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9 lessons from my dad: Pop knows best

Picture: Darcel Rockett’s dad, Michael, enjoys all the gifts his children give him. (Darcel Rockett/Chicago Tribune)

by: Darcel Rockett, Contact Reporter, Chicago Tribune

Today marks a new beginning.

The Chicago Tribune staff walked into our new home this morning upon leaving the iconic Tribune Tower after almost 100 years. (Readers may recall the numerous goodbyes and remembrances from newspaper personalities).

But now, as new kids in the proverbial Prudential building playground, we look forward. We lay a new foundation — something dads know a thing or two about.

So in honor of Father’s Day on Sunday and forging new paths, I culled some lessons that my father has taught me and my five siblings as he built our foundations as people. Hopefully, they will be a balm during our transition and something my co-workers can use in their time of change.

1. Do what makes you happy. There are things you want to do and things you have to do — make time for both because your passion necessitates it. Feed your soul first, and do what speaks to you as a person.

2. Always make time for family, and watch after them.

3. There is a way to accomplish anything you want. Sometimes you just have to sit and think on it. Envision your goals, think on it, then just do it.

4. Work smarter, not harder.

5. Control your attitude. Anything you put your name on, the things you show up for — you’re representing your family, your upbringing and what you want out of life. Go into endeavors with a positive attitude, do the best you can and leave knowing so.

6. Never get tired. Or to put it in dad-speak … try, try again, and then try again and again. If you want something, go after it until you get the results you seek.

7. Never give anybody a reason to say “no” to you.

8. Lead through your words, actions and presence.

9. Be the best you. Get there with an education, self-reflection and an honest effort to try your best.

Dad would talk to us for hours after school about what’s to come in life and how to best prepare for it. Those discussions stay with me.

It takes years to mold a human being into someone of note, someone who moves the needle forward and balances heart and mind equally.

As we become journalists or fathers — or teachers or entrepreneurs — we also become cheerleaders for others, advocates and productive citizens who ask questions and answer to our consciences. Those are things my Tribune family does on a regular basis.

But that’s family, right? A home where dedication, integrity and growth are fostered. So welcome home, Tribune family, welcome home.

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