This is more of a Father’s Day testiment to my dad, but my mother also deserves credit in this area as well! (Don’t worry, I’ll do a blog over women who have shaped me.)
- He never limitted me to “being a girl.”
- BECAUSE BEING A GIRL IS NOT A LIMITATION. Men would ask my dad all the time if he wished he had a son. My dad always told them, “Not with daughters like mine.” That statement meant a lot to me at a young age. He never compared my sister and I to boys, he just let us be girls in our own way. He took us hunting from ages as young as 4 and we always fished. He had us out in the fields, mowing the lawn, helping butcher pigs, casterating the baby pigs, pulling their teeth, and tagging.
- He never used phrases like “you shoot like a girl” and if he did, frankly you’d be a lucky son-of-a-gun, because I’m a great shot. I never felt limitted at home. I had a great collection of Polly Pockets, a blue hot wheel car with flames I could drive around the yard, a few Barbies, and a go-cart. I could go straight from playing Polly Pockets to unhooking a fish from the line without ever feeling like I was out-of-place (something that changed very quickly once I left home and went to school).
- He let me be loud.
- If you’ve ever met my family, you know you have to be loud to be a part of the conversation. I am aware that being the loudest isn’t always the answer, but honestly, the older I get the more of a skill it has become. I was loud from a very young age and I can honestly say that it enabled me to start developing skills I would need in a male dominated workforce. My dad wouldn’t shush me or tell me to be quiet. He would tell me to speak up (or listen when necessary haha). This small thing helped me become bold, learn to articulate exactly what I want, and never back down (as long as I am in the right and aligning with my values).
- Finding your voice and learning to use it is such a powerful thing. It kicks the passive-aggressive right out of you and makes accountability easier. It isn’t always wrong to say what everyone is thinking out loud. I would actually argue that it would bring about a lot more positive change (but yes you still have to use tact).
- He never tied my worth to a man. (Men, your worth isn’t tied to a woman)
- My dad never really talked about my sister and I getting married, in fact, he only joked about us marrying for money (chill out, it’s clearly a joke). -I will preference this by saying that dads who talk about their children marrying are not evil. That is NOT what I am saying. Got it? Good.-
- There is a lot of insecurity in our society about being alone. I know a lot of girls and boys who grew up feeling as though they wouldn’t be complete without a significant other. [If you don’t feel complete or happy in your singleness, you WILL NOT feel that way in a romantic relationship.]
- My dad helped teach me that I had all I needed from day 1. I had faith, family, and friends and that has always been enough. Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay if romantic love comes along, that’s super great! The thing is, if you aren’t happy without it, you won’t be happy with it. Biblically, a man and a woman are called to pursue Christ. I know a lot of great people who have pursued love and marriage before Christ thinking it made them more Christain somehow (yeah I know it doesn’t make sense). The issue is that you never find your real identitiy in Christ, you find it in another human. My dad never set that limitation or idea that marriage was essential in my life and it gave me freedom that a lot of people don’t realize they can have.
- He told stories of women who shaped him.
- I had your basic heroes growing up. I had Esther, Mulan, Ruth, the Pink & Yellow Power Rangers, and Kim Possible. My dad still contributes to this list today. He always told my sister and I tales of the strong women in his family. He would tell my sister and I stories of women who were way before their time. They were hunters, farmers, business women, and fishermen (or fisherwomen, whatever). They were respected and no man dared to question their authority in their field. On top of all that, some of them were devoted wives and mothers, which is another crazy hard responsibilty in itself.
- Hearing stories of strong women who are a part of me has been one of the most uplifting things in my life.
- He let me go.
- I got into a stupid argument on Facebook oneday because someone thought sending “children” out into a secular world wasn’t the “Christian way”. It’s not my place to decide what parenting tactics anyone uses (obviously I’m not a parent), but sending me out from a public school to a public university was one of the best things my parents did for my faith and my growth. It forced me to take ownership of who I am and my actions. I couldn’t piggy-back off my parent’s faith and I had to choose if that was something real to me, or something I chose because of tradition. It was a time for me to learn to be still and listen, so I could be bold and speak out.
- I know it was hard for my dad to let me go, because it was never a secret that I wanted to live in a big city. He knew if I left, I’d stay. The beauty of it all is that the longer I was away and the more I experienced life on my own, the more I fell in love with my family. I’ve never cherished my family as much as I do now. My relationship with my dad is stronger now than it ever has been.
I have been very fortunate to have a great father figure in my life. Never take for granted the simple things you’re given.