Writing

Everything I Needed To Know About Life, I Learned From My Father

  • August 15, 2013

Thomas Slatin & Harvey Slatin - 1980

In Loving Memory Of My Father, Harvey L. Slatin.
August 17, 1915 – February 23, 2013 (Age 97)

My father taught me everything he knew about life.  And while I cannot possibly cover everything, I took notes about what we considered to be most important.  But as for the important things, everything I needed to know about life, I learned from my father.

Sometimes people aren’t who they appear to be.  Sometimes in life, people will create a false image of who they want others to see them as.  Sales people are a perfect example of someone who can be whomever you wish them to be, if nothing more than to close a sale.  In life, there will be people whom we will misplace trust in, as well as people who will betray us or let us down.  My father always used to joke that friends may come and go, but enemies tend to accumulate.

Never work at any job you wouldn’t do if you were not paid to do it.  In other words, if you hate your job, you should quit it immediately.  Only take a job if you would be willing to work that position as a volunteer without pay.  Be happy with your work, and it will no longer seem like work at all.  Above all else, never become a slave to money, and never trade your time for money.

Don’t waste money on frivolous things.  My father was a child during the Great Depression, and as such, he was very skilled at conserving money, resources, and material objects.  He would often take apart old appliances and keep the screws, nuts, bolts, and any other salvageable parts that would fit other household appliances that were still in use in our home.  This way, instead of junking a broken appliance, or paying for parts or service, he could attempt a repair himself at no expense.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy.  Sometimes you will have what others envy; other times, you will envy what others have.  This behavior is wasteful and useless and serves nothing other than wasting ones precious time and energy.

It is okay not to know something; always stay curious as ones education is never complete.
My father used to take me to the Schenectady County Library on a weekly basis and tell me to go and explore, while he researched his own scientific topics.  He encouraged me to learn as much as possible about the topics that I was interested in.  My father also made it clear to me that it was okay to ask questions, and it was better to ask a question about something than not to know about it at all.  But above all else, in life, ones education never ever ends.  Even with a PhD, my father still continued to study and learn all that he could about a variety of topics and disciplines.

Every decision you make now will affect the rest of your life.
No matter what decision a person makes, the outcome will forever affect the rest of their life.  Even the small decisions we make in life have the potential to manifest into larger, different outcomes later in life.

When an opportunity presents itself, take it.  You may never have the same opportunity again.
My father lived larger-than-life.  If there was ever an opportunity to do, or experience something, he would pursue it if he felt that in doing so he would gain some sort of valuable knowledge or experience that would benefit him some day, later on in life.

Greed is unnecessary and useless; one must never take or have more than one needs.
One of the greatest problems my father faced during his life was dealing with the greed of others.  His greatest teaching was to only acquire what I needed in life, and nothing more, and in doing so, everyone around me would be better off as well.  Too often in our society, we glorify greed, especially in terms of money, and ownership of property and valuable possessions.

There are many other life lessons that my father taught me, but perhaps the greatest of all was to keep notes about anything that mattered to me.  Perhaps he knew that someday I might become a professional writer.  I just wish that he was still here to see how successful I have become as a writer.

Other Life Lessons Blog Posts Worth Noting:
26 Life Lessons Learned By Age 26 | 42 Lessons Life Taught Me | Why You Should Hold Out On Sex…  And Other Life Lessons From 2012

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