I think I have mentioned before that I have three siblings, one brother and two sisters. Growing up my father and brother were far out numbered as we even had a female dog. As many dads can understand, raising a daughter is completely different from raising a son. It takes a special guy to do it three times.
My dad is a man that genuinely loves his family and loves his role as husband and father. His choices and actions speak to that without ever having to verbalize it, although, he has never been shy about sharing how he feels with us. I love that about him! From career choices he has made on our behalf to sacrifices shared with my mom to ensure our success, throughout my life there have been countless examples of unspoken love shown.
I think it is a special gift to know how to parent the opposite sex well, mainly because sometimes you just can’t relate and in particular circumstances it can prove to be uncomfortable for some. My father has always had a knack for knowing what kind of dad a girl needs. He brings rationality to a conversation when it is missing, gives hugs at the perfect time, offers advice whenever it is needed, teaches compassion when it is undeserved and can make me laugh spontaneously with his really goofy sense of humor. We share a fantastic relationship because he has made himself open and available to me from the beginning.
Each of his kids has always known we can go to him with any problem and that he would help us figure out a solution, even if we were to blame. One of my favorite things he offered to us when we were younger was an easy out in peer pressure situations. All we had to do was call home to “check in” and he automatically asked the question, “Do you need a ride?” We could easily just say yes and our friends were never the wiser. Our escape then was saying, “My parents want me home and are on their way.” It is this ability to relate while maintaining his role as a parent that, to this day, makes him someone I count on regularly.
Linda Swanson wrote a neat article this month about fathers being gentle and gracious examples to their children in order to foster these behaviors in them as they grow. It made me think of my own dad and how much I appreciate the fact that he not only possesses these characteristics but a long list of others that I would not have learned from any other man in my life. He knew it was his job in partnership with my mom to teach me these lessons by example and I am so thankful that he did, even when it was difficult.
To my dad and all those others out there that are making it their number one priority to be the best father they can be, thank you. Thank you for your unconditional love and sacrifice. Your children may not be able to tell you yet but if you give it all you can, I guarantee that one day they will share how much you are appreciated and it will make every moment worth it!
Happy Father’s Day!