One of the roles of a Father is to teach his children. But I’ve spent the last few days reflecting on my childhood and I now realize that there are some things my dad never taught me.
Maybe you can relate?
A Father to three girls, this man I call Daddy was a preacher man, a firefighter, an EMT, and more (not all at the same time, though).
In our formative years he taught us a lot of things that my mom wishes he hadn't, such as how to chant really loudly at the dinner table and how to make yourself burp. There are also a few things he forgot to teach us.
First, he didn’t teach me how to be dependent. Instead he taught me how to stand on my own two feet. I learned to try hard because women can do anything and be anything. I could be an athlete, a leader, the president, or even “just” a mom.
He didn’t teach me how to talk. I learned how to listen and then to respond. I learned that just because I believe something doesn’t make it true. Oxygen is a colorless, odorless molecule that makes up over twenty percent of our atmosphere; that is a fact. It is not the magical breath of flower fairies no matter how cool I think that would be and no matter how much I may want to convince the world that it’s true. And I learned that if I have a strong opinion about something I better be able to defend it respectfully and with facts, not feelings.
He didn’t teach me that I am a tool with one singular purpose. I learned that I am a beautiful woman and worthy of respect. I learned that I am empowered by my Heavenly Father and my Creator with the ability to bring glory to God through the way I carry myself, the way I treat my body, and the way I choose to use it.
He failed to teach me how to sit still. Instead I learned how to dream, how to work, how to study, and how to grow.
He never just taught me how to ride a bike or how to drive. He also taught me the responsibility that comes with knowledge and the importance of taking none of it for granted.
Thanks to my Dad, I didn’t learn that the world was my oyster but that the world is a desperately hurting place who needs to know that there is hope and love and truth to be had, to be felt, and to be known.
Because of him, I didn’t learn fear. Instead I learned that fear is only a feeling; it’s our response to it that matters. I learned that the best response to fear is to move forward or to jump or to pray or to take a bite. I learned to always try something at least once, twice when necessary, and that, sometimes, the things that scare you the most offer the best reward.
My dad never taught me how to be a good wife and mother. Instead he portrayed the qualities of a good husband and father. He prayed, he played, he sang, he told stories (and really lame jokes), he took us on adventures, and he challenged us. He made us try things we never would have otherwise and he always, every night, prayed with us by our bed.
I can still remember the sound of his voice in a low whisper as he asked the Lord to protect and to guide; to love and to comfort. He would pray that our hearts would be tender to the leading of the Holy Spirit and that our lives would bring Him honor. It was short but it was important. He never missed a night up until the day I left for college. Sometimes it would be late, so late that I would pretend to be asleep just to listen to him undisturbed. And he always ended it with a kiss on the forehead.
And you know what else? He always prayed that I would be given a husband who feared the Lord and loved his baby girl.
I want to thank you, Daddy, for all the things you taught me and all the things you didn't; but mostly I want to thank you for your prayers. God heard and he answered.
And special thanks to my husband who, I know, will refuse to teach our girls these things as well.
Happy Father's Day to two great men.
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