Be Your Own Hero: Life Lessons from My Dad

By Jessica Pruitt, Buffalo Exchange Headquarters

Growing up, I followed my dad around like a little duckling. When he ate a peanut butter sandwich, I ate a peanut butter sandwich. When he worked in the garden, I worked in the garden. When he wanted to go the hardware store, I pretended I wanted to go too. If you knew my dad, you’d understand why: as a jazz trumpet player, sailor, winemaker and weekend adventurer, not to mention a Financial Manager and father of two, he is a pretty cool dude.

The funny thing is, when it comes to personality, we couldn’t be more different. Where he is steady, I am constantly changing my mind. Where he is measured, thinking for sometimes five minutes before he speaks, I am impulsive, most often leaping before I look. Where he is calm and logical, I am a ball of emotions. When it comes to personal philosophy, though, we are one and the same. I’ve learned a lot of life lessons from my dad and I owe many of my ethics and values to him.

Life Lessons on the Ski Slope

When I was about five years old, my parents started taking me and my brother skiing. The experience of flying down a mountain on two sticks already had me facing my worst fears, but the thing I hated most about the whole freezing-our-butts-off-for-fun schtick was getting from the car to the slope.

Wearing leaden boots and a marshmallow snow suit while trying to juggle skis and poles that constantly slid apart and stabbed me in the eye, those treks seemed never-ending. I couldn’t believe everyone else made it look so easy. Surely my dad could take my tiny little skis for me? He’d barely even notice them. When I asked him 20 years later why he never did, he answered simply that he wanted to teach me to carry my own weight.

Life Lessons Over Soft Serve

Fast forward to fourth grade. I had a math assignment due the next day and I was in hysterics over not being able to complete it. I didn’t see how I could possibly tackle the questions in just a few hours. Some parents might yell at you to quiet down and do your work, some might do the assignment for you and some might tell you not to worry about turning it in, but my dad? He took me and my tear-stained face down to the local McDonald’s for a business meeting over vanilla soft serve. Somehow, by the time we got home, I was ready to take on the terrifying world of mathematic word problems – all by myself.

Pick Yourself Up and Try Again

There’s no question about it – I get my attitude of self-sufficiency, my work ethic and my stick-to-itiveness from my dad. When we went on hikes growing up, I was proud to be his “little trooper”, walking one step behind him no matter how steep the slope or how tired my little legs. He taught me to pick myself up when I fell over, to keep going when the going gets tough and to face every challenge with open arms.

I trust my dad’s advice without question and I always know he’ll be there to rescue me, but more importantly, he taught me to rescue myself first. My dad is my hero, but thanks to him, I’m also my own hero. And though it’s been 20 plus years since we sat at the kitchen table together eating lunch on a Saturday, I still make a peanut butter sandwich almost every day and think of my dad, probably doing the same thing over a thousand miles away.



Jessica Pruitt is a writer, fashion enthusiast and long-time Buffalo. She worked in the Portland, Oregon store as a Buyer and Associate Manager for over four years before moving to Tucson to pursue her dream job in the Buffalo Exchange Marketing Department. In her free time, she enjoys singing as loudly and as frequently as possible, kickboxing and going on outdoor adventures.