I have been thinking allot about that myself Joseph. I grew up with father but my parents were divorced when I was just turning 13. My father is a life long carpenter so I learned allot of that from him. My brother was ten years older than me and taught me allot as well but I never got any real connection on living like a man or any real advice aside from working hard. Now that I am in the military and have two children of my own I would like to teach them the things that I was never taught.
I think that question is part of what draws allot of men to this forum.The articles on proper dressing, grooming, family structure and traditions are all things that were lost to one degree or another in our generation. The baby boomer generation became very selfish to their own needs, and they let our traditional teachings that are passed down fade away.
My dad honestly does not know a lot about many things except for morality and Christianity, I've found. I'm thankful he taught me that much. It is certainly helpful, but my dad isn't very self-reliant and doesn't keep his emotions in check, so I've tried to learn those aspects on my own.
My dad traveled a lot for work growing up but when he was home he did teach loads of important things. I think the real killer piece of the puzzle was that my dad had (still has) a way of teaching lessons that doesn't feel like he is teaching at all. That's the thing I really want to master.
Kids, especially teens, do not like being lectured or hearing that they need to shut up and learn. The old man could make you see the light in such a way that you figured that you came about it all on your own.
The real important things that I know I picked up from him are:
1) Social skills, how to behave and proper etiquette for speaking/interacting with others
2) How to influence people, how to make people want to follow you without demanding or commanding them
3) Work ethic, the importance of out hustling the guy next to you in school, in sports, in your career, etc.
4) Sense of Humor, how to find the silly in every day and not be afraid to laugh at it.
Things I wish he did teach me, but he didn't:
1) Conflict management, how to resolve heated situations to your benefit.
2) How to love openly, he very rarely showed his affections to my brothers or my mother.
3) The importance of fitness in your life, he is rather inactive and while not overweight he was never in good shape.
Me and my dad were really close, but I wish he taught me to save money and how to fix things. I guess that doesn't make much sense since he was awful at both. I've learned on my own though.
I wish my father would have taught me the importance of being self-confident in front of girls and to not always be the nice guy who tries to impress girls. I had to unlearn all the nice guy stuff and develop real self-confidence from other people. That doesn't have to be this way. Develop your son to a self-confident human being and he will thank you for it.
Mostly, I just wish I'd listened better. I'm sure the lessons were all there, but I was pretty tone deaf until I hit, say... 32?
I'm acutally surprised by how much has stuck with me even when I "didn't listen" I apparently learned.
I wish my father would have taught me and my brothers and sisters how to be responsible. I had to learn the hard was on my own trail and error but hell i did it. My younger brother and older sister sadly don't and choose to blame the world for there fuck ups. To think all of this could have been avoided with a little guidance and good old dad knowledge.. Sheesh
I'd like to think I've given my oldest son the confidence to take on almost anything. This is the same kid who asked me to change his tire not a year ago and a couple of weekends ago he brought home brake-pads for his car and started working on them, although he did ask for some help, which I provided. He now changes his own oil, changed out the air filter, helped me troubleshoot an electrical problem with his starter, and helped me change the rotors on his sister's car as well as the oil. He's also troubleshot the radio in his car as it wouldn't pick up radio stations.
There's quite a lot that I wish my father had taught me growing up. My father is an unbelievably hard worker and a fanatical do-it-yourself-er. Unfortunately, he was never the best teacher or really good at giving advice.
Above all, there's a lot about being social that I wish he had taught me. Learning how to make friends, talk to women, and be actively social would have been really helpful when I was younger. But I don't think being social was ever his strong suit either.
Learning how to land your first job would have been a good one too. As a high-school age kid with no relevant job skills, trying to get a job with a fluff resume and a bunch of online applications was futile. I didn't realize then that you really had to work your network in order to actually reach a live body and get an interview.