Everyone has a favorite place, whether that’s inside your house, a park or a restaurant. For me, it’s the garage. Garages are like snowflakes because each one has different stories only the family would understand. They represent long talks, lessons learned and lasting memories.

There are a few things my dad and I deem extra special in our lives, and one is the garage. Here’s what makes this part of the house precious to fathers.

Teaching New Tricks

More often than not, you’ll find your dad in the garage working on something. My father bought a 1976 Ford Mustang Cobra and treated it like his prized possession. There were many late nights when he’d experiment with different tuning techniques to get the most out of his engine. He didn’t drive the Mustang often, so it felt like a special occasion when he took it out for a stroll.

Over the years, I gained more responsibility while working on the Mustang. Younger versions of me only got to organize the nuts and bolts, and clean his tools if they got too dirty. As I got older, my father let me help wash the car and apply wax for that impeccable Mustang shine. Then, once I was old enough to drive, Dad taught me how to change the oil and tires so I wouldn’t get stranded on the road. They weren’t always easy, but these lessons feel invaluable today.

A garage is where dads can teach their kids about anything — engine tuning, building birdhouses and relationships in life.

Learning About Life

While I absorbed knowledge about engines and suspensions, I also learned a lot about life in the garage. Dad is one of those guys who doesn’t have much to say, but you listened when he spoke because he made his words count. To this day, I’ve never met anybody more measured and deliberate when they talk. Even as an adult, I feel like a kid again when I hear him impart wisdom.

I remember high school when I got home early from a first date. Dad was in his happy place working on the Mustang and could tell something was up. He stopped me as I was walking in the house and pried the feelings out of me. He wouldn’t let up, so I gave him the rundown of what happened. Long story short, my date just wasn’t all that into me.

I’ll never forget what my father said that night. He told me to worry less about what she thinks and more about what I think. If I worry too much about others, I’ll never love and believe in myself.

Soaking in Nostalgia

I still visit my parents for the occasional family dinner and the garage is one of the first places I go. Walking in feels like a time machine — I’m suddenly 9 years old and ready to watch Dad work on a favorite project. Each time I come, Dad and I spend a few minutes in the garage reminiscing on the simpler times when we had fewer cell phones and more vinyl records. It was easier to have moments of stillness and genuinely embrace the world around us.

The garage is nostalgic for me but was for my dad as well. When he was younger, his dad had a decent-sized shed in the backyard. It was a detached garage, but it served the same purpose. My father told me countless times about how he and his dad would build soapbox derby cars in the shed and race them with the neighbors. Art wasn’t his strongest skill, but he tried to make his derby look like a Wood Brothers stock car.

Personal Space

Family time was important for Dad, as our family had dinner at the table most nights. He attended my baseball games and high school honor society ceremonies to show he cared. However, he sometimes wanted to be alone with nobody bothering him. You could come to him for an emergency, but he thrived in the solitude as soft music played in the background.

Summers and winters can make the garage uncomfortable for the average person, but all the work my dad put into his garage, it quickly became one of the most comfortable rooms in the house. The insulation of the garage makes it perfect for reducing the excess noise made by his projects. This also made it my go-to space during my brief garage band phase, much to my family’s chagrin.

Imagine Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel or Hank Aaron on a baseball field. My dad felt best in his garage because it was his personal space. Now that I’m older, I’ve started feeling the same way.

Relieving Stress

It wasn’t always a mechanic shop or a therapist’s office in the garage. Sometimes, we let loose and enjoyed movie nights or card games. I remember lugging the heavy TV into the garage and barely managing to get it into place. We’d pull up a couple of chairs and eat popcorn while watching sports or cheesy classics. The vibe of the garage changed the experience, almost feeling like a mini drive-in theater.

Regardless of the night’s itinerary, my dad found the garage a stress reliever. Work wasn’t always kind to him — whether he had to log overtime or deal with rude customers — so the garage felt like his escape. Research shows just over 41% of fathers have moderate to high stress, so I’m glad my dad found a healthy outlet. He’s inspired me and it’s something I want to pass on to my children.

Relishing in Organized Chaos

Nice and tidy garages are hard to come by. Typically, a super-organized room means the owners aren’t using it or they’ve staged it to prepare for a photoshoot. Selling a home means making it appear clean — at least for a while. Our garage felt like a beautiful mess or organized chaos. It was messy, but it was our clutter.

I can still picture how the garage looked through the years, with Dad’s workbench on the left side as you enter. The Mustang sat in the middle as the star of the show, and the right side had shelves with various tools and old baseball trophies. I remember my father proudly displaying my Little League baseball trophy as if he was in the batting lineup. He did volunteer as an assistant coach, so I’ll let him take some of the credit.

Dads and Garages — An Unbreakable Bond

Garages attract dads like honey attracts flies. This section of the house naturally feels like a haven for dads because it’s like a classroom. Sometimes, they’re students learning about their Ford Mustangs or thinking about how to be better fathers — other times, they turn into teachers and educate us on life.

The bond my father and I made in the garage is one dads and children everywhere share. The world changes daily, but the relationship between a guy and his garage will remain the same for a long time.

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About Jack Shaw

Jack Shaw is the senior lifestyle writer at Modded with special interest in navigating the ins and outs of interpersonal relationships and emotional health. You'll likely find him playing with his dog or exploring nature with his family in his free time. Feel free to reach out to him via LinkedIn.

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