Lessons from a dad on Father’s Day

 

In honor of Father’s Day, I’d like to share some of the ‘dadisms’ from my father, Pat Murphy, a lifelong journalist, writer, political commentator and one of the most interesting people I’ve ever known. Throughout my life he always sent me insightful letters and emails to encourage me, support my dreams and kick my butt when I started doubting myself.  When I decided to become a small independent business owner and professional writer, his words were the wind beneath my wings. I’ve included some of my favorites here  from letters and emails he sent me over the years.

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“Anxiety is nothing more than anticipating the worst that usually never happens, instead of concentrating on what IS happening.”

“Maybe the best way to describe this business of writing is that it’s a life of highs and lows, triumphs and disappointments. But almost never dull.”

……

“Our routines are bound to be interrupted by moments of stress, disappointment, contentiousness, setbacks, unfulfilled hopes and plans gone awry. That’s natural and predictable. But not a cause for any long term sense of failure, or permanent distress.”

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“Don’t let tough times eat away at you. Whatever they are, look them squarely in the eye and figure out what they are, why they’re there and how to get rid of them. Silly as it might seem, one way is to write them down on paper, which gives them shape and form you can look at. Then write down why you think they exist and ways you think you can overcome them.”

……

“When problems arise, don’t hesitate to deal with them, don’t let them obsess your life, if they recur, just accept it and go on with the best parts of life.”

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“No human quality is as powerful as the ability and the desire to communicate with others – without communication we’d be back to the Stone Age dragging our knuckles on the ground and grunting.”

……

“Maybe the best way to describe this business of writing is that it’s a life of highs and lows, triumphs and disappointments. But almost never dull.”

“Now and then, you’ll run into people who’ll try to reduce your worth – because they lack equivalent worth and can only elevate their self-esteem by belittling your skills. Ignore them.”

……

“All of us must leave a little something of ourselves behind if we’re to fulfill our role of making this planet just a little bit more livable. And I hope what I’ve stood for, and the courage I’ve been called on to show  when the public trust was threatened, are qualities you’ve inherited and which you admire. So, if in love and admiration I’ve imparted anything to you through what might have seemed to be turbulence and chaos in your lives, it’s this: That life is a fine experience, and every day’s uncertainties are things in which to rejoice because of the mysteries and the challenges they hold. That what may seem like  hardship and painful sacrifice really is the process by which character is built and experiences provide reward, giving you a far clearer view and appreciation of the time and space you’ve been given on this planet.”

“All of us must leave a little something of ourselves behind if we’re to fulfill our role of making this planet just a little bit more livable.” 

……

“As my Grandma Moey always said, when she talked of predestination, ‘what is to be will be, and usually for the better.’”

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“Now and then, you’ll run into people who’ll try to reduce your worth – because they lack equivalent worth and can only elevate their self-esteem by belittling your skills. Ignore them.”

……

“Be proud to promote yourself and your work. Authors necessarily need to exploit every opportunity to bring their work to public attention – and sell it. Never hide your candle under a bushel basket! (See Matthew 5:15).”

……

And the quotation that he absolutely lived by and taught me to honor as well:

“There is no end to the good a man can do if he doesn’t care who gets the credit.” – Judson B. Branch

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5 Responses

    • Patti says:

      Greg,
      Thanks so much! It’s always nice to get comments from folks who knew my dad. I really appreciate it.

      Best,
      Patti

  1. Patti says:

    Hi Dave,
    Thank you so much, I really appreciate your kind words. My dad was an amazing man, and it makes me proud to pass along his wisdom. Dads are special! Thanks for stopping by.

    Patti

  2. Dave says:

    Hey Patti,

    Beautiful post on so many levels. As a hack writer, I really appreciate your father’s advice. As a father, I can already see some of the gems I want to pass on to my daughter.

    Thanks!

    Dave

  1. June 15, 2014

    […] I leaf through the stacks of papers on top of his desk and find a recent photo of him looking robust, cheeky and happy. It’s the look of a man who is content to live in the mountains, to walk his two oafish Labrador retrievers along the river, and then come back to his den and write pithy and brilliant newspaper columns, just as he has done every day during his 60 years as a journalist. […]