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Published June 16 2012

Reflecting on Dad's advice on Father's Day

FARGO – Father’s Day today is a celebration not only of dad himself, but of the lessons and advice that his sons and daughters have learned from him over the years.

Like, how to do taxes, how to split wood or how to drive a manual transmission. Or, maybe how to deal with life’s many difficulties and just live life to the fullest.

Whatever the lesson, though, every day dads influence lives in more ways than one.

On Saturday, locals and visitors around Fargo chimed in with the best advice that they’ve ever received from their father, most of which ranged from simple to insightful to practical.

Simple and straightforward is how it was for Brandon Renwick, sitting in the West Acres Shopping Center, who summed up the most valuable and applicable thing he’s learned from his dad in one succinct sentence:

“Keep trying,” Renwick, of Grand Forks, said.

Also in the mall, Ashlie Dalen of Fargo immediately recalled a specific piece of advice that her dad told her that’s come in handy over the years.

“Make more money than you’ve spent,” Dalen said, laughing.

Dalen’s father provided some insight into dealing with relationships, too, which she said she’s found to be useful.

“Never go to bed angry,” she said. “Always fight it out.”

Downtown, Jeff Walkowski, visiting with friends from Minneapolis, said he valued his dad’s personal encouragement more than any specific piece of advice.

“He encouraged me to be myself, and that was it,” Walkowski said.

Gary and Val Jacobson of Hitterdal, Minn., out for a stroll along Broadway, both remembered the best advice from their respective dads as being short, but sensible.

“Be honest, and respect people,” Gary Jacobson said.

“Work hard but have lots of fun,” Val Jacobson added, smiling.

In some cases, though, a father’s most useful advice might also have been his most specific and practical, as it’s been for Katie Nelson of Moorhead.

“Every time I see him, my dad says not to let your car go below half a tank of gas,” Nelson, sitting outside at Island Park, said. “He says it’s bad for the filter.”

But dad’s advice isn’t always so straightforward or clear cut – rather, dads sometimes teach by example, with their actions and voices representing the lessons they’re trying to teach, like for Murill Halvorson of Fargo.

Halvorson remembered watching how his dad dealt with life’s difficulties towards the latter parts of his life and learning from that.

“He took the disappointments and hard knocks of life as part of living,” Halvorson said. “He accepted it.”

Similarly, Chris Ellefson of Barnesville, Minn., said watching her dad deal with challenges and overcome obstacles gave her a good example to follow in her own life.

“You need to make the most of what you have in life,” Ellefson said of what she gained from observing her dad, even though he may never have said so explicitly. “Life is short. You need to work with what God gave you.”


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Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535