Verbal Guard Rail: Thanks, Dad!

black and white photo of young man
My dad – silly and wise

My dad was no philosopher.  His exterior and public persona were die-hard business dude.  Crisp, tidy and in control defined his personality (oh – and an obsessive fondness for white shirts – learn about that here). 

Appearances aside, he had a very squishy marshmallow cream center and from that warm and caring core, he offered endless witticisms.  Some were altogether goofy and clearly made up – in the moment – by this man who was rarely at a loss for words.  I’m sure he “borrowed” from other great thinkers – never knowing exactly who he was quoting or the context.  Didn’t slow him down, not even a beat. 

The common denominator?  He was wired to help and encourage and on occasion, his advice came in the form of a verbal guard rail – a gentle warning that I might want to steer clear, move along – lest I’ll suffer the impact, the outcome, the collision.   His years of married life with mom surely helped him craft this gift.  Battle scars and strategy can do that.

None of these meaningful morsels are written down – anywhere.  If asked to recall and catalogue them – I just can’t.  They appear, oddly when I need them the most, and that too is a reminder to my often-wayward spiritual self to RECEIVE without overthinking.

Here’s an example.  As a kid, whenever I found myself noodling on issues outside my sphere of influence (daily dramas and annoyances – the things that are oh-so easy to crab about) he’d see the look on my face or hear the venomous tone and offer a low, monotone message, in a wonky, put-on Southern drawl:

Mm hmm…best to keep your eyes on your own paper, missy” and that was it.

Just like that!  He conveyed that he heard me (win #1) and offered advice to move on – quit the twisting and fussing (win #2). 

Eyes on my own paper, indeed.  Advice that still works, years later. If I embroidered, I’d consider putting that on a pillow.


Vicki ❤

9 responses to “Verbal Guard Rail: Thanks, Dad!”

  1. An Audience of One Avatar
    An Audience of One

    What wise words indeed! I love that – going to have to remember it. Keep your eyes on your own paper, Kendra! 😁 P. S. We were on the same page today! Dad wisdom. 🥰

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know! Isn’t that fun? We’ve done that a couple of times and I love it. Thanks, Kendra!❤

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Indeed! And I wonder if he was a “closet philosopher” after all, loving wisdom, and sharing it with the ones near and dear to him? Like And Audience of One said “Dad Wisdom”!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks so much EW – I think you’re right! Appreciate you reading and sharing that. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this! Thank goodness for people like your dad – and you for carrying it forward for the rest of us! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re the best — thank you, Wynne! 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There are all types of people in the world — big and small; young and old; optimists and pessimists — but the ones “wired to help and encourage” are some of the most special. They have tendency to put others first; have hearts of gold; and are wise beyond their years. Sounds like your dad was a special one. Thanks for sharing. Made my day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Brian, for reading and for commenting! Hope you have a terrific day. 😉😉😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. […] few months ago, I wrote about how deeply I benefitted from his pointed guidance in my growing up years, particularly when I was under stress.  Take a peek…it’s sweet and […]


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