There is a man that I have known all of my life. I mention that I have known him all of my life because I realize that I am blessed to have had him in my life since the day that I was born. I know that not every child is granted a gift like the one that I am about to describe. When I was growing up, through my eyes he was the smartest and strongest man in the whole world. That man is my dad. Allow me share some of the lessons that my dad taught me.
1. You matter.
He always took time to answer my questions whether they could be viewed as pointless as a child sometimes can ask or deep when I had a problem to which I could not find a solution.
2. True strength is in character and loyalty.
It’s not that he wasn’t physically strong as well as in character. He was a golden gloves boxer in his college days. At 5’8, he was the picture of strength in every situation that we faced as a family and remained my source of strength when I was-according to society standards-old enough to be on my own.
3. Where you are, is not where you have to stay.
My dad came from a modest beginning, but he didn’t stay there. He went into the Navy, fought in the Vietnam War, put himself through college, and went on to graduate school. My dad along with my mom made sure that we never knew what it felt like to be without anything.
4. Your legacy is not only about the things you achieve but the lives you touch.
My dad accomplished a lot, but his focus was on his students-not his accomplishments-when he was a principal for most of his career. It is not uncommon for one of his students to stop me and tell me how he changed their lives.
5. There is a time to be stubborn.
This is the stubbornness that accompanies determination in achieving something that is so important to you that you cannot imagine your life without it. Sometimes the stubbornness takes physical strength, but often it takes emotional and spiritual strength to keep going despite the obstacles that you face. It can feel like what you are facing is bigger than you are, remain in stubborn determination anyway because it is at that moment that you are about to achieve your desire.
6. Don’t spend what you don’t have.
My dad would not charge anything on a credit card that he couldn’t pay when he received his bill. My parents were able to retire quite young and enjoy their lives because they lived within their means.
7. Men will tell you that they love you when they really don’t.
I know this may cause some alarm for some people, but the truth of the matter is that it is true. He explained that when you are young especially, men may tell you that they love you. They may really believe it, but they don’t. It is lust and it won’t last so don’t believe them. They are after one thing. This saved me a tremendous amount of heartache. It also shocked a few boys when they professed their love to me and I used my dad’s theory to explain to them what they were really feeling.
8. You may feel like you don’t measure up, but to somebody-to him in my case-you are the most beautiful girl in the world.
If you ever feel like you don’t measure up, know that others feel that same way too probably, but everyone has somebody that will see their true beauty.
9. Accomplishment is not always about succeeding but being willing to show up when something seems bigger than you.
My dad always made me feel this way, but on one occasion I was getting ready to go to the starting line of a triathlon when I was too sick to eat. My dad pulled me aside and said, “It is ok if you don’t finish. We are proud of you because you showed up.”
10. If you have a reason to brag, somebody else will notice it.
Be humble There is no reason for you to be boastful ever.
My dad taught me so much about life. In the conversations that he took the time to have with me and in the example that he sets for me every day in how he continues to live his own life. I thought my dad was the smartest, strongest man that I knew growing up-and now that I am a grown woman, I know that he is.
Dad, for the many lessons that you taught me and the love that you continue to give me, thank you from the bottom of my heart for who you are and what you have done for me. I love you! I am the luckiest woman in the world to call you my dad.