My senior year of college, a couple of my friends and I were invited to join a control group for a study one of the master’s students was doing for her thesis. Her topic was how the “ring by spring” culture at small colleges can affect young women. We joined a roundtable discussion for an afternoon and talked about our approach to relationships and how we felt about still being single as graduation drew near.
My friends and I were fairly comfortable in our singleness, and as I thought about it later, I realized we all had a common factor in our lives—close relationships with our dads.
There’s a lot of research out there about the impact dads have on their kids, and I don’t intend to repeat that here. But since graduating from high school, I have become more and more grateful for the solid relationship I’ve always had with my dad and increasingly aware of how rare that is. Father’s Day seems like an appropriate day to say thanks. (Plus, I already wrote a post for my mom—it’s only fair I write one for my dad too.) So here are seven qualities I love about my dad.
#7: He’s innovative.
I think many of my writing skills (like my ability to pay attention to detail and the need to pick just the right word) came from my mom, but my creativity came more from my dad. He’s an inventor at heart and always has a new idea for how to improve something. Even now, there are parts for hundreds of baseball tees in our family’s barn because he wanted to create a better design than those that were already on the market. My first “book” I wrote was actually thanks to an idea he had given me and encouraged me to write. His creativity always encourages me to keep pursuing my own ideas—even if they seem a little out there at first.
#6: He makes us laugh.
From what I’ve heard, my dad and his two brothers were rascals growing up, always teasing and pulling pranks. That love of fun carried over into my dad’s parenting style. From games of Monkeys vs. the Alligator that always ended in tickling, to silly songs using our names, to the punniest of puns, he’s always had a way of making us laugh and enjoy life.
#5: He reins in my perfectionism.
My junior year of high school, I was performing a difficult piano solo for the spring music contest, and I was terrified of getting anything less than a 1 rating on it. The morning of the contest, my dad said to me, “You know we still love you if you get a 2, right?” It seems silly that he had to say that, but when I got a 2 rating later that day, his words echoed in my memory. The reminder that my parents’ love was not based on my performance was something I knew already but sometimes needed a reminder of, and so I was grateful for his spoken words.
#4: He encourages me to do what I love.
I know there are many parents out there who dream of their kids sharing their own passions or of growing up to be lawyers or doctors who make lots of money. While I think my dad would have loved it if one of us had loved math and science as much as he does, he has always encouraged us to pursue doing what we love, which so far has resulted in a writing career for me and a film degree for my brother.
I remember in high school when I was trying to figure out what to do with my life, I said something about possibly getting a degree in education and then writing on the side. I still remember my dad’s words: “I think if you really care about something, there’s always a way for you to make a living at it.” In a world where many people’s responses to my degree have been, “Writing? What are you going to do with that?” I so appreciate my dad’s support and encouragement to do what I love.
#3: He’s generous.
My dad is careful with his money, but from a young age, he and my mom taught us about giving generously in the same way that God gives to us. I remember how they introduced us to the concept of “faith promise” money, where (usually around Christmas time), they would watch for any unexpected income and then let my siblings and I help decide which ministries we wanted to give that extra money to. I love the way they taught us to steward what we have from such an early age.
#2: He works hard.
My dad comes from a line of hard-working men and taught me the value of working hard from an early age. I remember a few times when I was young and helping him clean up in the yard or garden, how proud I would be when he would compliment me on my hard work. Whether it’s working at his job, mowing the lawn, or cleaning up fallen limbs around our yard, he always works hard and strives for excellence, but . . .
#1: He still puts his family first.
Although my dad always worked hard, he’s also always been there for us. He drove me to sports games, picked me up from practices, and attended band concerts. He made time for us individually through taking my sister and me on dessert dates, watching and playing sports with my brothers, and going on breakfast dates with my mom. When my grandparents have a plugged up sink or a faulty internet connection, he fixes it. When my car needs its oil changed or my computer has a virus, he takes care of it or shows me how to do it. Bottom line is: he’s been there for all of the important things, and I know he’ll always be there when I need him.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love you.