  And nothing else matters.  Those aren’t just words to Daddy.  They are the rocks on which he has built his life and our family.  And they stand firm.

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Tell me, what are the life lessons you’ve learned from your parents?  Are they similar?  I would love to hear.






  1. My father also taught me the stay true to your first love lesson. And he also taught me to think for myself, and that he believed that I was smart, wise, and kind enough to make good decisions, even if they were different from his. I really hope I pass all of these things on to my kids as well. PS- M.P. looks just like you!!

    1. Love it! I am trying to tell my kids that right now. They are sooo on their own in figuring things out at school in a new place, but I know they can do it!

  2. That’s great! I hope my children can say “Great Lesson learned from Mom” when I am as old as your Dad! Ha! Just kidding. He and your mom can run circles around me.!
    One thing my dad taught me was to love and respect my mom well! Now that my Dad is gone, I so appreciate that!

    1. I know your girls have loads of lessons they’ve learned from you! It would be fun to hear. 🙂

  3. So sweet. Made me cry. He has taught many times to get on my knees rather than despair.

    1. Amen to that! I’m remembering that lesson every day in a new place!

  4. Dad taught me to laugh. He laughed in good times and hard times. He also taught me everyone should know how to get where they are going, so he made sure his girls could read a map. One other thing was to be there for others. Even when he was sick from chemo, tired, and really just felt like junk, he would still go sit at the hospital with families waiting on their loved ones having surgery. He was just there for people, dependable. I hope I will leave a legacy as he did.

    1. What a wonderful legacy, Shana! I love reading this, thanks so much for sharing!

  5. My Dad and Stepdad taught me too many lessons to list, and many duplicate your list. I’d like to add an incredible thing to about your Dad. Craig gets emotional about some things, and he’s not afraid to show it. I’ve seen him cry about happy and sad things without one bit of shame. He’s a REAL man, I appreciate his messages and humbleness. He has reared some great kids too,

    1. So true Judy! He makes me cry when he gets emotional, but I cry all the time anyway! Those moments are treasures for sure!

  6. My Dad also taught me to stay true to your first love. He taught me unconditional love. I have learned many lessons from your Dad, as well as your Mom. Your family is a blessing and an inspiration to me!

    1. It’s amazing how much it means to us when our fathers love our mothers. I love hearing that it’s true for you too!

  7. So grateful for your kind words and for the joy of being your dad. Here’s a weird thought. In the picture you used, I am younger then than you are now. I love you.

    1. That’s crazy!!! Love you too Daddy!! XOXO

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