My Father has lived, and is still living, a very blue collar life. A self made man who has played a big role in providing for our family. He's also the kind of man who would help anyone. I consider him one of the richest men I know. Not in his savings account or in a 401k, but in the kind of man he is.
He is a foreman at a highway department and the head mechanic. After years of cuts and scrapes and bruises from working on equipment he told me not to use my body for work, but to use my head instead. That was pretty good advice, and although I enjoy physical work, I went to college and use my brain to get things done.
On top of teaching me that, he also gave me the gift of being mechanically inclined. As a toddler I got ahold of a screwdriver and before my parents knew about it I took all the doorknobs off. When I was 4 I used a crescent wrench and took my own training wheels off because my parents said I was too young. Well when they were standing in the backyard and I rode by without training wheels on they were a little surprised. My Dad bought me a dirtbike and from then on I knew how to drive a standard without ever getting into a car. At the age of 15 I rebuilt a Chevy 350 V-8 engine and later a 2.8 liter V6. Knowing the inner-workings of engines and driving a hand-me-down truck that needed a lot of repair worked out great because I got to help him fix them. Now I can do all of my own repairs on seemingly anything mechanical.
He also gave me advice that he never knew he was giving me. Sometimes that's the best kind.
My Grandfather gave me a piece of advice I'll never forget and will someday pass on to my children (when I have some). "Never do anything to disgrace your family name." If you don't care much about your family name maybe it doesn't carry a lot of weight. If you're like me and consider your family name to be the summation of all the men before me who wore it proudly- the Marines, Firemen, Mechanics, Loggers, Business Men, Farmers,...