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BLOG: Life advice from dad through music

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Jen and Ron Karpus Jr.

In honor of Father’s Day on June 21, Tire Business staffers are sharing life and business lessons they have learned from their fathers, husbands and friends.

Have you learned a valuable personal or professional lesson from a paternal figure in your life? Let Tire Business know by posting a comment on this blog, on Facebook or on our Twitter page. We’ll share them with our readers.

AKRON — From the moment I was born, my father, Ron Karpus Jr., taught me that music can not only change your mood, but enable you to express yourself in ways you couldn’t imagine. When I sat down and thought about all the advice he has given me throughout my life, song lyrics ran rampant in my brain. It seemed a fitting tribute for Father’s Day to pick a top-five songs list about life lessons I learned from Dad.

  •  “Isn’t She Lovely” – Stevie Wonder

 “Isn't she lovely? Isn't she wonderful? Isn't she precious? Less than one minute old. I never thought through love we'd be making one as lovely as she. But isn't she lovely made from love?”

In the soundtrack of my life, my father always said this was the song that started it all. Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” is what played in his head at the hospital when I was born.

The lesson: From the moment you come out of the womb, your parents love you more than you will ever understand. They want to guide you — even when you push back — all your life because you are a piece of them. It seems fitting that this is the song we have chosen to dance to during the father/daughter dance at my wedding in September. I can’t wait.

  • “Beautiful” – Carole King

“You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face, and show the world all the love in your heart. Then people gonna treat you better. You're gonna find, yes, you will, that you're beautiful as you feel.”

On one particularly bad day in the sixth grade, my father played me this song. While I admire Carole King so much as a songwriter, this is the song that has always stood out to me.

The lesson: We will never have control over other people or how they treat us, but we can change how we feel about it. We will always only have control of ourselves. It is what you choose to do with that that matters and can turn a bad day into a good one. To this day, if I need a pick me up, I play this song. If I ever need to be reminded that your whole day can change with a smile and an attitude adjustment, I will play it and remember the lesson my dad instilled in me almost two decades ago.

  • “Through Your Hands” – John Hiatt

“And you ask, ‘What am I not doing?’ She says ‘Your voice cannot command.’ In time, you will move mountains, and it will come through your hands."

Being a journalist was always a dream of mine, and there was no bigger supporter of that dream than my father. He told me that while there are many professions that are important, journalists have a special role because they make the choice to educate others, and they have to do it in an ethical way.

The lesson: He played me this song when I was about to head off to Ohio University to start journalism school. I picked a career path where I am able to convey messages, but those words come from my hands, not my active voice. This song reminds me that I can do anything I put my mind to.

  • “Wake Up Everybody” – Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes

“The world won't get no better if we just let it be. The world won't get no better; we gotta change it, yeah, just you and me.”

This song was released by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes in November 1975, marking the last album the band had before Teddy Pendergrass left to start a solo career. While this song was produced a decade before I was even born, the lyrics span time and are still relevant today. If you have never heard the full song or really listened to the lyrics, I highly recommend it.

The lesson: We can’t sit back and expect our lives or the world to change on its own. We have to put forth some kind of effort to make things better. My parents instilled in my siblings and me to have very strong work ethics and that you cannot just sit back and expect things to be handed to you — you have to work for them. If you want change, you have to put forth the effort to make change.

  •  “If I had a million dollars” – Barenaked Ladies

“If I Had $1,000,000, we wouldn't have to eat Kraft dinner. But we would eat Kraft dinner. Of course we would, we'd just eat more. And buy really expensive ketchup with it. That's right, all the fanciest Dijon Ketchup. Mmmmmm.”

If it was appropriate at your wedding to have a karaoke session with your dad, this would be the song we would choose. This is the song we sing together. Why? Because it’s fun.

The lesson: Sometimes it’s important just to sit back and have fun with your kids.

The ultimate lesson here is that as a parent, you never truly know what will stick with your children. I’d imagine that you try to impart wisdom and hope to guide them on their way through life. But who knows, maybe with that guidance, you will also be shaping the soundtrack of their lives. Maybe you will be instilling in them more than just words, but a way to get through the hard moments by forming an attachment to a moment in time that helps shift something within them to keep pushing through. That’s what my dad has done for me. Happy Father’s Day to my dad and all the other fathers out there. Enjoy your day!

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