Daddy Lesson’s #3-Finances

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“Always keep some money on you.”

– Richard L. Bush (1948-1998)

 

The running theme that I tell people is that I’m the daughter of a hustler. I really, truly am. My father didn’t like the word ‘No’, and believed in making sure certain things were in place so other things could happen. One of those things that he taught me was to make sure I could take care of myself. The best way he thought I could do that, was to make sure that I always had some money on me.

My father made sure my sister and I got used to carrying, purses and a wallet. He would tell us that we  should keep money on us in case we go somewhere. He wanted us have some sense of financial responsibility even then. I mean, when I was in fifth grade, when I started carrying a purse WITH money in it! I mean, it was my Dad that taught me how cool having a bank account was! He taught me and my sister how to use and ATM!

Daddy taught me how to hustle, and be okay with (as a woman) to have my own money. Even though he didn’t teach us how to save (that came later for me after he died), but it make me see money as a tool. It was this strange dichotomy:  money is  tool to be used, but not to be saved.  But there was a power in that as a little girl. I had the power to realize that I can do what I wanted to do–if I had the money to do so.

From that, I was never afraid to work for what I wanted. Ever. The dream is free, and the hustle is real…and it needs to be funded. Until the Lord sends more help, or you win the LOTTO? Hustle. It won’t kill you. I promise it won’t.

 

 

Daddy Lessons #2- Dating

 

“If a man likes you just a little bit, you’ll be amazed what he’ll do for you.”

-Richard L. Bush (1948-1998)

 

This is the simplest, boldest piece of advice I have every gotten in regards to dating and dealing with men to date. My father had the habit of telling me this type of advice on a regular basis even when I was still considering boys as gross. However, the truth of this statement? Unparalleled. Armed with this secret confidence, I began to be a constant observer of male behavior.

I began to watch how he and my mother interacted. I began to watch how he treated her, and how she responded in kind. I watched how he did things for her, just because he wanted to. Or because they needed to be done! He got her flowers because he wanted her to have them! Not  because he had done something wrong.

My father loved my mother. Completely. It wasn’t until he died, and I really began dating, that I saw how completely he loved her. That kind of love, I know now, is rare. And worked for. The cooler thing is he liked my mother, as well as loved her. They still went out and did things together. They made time to talk and laugh and be a couple–independent of the three of us.

I took their marriage, their relationship, as a roux–the bare minimum that I would accept as a partner. I expected to be treated well. I expected to be listened to and respected. I expected to be valued. When I ran across a young man that couldn’t or wouldn’t? I ended the relationship.

Now, have I always gotten that formula right? Nope, not at all. I chased me that I thought like me, and it came to naught. I stayed in crazy situations longer than I should, because I gave people time to change. Hell, I stayed with my ex-husband waaaaay longer than I should have because I knew (or thought) if I was a little more patient he would change. This has been my Achilles heel:  I love too hard. I give too much. And I sometimes am way too patient in anticipating a human being change. But perhaps that is the maturity in my father’s statement; I waited to see if like would surface, resurface, or how often it would surface.

On the other hand, I have been on the reciprocating end of affections of young men that I, too, was crazy about. This young men that decided to call me just to tell me ‘Good Morning.’  Who opened doors for me. That got me the flowers. Gave me money to ‘just have’. Even two of them decided they could not live without me and decided to make me a wife.

This quote gave me the awareness of what being treated well is. This portion of wisdom allowed me call crazy what it is. It allowed me to know when relationships should begin or end. It allowed me become cognizant of my time. To value my body. My skills. My talents. It allowed me to recognize what I bring to any situation. It allowed and allows me to know if those attributes are not appreciated, I don’t have to ask for permission to leave. I can just go.

The best thing my Daddy ever gave me was a sense of self. From that sense, he gave his oldest daughter to knowledge that I was special. If any man didn’t see me as that, or able to love me past the pretty, I didn’t need him.

 

Daddy Lessons #1-Being Unstoppable

“If they won’t let you in the front door, go around to the back. If they won’t let you in the back, buss a window and jump in!”

-Richard L. Bush (1948-1998)

 

My Dad was one of the most driven men I have ever known. Perhaps in the nature of the Almighty, this was the best thing God could have given me:  a driven father. In that drive, I learned to make space; not to believe that “No” is permanent; and there is a way to do anything you want to do.

With this year marking twenty years without him, I have now had the wisdom which comes through life experience to allow me to value all he left me. That stubborn streak, that ability to be both present and visionary, I can say I got from him.

This quote is one I use and relay most often to people in my inner circle as encouragement. This quote has always been a source of comfort for me since his passing. It reminds me not to let situations, circumstances, -isms, or criteria set by other people to stop me. My father, even within the seventeen years I had him, made sure I knew the value of being resourceful. He made sure I knew how to treat people, and especially how to treat the people you employ.

Perhaps, even living in a time where the trappings of womanhood are seen as hindrances, my father reminded me that my sex is never going to change–but there was a power to it that was undeniable. He wanted me (and my sister) to be pretty and intelligent:  this way, no door could be shut to us. The most powerful thing this quote embodies is the willingness to work for what you want.  As a young girl, as a young Black girl, that reminder that I would have to work for what I want–but, that I could have what I wanted? That is powerful.

For my father, to tell me, that I can do anything and let no one stop me? That endowed me with a  superpower.

I think it is most amusing that for a man whom thought I shouldn’t be a writer as a consistent, stable profession, words are his biggest legacy to me. From those words, his words, the world  got that much bigger.

Thanks, Daddy.