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Herald readers share words of wisdom from their fathers

Leanne Silvas Brown always knew she could turn to her dad. He'd stay up late with her, listening to her talk about friends, boys, anything.

He was generous with his advice. One of his favorite sayings was, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink."

He said it to Leanne when she was a teen to encourage her to make smart choices.

He meant that even if her friends were leading her down a wrong path, she didn't have to stay there. The choice to "drink the water" belonged to her.

Ruben Silvas, 55, of Kennewick, is still quick with a piece of advice, Leanne said.

"He has a saying for everything," she said with a laugh.

He's not the only one. More than a dozen people with ties to the Tri-Cities submitted words of wisdom from their dads to the Herald via phone, e-mail and Facebook in honor of Father's Day. Some of the advice is funny, some is tender.

Some is about being good with money. Some about being a good sport.

Some of the dads are gone now. Some -- like Leanne's dad -- are still doling out fatherly guidance.

Leanne, 31, of Pasco, said her she's found herself repeating her dad's sayings to her own kids.

About a year ago, she was talking with her daughter about keeping her belongings picked up. The little girl said, " 'Mom, you can lead a horse to water but I won't drink it,' " Leanne wrote in an e-mail to the Herald.

"It's funny how the cycle begins again," Leanne wrote. "Thankfully my dad's voice will ring through not only my ears but generations to come."

Here's a sampling of what other Herald readers learned from their dads:

Barbara Seiders of West Richland

w Her dad's advice: "Go to college. If you still want to go into construction after you graduate, you can, but you'll have other choices too!"

Seiders, 55, of West Richland, thought she'd go into the family business. But her father, Paul Bornemeier, encouraged her to first get her degree so she'd have more options.

She took that advice. The Dartmouth College alumna now has her doctorate in theoretical quantum chemistry. Her job at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory takes her all over the world.

"(His words) made a huge difference in my life," Seiders said of her dad, who died in 1978. "My life would not have been anything like it is now if I hadn't taken his advice."

Jessie Miller of Juneau, Alaska

w Her dad's advice: "'Don't paint the barn if it doesn't need painting.'"

Miller, 29, who's about to move to Richland from Alaska, called her dad Alfred "a country boy at heart." The 68-year-old father of seven from Coupeville is resourceful, she said. He's been known to fashion chicken coops out of politicians' campaign signs, she said.

"He loves God, his country, his family and his fiddle," Miller wrote in a Facebook message. "He's not always the most eloquent person, as evidenced by the quote, but he gets his meaning across and he means what he says. We love our dad and we're so thankful he's ours."

Jonathan Brooks of Richland

w His dad's advice: "Don't ever get credit cards, and don't spend it if you don't have it."

Brooks, 31, of Richland, said his father's words of wisdom have stayed with him. His father, Daniel Brooks, died in 2001.

Mitch Nickolds of Kennewick

w His dad's advice: "Pay. Your. Taxes."

The advice actually came from Nickolds' stepdad, Gary Ottinger of New Mexico. Ottinger knows what he's talking about -- he's a bankruptcy attorney.

Brian Griffith of Pasco

w His dad's advice: "1. Live beneath your means. 2. Don't use credit. 3. Don't get a divorce. 4. Invest regularly."

Griffith, 29, said his father's four steps for financial solvency have stuck. George, 62, lives in Nebraska.

Gary Behymer of Colfax

w His dad's advice: "Buy low ... sell high!"

Behymer, a 1964 graduate of Richland High, said his dad, Ivan, uttered that phrase often while he was growing up. Behymer followed the advice as an adult.

"I've been in the grain business for the past 37 years and that little saying works very well in business," he wrote in a Facebook message.

Lori Younger Taff of Othello

w Her dad's advice: "Be a humble winner and a gracious loser."

Tom Younger, a pastor and college president, gave his daughter that advice the morning of her final tryout for the seventh-grade basketball team.

The girl -- now 45 -- made the team. She also took her dad's words to heart and has tried to live by them, she said.

Tom died in 2003. He was an accomplished handball player who won many tournaments, Younger Taff wrote in a Facebook message.

"I imagine that's where he learned the humble winner part," she wrote. "As for the gracious loser, (he) probably learned that being a longtime Chicago Bears fan! Ha!"

David Spiel of Kennewick

Spiel said his father, Paul, 70, of Kennewick, has led by example.

Paul always was there for his kids growing up -- a regular at sports games and school events, his son said.

He also helped make the family home a place where the kids' friends could hang out, Spiel said. He's still putting others first.

"He'll cook a really great dinner but won't touch it until everybody else has been fed," Spiel, 46, of Kennewick, said of his dad. "He's old school."

Paul's fatherly devotion has extended to his grandkids. This weekend, Spiel's son had a baseball tournament. Paul was planning to be there. He's usually in charge of saving seats.

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