Dad’s Wisdom on the Basics of Living

“It is a wise father that knows his own child.”

—William Shakespeare

Today’s story is from Katie McDevitt.

College graduation. Celebration for most. Bittersweet for me.

Dad's wisdom

Mom (Ellen), Brother (Ryan), Katie & Dad (Jim)

The man who got me there wasn’t there. He died a year ago. Kidney failure. At 45. Too young. Not fair.

Graduating without Dad didn’t feel right. Actually, it wasn’t right. My father knew it was coming. We had time to talk. Not enough time to catch all of dad’s wisdom, of course.

So he left me a letter. It was two years before I could read it for the first time. The letter was not just about love or how much he cared. I knew. He knew I knew.

It was about how to lead a happier life. Four nuggets of dad’s wisdom. Not esoteric stuff. Dad was not that kind of guy. It was common sense guideposts for living more right. Dad would be honored to know his wisdom might help you in some way.   

Excerpts from Dad’s letter to me:

“…an education is worth the time, effort, and cost.”

On my graduation day, I was officially “with education,” but without him. But Dad made me smarter than that. I knew there was still much to know.

“If you are reading this letter, Katie, then it means I won’t get to walk you down the aisle on your wedding day. Remember, money does not make a marriage, the heart does.”

Dad was a successful businessman, but he understood happiness. If only he could see the love I share with my husband today.

“Frugality dictates that a car does not necessarily have to be new off the showroom floor.”

Dad believed it was important to prepare my brother and me for common day-to-day decisions, “simple” stuff like buying a car. What he said is so true. You lose thousands the moment you pull off the lot. Silly thing to do.

“Your house payment sets your nut, and therefore defines who you are for the rest of your life. Please start out small and, as your lot in life improves, so can your address.”

Dad always counseled that fixed long-term obligations cause stress and ruin lives. He believed we are happier when we live below our means.

At the end of the letter Dad summed it all up. His take on what life was really about? Quite simply…

“having a family and a dog as good as Keeley!”

Jim Reid. My dad. A very special guy.

dad's wisdom about dogs

Katie, Mom & Keeley

dad's wisdom

Newlyweds, Katie & Mookie McDevitt

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