5 Things I’ve Learned (and am Still Learning) from my Dad

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June 2015

It is always okay to be silly and you should NEVER take yourself too seriously.

My dad is a goofball who has always delighted in trying to embarass his children.  In doing so, he has never cared how he looks or others perceive him.  He can always make me feel better and lighten the mood.  As someone who is constantly conscious of those around her, this is a hard thing for me to learn.  However, it is really empowering.  When I started teaching, it was one of the most powerful tools I had in my arsenal.  When students saw me not taking myself too seriously, they were more willing to take chances and put themselves out there.  My dad’s way of being allows others to also embrace their inner child, which I have found most people are looking for an excuse to do.

God’s timing is not always our timing (and that’s okay).

This is a hard lesson to learn for anyone.  However, I think I learned from watching my dad that God’s timing is not always ours – and that this is usually for a reason.  Also, God’s timing may not always seem fair and it may not be.  We can work really hard and not be recognized or rewarded.  Everything can line up due to our hard work and diligence and things fall apart.  Everything can go wrong at the exact wrong time.  I’ve learned from my dad it is at these points in time is when character matters.  I’ve learned from my earthly dad that it is okay to look at my heavenly one and say I don’t understand, it’s unfair, and I’m kinda mad about it.  However, I’ve also learned from watching my dad that God will bring it together in the way He has planned…often at moments we didn’t anticipate.  I’ve seen my heavenly father bless my earthly father in many unseen ways – in timing that didn’t seem fair, but ultimately worked out for everyone better.  God really does know more than us (even if we try to argue with Him).

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February 2015

I need to work hard because I am not too good for anything/anyone

My dad always had his priorities straight.  He was always willing to work any job to provide for his family.  I learned early on that working hard was never option.  It might look different in different contexts (from a stay at home mom to fertilizing lawns), but ultimately we had a responsibility to do our best work every day.  When it comes to work, my dad doesn’t have a 75% bone in his body.  He is always 100% in.  I learned this also.  I need to make sure I am doing my best at any job I have; this also means stepping in when it is needed in other areas.  Work ethic does not mean you work hard because you love your job.  It means you work hard when you don’t feel like it; you work hard when you hate your job.  My dad taught me work ethic is about how you present yourself all the time, whether people are noticing or not.

The world needs good leaders – who aren’t afraid to make hard decisions and

June 2012
June 2012

be unpopular at times.

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen this from my dad from being the president of our local school board in a time of required massive cuts to his management style to his parenting.  Good leaders teach people how to do things themselves and then hold those people accountable.  They are also willing to make hard decisions and shoulder the responsibilities of those decisions.  The world has enough yes people; it has enough people willing to settle for good enough.  It needs people who are willing to push forward, to say let’s go for it when others are nervous, to  say no this is what has to happen when others are trying to ignore the writing on the wall.  People won’t always thank you, in fact they may even resent you, but, to be a good leader, you have to look at the big picture and be willing to be the one to make the sacrifices and take the blame to promote the common good.

1935534_942435404754_1645909_nI am (and should be) a confident woman

I am a feminist because of my dad (at least partially due to him).  He not only taught me that I deserved the same as any other person (male or female), but he showed me that I was not limited by my gender.  I had value based on who I was as an individual, not based on who society said I was as a girl or what I should be as a woman.  Too many girls don’t grow up with anyone, let alone a dad, who shows them their inherent value as a human being, not just based on gender based stereotypes.  I was blessed to have a dad who played tea parties and taught me how to shoot a free throw, a dad who learned to braid my hair and played math games in the car with me.  He showed me through his time and love that I could do anything I wanted not despite being a girl, but because of who I am and who God was making me.  It had nothing to do with gender.  He allowed me to develop into the woman I am by encouraging me to ignore any boxes society tried to make for me.  While also telling me I’m beautiful, he tells me how proud he is of me because of my heart, my drive, my work ethic, my accomplishments.  He has taught me to confident, without arrogance, about who I am and the work God is doing in/through me.

My dad is an unbelievable man, the best, strongest man I know.  He walks through life with integrity and his eyes focused on God.  He always speaks in truth, but without judgement.  He embraces life and loves fully.  His energy and enthusiasm are contagious.  He brings me both levity and wisdom.  I couldn’t love my Harley driving, salsa making, goofball of a dad more if I tried.

Happy Father’s Day!

-S

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