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How are you like/not like your father?
Old 06-17-2012, 10:58 AM   #1
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How are you like/not like your father?

I was reading a thread on another website and someone posted this question and I thought I might see how people on this site responded to a similar question.

My father is still alive (Happy Father's day DAD!) and is 85, and I am 52. As I get older I see lots of similarities but also lots of differences between us. So the question is how are you like your father and how are you NOT like your father?

For me--I look like him, although he has more hair than me! Damn it I think our approach to life is very different as he was a laborer for the railroad and I have several advanced degrees. So our lives have been very different, yet some traits have shone through all of that. I find that fascinating that no matter the circumstances some things just persevere.

Personality wise we are very similar, he and I share the same sense of humor and wit. He is an inquisitive guy, and though he dropped out of high school to work, he then went back and got his GED, and was always supportive of my educational endeavors. Like him I am very supportive of my daughter and her educational asperations, and we (my father and I) see education as the key to a successful future. I often wonder how he would have done given the opportunity to go to college?

In my child I see 'me' and 'him' as well. Mainly in wit, humor and approach to life. She is just as inquisitive as her grandfather, and is an ace student. She wrote her grandfather a thank you note last year after finishing her spanish class (he is Spanish) and he loved it. I am quite sure when we see him here in a month he will try and talk to her in spanish (he gave up trying that with me as I can only speak a few words). All of us are perfectionist wannabe's--in the sense we strive for that, but all three of us also recognize it will never be perfect and to enjoy the imperfections along the way.

I am different from my father in that I am much more involved in my daughters life then he was in mine. Part of that is the fact that I am the middle child of several children so there were lots of kids to split your attention among. Whereas I have one child, and can afford both financially and time wise the time with her.

He was a laborer who never had money and money/food was always tight growing up, and money isn't an issue in my life.

He only recently has been able to express how he feels about me (something about getting older I think!), whereas I am much more freely able to let my daughter know I love her.

I think certain traits pass through the generations and was just curious in your families what they might be. So Dad, again happy father's day and thanks for all you did for us kids!

So how are you similar/dissimilar to your father, and if you have children, do you see those traits in them as well?

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Old 06-17-2012, 11:19 AM   #2
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My Dad taught me about hard work, investing, and smart spending (be frugal with the everyday and don't skimp on the exceptional, like good jewelry or art or the once-in-a-lifetime travel experience). Due to his difficult childhood during the depression and being the oldest child in a dysfunctional family, he also was very dedicated to being home nearly every night for dinner and that we would sit and talk about important things as a family (I didn't know until relatively recently why he insisted on that.)

Both of our kids also have similar financial outlooks, so I guess we've passed it along.

Dad died 6 years ago at 79 and I think about something I learned from him nearly every day.

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Old 06-17-2012, 11:55 AM   #3
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What my father taught me?

Not to follow in his footsteps.
Not to put my own needs/desires above my family.
Not to use his wife's income to meet his needs (be it airplanes, boats, cars, businesses, girlfriends/whores, and any such things), along with using his childern (as chattel) to work in his various businesses long hours at no pay to help him achieve his dreams (and damned their own).

I'm a better man, husband, and (hopefully) father than he professed, or could ever be.

Yes, he's been gone many years, but the hate of his actions are still there...

Heck, I'm not seeking any sympathy, but asked the question. Not all life stories are made up of goodness and honey...
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Old 06-17-2012, 12:36 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by rescueme View Post
Heck, I'm not seeking any sympathy, but asked the question. Not all life stories are made up of goodness and honey...
Totally agree with you. My father is a recovering alcoholic, hasn't drank though in 35 years thankfully, but he had his moments too. However he straightened his life out finally and I am proud of him for that. I like a drink now and again (hence my beermaking) but alcohol isn't a draw for me like it was for him. No family is perfect, even the one I am in now. I was more interested in the things/traits you do have in common. In your case it might be none.

btw--I am glad you were able to create your own life and the life you wanted in spite of the father you had. That speaks volumes about you! Good luck!
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Old 06-17-2012, 12:58 PM   #5
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Similar: We have the exact same temperament, and I'm positive I picked it up from him because I didn't start out the same way but I quickly developed that way. Calm, relaxed, and generally happy with life.

Dis-similar: I definitely picked up some traits that show up in males on my mother's side of the family (pretty much all of them). Very educated, and fairly ambitious about hitting my goals. I'm much more frugal, and I'm good at good at shopping (my mother never lets him do big shopping trips). I am the only person in my entire extended family who is left-brained, so most of my career/school moves were without help.
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Old 06-17-2012, 07:16 PM   #6
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I have my dad's sarcasm, double chin, and get irritated when I am late...or others make me be late. He has never been patient with that.

My dad is 83 and still going strong. i WISH i had his work ethic, but i cannot work outside in Arkansas temps like he can. He is amazing like that.
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Old 06-17-2012, 07:29 PM   #7
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Try as I may over the years, I never will be the father my dad was. He was the most easy going guy and the most even tempered man I ever knew. As the saying goes, in the dictionary under great fathers, there is a picture of my dad. I was lucky to have him around for 90 years. On his last day, as my sister and brother and I were up to visit him, he died in his room while we were out for a short time. My sister said, that's just like dad, never wanted to be a bother to anyone. He wouldn't have wanted to die in our arms, so he waited until we were out. I miss you dad.
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Old 06-17-2012, 08:00 PM   #8
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Genetically I got Mom's hair color, but everything else is Dad. I even have his voice and his laugh and his speech patterns, which really messes up my spouse's head.

Dad's an electrical engineer, but he spent most of his career selling nuclear plants to utility companies. I still remember "opening day" at his new office building in Pittsburgh. I think he started there in 1966 or '67 so I was only six years old. Since it was the Westinghouse Electric building, the electric meter was in the lobby: a foot-high flashing digital display that kept incrementing the kilowatt-hours. (I still remember being fascinated that it could count so quickly.) Dad showed us a gigantic wall display of how a nuclear reactor is put together and handed out samples of (simulated) fuel pellets. He was a great source for cool books and school science projects. If he had to go into the office on a weekend or a holiday for a few hours, we'd clamor to come along and play with his office toys. Even as a teen I was spending weekends & summers there for Westinghouse-sponsored science or tech programs.

Once I got to USNA I gravitated toward nuclear power pretty much by instinct. It was familiar & comfortable-- and easier than almost anything else about the place. (Of course the subject matter got a little tougher after graduation.) A few years later when Dad toured my first submarine, he had the same kid-in-a-candy-factory reaction that I'd had to his office building.

This 2002 photo was taken after his father's funeral service. I had just started terminal leave before my retirement, and we joked that it was the last time either of us would wear a coat & tie. So far so good.
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:21 PM   #9
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Like most people I reflect both my father and my mother. My face is so much like his that when he still had many friends above the ground, they knew me on sight, even if we had never met. We each have many weaknesses, but few in common. His great strength is absolutely indomitable willpower. I don't know if I got mine from him by birth, or by seeing him respond so well to adversity as his life went on, but I consider this his big gift to me. He started out with plenty faults and bad habits, but by the time he was old he had pretty much vanquished them all. He and many other men of his generation drank more than they should have. Once when already well into middle age he scared himself, and that was the end of his drinking. Just boom, it was over. I drank more than I should have in college, I told myself that at least I wasn't passing out or falling down like some of my friends. Soon after (in my mid 20s) I also scared myself, one icy night near Fairchild AFB, and although I continue to drink socially, not much. If I should feel down sometime, I avoid booze, it only seems good when I am happy. I will not drink and drive, even a glass of wine with dinner. But this is easy given my lifestyle.

Money interest and generally capable investing and saving has been a family characteristic for generations. I suppose this could be genetic or just seeing the examples in the family.

I believe I am a better father than he was, but many men of his era tended to think that fathering mainly consisted of taking care of their families. Most of us in the post war generation perhaps were better able to take material adequacy for granted, and spend more energy on building relationships with our children.

"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
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Old 06-18-2012, 02:56 AM   #10
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I look like my Father. And everything good I have in me comes from him. I miss him.
Very conservative with investments. Not ER'd yet, 48 years old. Please do not take anything I write or imply as legal, financial or medical advice directed to you. Contact your own financial advisor, healthcare provider, or attorney for financial, medical and legal advice.
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Old 06-18-2012, 05:47 AM   #11
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I was called the "clone" of my dad for years. We worked together for a good 10 years, and I feel sometimes like I got to see him at his best during that time. A lot of my stubbornness is from him. He and Mom are still around, but we aren't all that close any more. This is back when he had hair and I didn't.
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Old 06-18-2012, 06:35 AM   #12
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I loved this thread. Thanks for all the stories and out of each of those, I could say "yeah, Dad was like that too". Nords, when I lived in Pittsburgh, I went to the Westinghouse headquarters. Ha, thank you for the PM.
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Old 06-18-2012, 06:49 AM   #13
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Unlike: Chose to stay and be a father to my children.
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Old 06-18-2012, 12:08 PM   #14
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My father died when I was 10 so it's almost impossible for me to answer this. I think that I am just like my mother in both positives and negatives. I am told that my father was a nice, easy going man who was liked by everyone and he returned those feeling. I am much more insular. definitely not easy going nor am I liked by or do I like everyone. I do look like my father.
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Old 06-18-2012, 03:31 PM   #15
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Very much like my father. However, there were aspects of his personality I recognized but did not like and I've endeavored to steer away from them. I've tried to be more generous, express love of my family, and to actually enjoy life. The last one is hard for me and I always thought he was a fairly unhappy man. Me too a lot of the time, but through different techniques (especially regular exercise) I work at it. But he was a good father and set me on the way to FI by always preaching to never borrow money other than for a house. Good advice.
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Old 06-18-2012, 04:15 PM   #16
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My dad was an engineer, so am I.
My dad could analyze anything to death - I've been accused of that.
My dad was very frugal and fiscally responsible... I've tried hard to learn from his model.
He was very successful in leaving large chunks of his dysfunctional upbringing out of how he raised us.

What I've tried not to take from him... He was a bully during the time I was growing up. I've worked hard to not mimic this. I suspect because he was not happy in his life - job/unhappy marriage/etc. He got much mellower when he retired, and became an absolute sweetheart when he met my stepmom after my mom passed away. Fortunately, we had a good decade to mend our relationship when he mellowed, before he passed away 5 years ago.
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Old 06-18-2012, 05:03 PM   #17
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I am like my dad in my ideas on money sometimes. He liked real estate and buying toys like boats and so do I. He believed in family and was pleased with himself when he could do nice things for us. I was gifted a large sum of money once, and dad cried he was so happy to be able to do that for his kids. I was able to gift my nephew a large sum once and was very happy I could do that.

I got my dad's build except for me being short and female but I got his diabetes now.

We were different in that he grew up dirt poor, his dad died when he was 5 and mom kicked him out at 11 so she could remarry. He often didn't get enough to eat so we were raised never to ever be hungry. He took great pride in telling us we didn't know what hungry was. I remember him buying a stack of steaks at the butcher that was at least a foot tall and steaks were to fill the entire plate. He would tell us kids to not fill up on bread to fill up on meat. He loved to see us eating good food and encouraged eating contest between us. We all have had weight problems including dad. Two of three kids have diabetes now too. Thanks dad.
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Old 06-18-2012, 05:53 PM   #18
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Similarities: Outgoing, Baseball, Beer in differing degrees & quality.

Differences: His was a life of regret. Mine was one of learning from his choices and doing the opposite.

End points: He died poor and lonely at 55 (I was an only child and he had come to live with me). If I went right now (55 in Oct.) I would have no regrets. Financially secure, priceless family, a legacy of blessings.

No bitterness, just sadness for him that motivated me as a Dad.
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Old 06-18-2012, 06:30 PM   #19
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I am quite different from my Dad but he grew up in the Depression and was in the Navy during WW II. Beyond that my mind rebels at writing down comparisons.

I've very much enjoyed reading the past posts in this thread.
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Old 06-18-2012, 06:52 PM   #20
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In temperament, I am very much like my dad was: practical, analytical, worrier, curious, and a good manager. I am not like him in that he took the risk to be an artist and was very successful. Most people don't make it, and I don't have the temperament for that much risk. Neither do I want to be the subject of judgement and criticism with each piece of art I would produce. You have to be able to sell yourself, in addition to being talented. My dad was a great storyteller and loved talking to buyers, gallery owners, etc. everyone loved being around him. I am much more introverted.

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