Life Lessons From A 90-Year-Old


(By Rick Fink) My dad, we called him “Pa”, would have turned 90 on Tuesday, April 23. He didn’t make it to 90, he only made it to 65. I titled this the way I did because the life lessons he taught in the 37 years we were together are ones I still try to live by today.

Here are a few of his favorite sayings:

“Can’t never could do anything.” 

Lesson: He was telling me that if I think I can’t, I won’t, and if I think I can, I will.

“Don’t do as I do; do as I say.”

Lesson: This lesson was twofold. He knew he had many flaws and didn’t want me to make the same mistakes. He also knew what was right, and told me.

“If you can’t outthink ’em, outwork ’em.” 

Lesson: My dad, like many farm kids of the 30s and 40s, had to drop out of school in the 6th grade to help his dad on the farm. While he wasn’t “school” smart, he was very “life” smart, and I’ve only known a few people who worked as hard as he and no one who worked harder!

“Nothing good ever happens after midnight.”

Lesson: He certainly knew this. See above: “Don’t do as I do, do as I say.” If/when I didn’t obey, I heard this quote and there was always a price to pay.

“He must be talking out of his *** because his mouth should know better.”

Lesson: He judged people by their level of integrity. If they were “talkers” he didn’t have much time for them.

“Even if the truth was more interesting, he would still tell a lie.”

Lessons: My dad was a no-nonsense guy. If people lied or exaggerated, he called them on it. If we told a lie, we got the soap.

“Leave your community a better place than how you found it”. 

Lesson: The town, community, and organizations he belonged to were definitely better off because of him. Service to his community was a high priority and he instilled that into my siblings and me.

“I’m gonna die with my boots on.”

Lesson: (He did, doing chores one last time.) There are certain things he did that I didn’t want to follow. I’ve never smoked a cigarette, I consume much less alcohol than him, and while I work(ed) pretty hard, I never got to his level.

When my dad first made these statements and then when he repeated them, and he did repeat them often, I didn’t truly grasp that I was in a “learning” setting, but I believe he knew I was. I never got the chance to thank him, but now that I know, I thank him every night.

In all those years he never taught me anything about advertising or marketing, but he taught me what to believe. He taught me to listen and learn, he taught me right from wrong, he taught me the value of hard work, and he taught me that honesty always pays! On second thought… maybe he did teach me a lot about advertising and marketing!

Love You and Miss You, Pa!

Never Stop LEARNING – Get BETTER Every Day, even if you’re learning from a 90-year-old who is no longer with you!

Rick Fink from ENS Media can be reached at 605-310-2062 or at [email protected]. Read Rick’s Radio Ink archives here.


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