My father was born in 1911. It boggles my mind when I think of all that came after that: a woman’s right to vote, the 1st and 2nd world wars, the Great Depression, followed by the unprecedented economic success of the post war period, the civil rights movement, the Hippie decade, the feminist movement, etc. etc. etc. until he died in 1989.
While Daddy’s advice was not universal and some of it was most definitely dated, considering all the cultural changes that followed his formative years; much of it was timeless. I especially remember him quoting his father, “everybody’s business is nobody’s business”. I have always cherished those words as my grandfather’s own, loving how full of pith and wisdom they were. Before writing this, I decided to Google it; I found the sentence is attributed to Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross. Sigh!
One of my father’s own was, “people judge others by themselves”. While very young, I used this advice to judge if I should trust other people; I was suspicious of those who accused me or suspected me of a deed I knew I was not capable of, thinking they must have known they would have done it.
He gave me sage advice concerning males I could trust and those I should not. According to him, if a man continued to come on to me after I’d said no several times, then he did not really care for me or he would feel hurt that I had rejected him. One of my father’s cautions that I ignored at the time was the attention one should pay to the reputation of a person’s family. I was sure an individual should be judged by his own actions and not that of his family. Decades of living have shown me since that weakness in character, and especially psychopathic tendencies can certainly be and often are inherited.
My father constantly warned me to have, “a broad mind” and not limit my thinking to the provincial narrow-minded world view of most of my contemporaries in the area where we lived at the time. That caution of keeping, “a broad mind” led me to think far beyond my Dad’s concept of what that meant. I used his advice to leave behind his racist mindset, an attitude he learned from his southern family. Without the intention, he implanted in me a wish to be free of all prejudice and bigotry, a need to travel far and wide, and to stretch my understanding to include other cultures, religions, and beliefs.
In remembering all his advice, I find I cherish most his sincere desire to guide me so carefully.