Business Monday

Manny García-Tuñón: Words of wisdom from dads

I realize that my timing may seem a little off. Going with a “Father Knows Best” column a full week after Father’s Day might seem passé, but I actually researched this topic over Father’s Day weekend and, since I’ve been assigned the fourth Monday of the month for my column, it is what it is. These principles are timeless anyway.

I have often shared the story of the conversation I had with my father the day I came back to Lemartec, the family design and construction business, to ask him for my old job back. I had dropped out of college and left the business to pursue my dream of being a musician — that’s a story for another column. Suffice to say that it wasn’t meant to be.

After analyzing my career options, it didn’t take long for me to realize that going back to my old job was the logical thing to do. Facing my father in that situation wasn’t easy, but my obligations to my wife and daughter became a powerful motivator, compelling me to do what had to be done. I’ll never forget what my father told me. “You can come back to Lemartec on two conditions: First, you have to go back to school and get your degree — and I’m not paying for it. Second, I’ll move you through here as fast as you’re willing to go, but I’ll never pay you more than you’re worth.” I never heard a fairer statement.

Fathers are an excellent source of wisdom. Their influence and example can have a significant impact on our lives both personally and professionally. According to a report by the Fatherhood Institute, “Major studies across the world which follow families over time have found fathers’ involvement with their children linked with their higher educational achievement and higher educational /occupational mobility relative to their parents” (Sarkadi et al, 2008; Flouri, 2005; Pleck & Masciadrelli, 2004).

Because June is the month we celebrate Father’s Day, it seems fitting to pay tribute to our fathers by heeding their words of wisdom. After researching online and polling friends and family, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite fatherly advice on life, love and business.

• “Do what you love.”

• “We all get paid by the hour; the difference is how much you want to get paid in that hour, so study hard.”

• “Money doesn't grow on trees, young lady. You’d better start saving for your future now!”

• “Count your pennies and your dollars will take care of themselves.”

• “Don’t pay someone to do a job for you if you have the skill to do it yourself.”

• “Save a little, spend a little; you'll always have a little.”

• “Credit cards are the devil!”

• “Cash is king!”

• “Figure out how to make money 24 hours a day.”

• “Know what you have, and be careful how you spend it.”

• “If you can’t get in to it, get out of it. If you can’t get out of it, get in to it.”

• “10 percent to God, 10 percent to savings and the rest you live on.”

• “Son, don’t pay interest, earn it!”

• “Don’t buy what you can’t pay for in full.”

• “Don’t sneer at THRIFT, buddy!”

• “It's not how much you make; it’s what you do with what you make.”

• “Don’t throw good money after bad.”

• “Always be punctual.”

• “Study hard, finish what you start, and always pay your bills.”

• “There’s a lot of ignorance in the world. Don’t contribute to it!”

• “There is no right way to do the wrong thing.”

• “Think what you may, but be very careful what you say.”

• “Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”

• “Always treat people with respect.”

• “Never tell a lie. Always keep your word.”

• “Always give it your all and never give up on anything.”

• “Son, never be afraid to get your hands dirty. That’s why soap and water was invented.

• “Hard work never killed anyone.”

• “Son, do you have the money to pay for what you want now? No? Then what makes you think you will have the money at the first of the month?”

• “If you lay down with the dogs, you wake up with fleas.”

• “Daughter, always look for the best in people and hope that when they are looking at you, they are doing the same.”

• “Get a good education. They can never take that away from you.”

• “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.”

• “Don’t do anything stupid.”

Manny García-Tuñón is president of Lemartec, an international design-build firm headquartered in Miami. He can be reached at