What life lesson does Bud learn in Bud, Not Buddy?

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Bud learns more than one life lesson over the course of this relatively short novel. A common answer is that Bud learns the value of family, and that is definitely true; however, I don't believe that life lesson is earth-shattering to Bud. I think Bud has always known the importance of family. His mother had a huge impact on Bud's life, and her death cemented the idea that losing her (his family) is a big deal. Finding his real family is what drives Bud throughout the book. He wants his father because he believes that his life can be made more whole with the presence of a blood relative. Bud does eventually find a blood relative, but Bud also learns that family doesn't have to be blood kin. Bud learns that the basis of a family is love. Calloway's band embraces Bud as one of their own, and Bud is once again reminded of what it feels like to have a loving family. He's been missing it since his mother died.

I think another important life lesson that Bud learns over the course of this...

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