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Phoenix Forward magazine

The best advice my father ever gave me

Advice comes from every corner of our lives, but there’s something about guidance from our fathers that can resonate for a lifetime. In honor of Father’s Day, we asked five University of Phoenix faculty members to tell us about the most meaningful advice their dads ever gave them. Here’s what they shared:

Janeen Dahn

“My father told me, ‘Always remember that you’re a product of your environment.’ He meant I should surround myself with what I wanted to do or be in life, because success is something I can have control over.

“He was right. I wasn’t a great student, so I hung around with people smarter than me. Even now, I’ve surrounded myself with people with doctoral degrees, and now I’m in the doctoral program. This rule worked in reverse, too. When I was younger, if I put myself in a bad situation, guess what. Bad things happened. So I’ve continued to surround myself with scholars.”

—Janeen Dahn, assistant dean, College of Nursing

Franzi Walsh

“My dad was a big proponent of thinking before you speak. He’d say, ‘Don’t blurt out the first thing that comes to your mind; consider the situation.’ This came in handy when I went into law enforcement, where you sometimes have to act quickly and speak calmly while something disastrous is happening.

“My father also taught me never to leave the driveway without putting on my seat belt. When I first started driving, if he was in the car and I didn’t put on my seat belt, he’d take the keys and make me get out and walk to school. And we lived on the edge of town, a mile from school!”

—Franzi Walsh, associate dean, College of Criminal Justice and Security

James Ness

“When things went wrong, my father used to always say, ‘Don’t worry about everything; nothing will be all right.’ It sounds funny, but I knew he meant, ‘Don’t worry about the small stuff; it’s all immaterial.’ It’s one of the sayings I use in the office, with my staff. It gives some levity to the situation, but it also makes people think, ‘Hey, things could be worse.’”

James Ness, PhD, dean, College of Criminal Justice and Security

Jaseon Outlaw

“My father communicated by action rather than words. And the best lesson I learned watching him is that providing for your family is most important, and pursuing higher education is the best way to do that. My parents surrounded us with their friends, all of whom placed a premium on education, and they made it known that going to college wasn’t an option; it was an expectation. It’s something that’s served me well.”

—Jaseon Outlaw, PhD, assistant dean, College of Social Sciences

Alisa Fleming

“My dad insisted that his children learn to treat all people, from all walks of life, with the same respect. I live my life based on what he taught us — I treat everybody the same, no matter who are they are or what they do. It makes me happy to be a role model for my daughter in this way because it’s her grandfather’s legacy.”

—Alisa Fleming, associate dean, School of Business

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