The ways my dad made me the person I am today – Ashley
I’m pretty sure that most parents, don’t set out with every single little value that they want to instill in their children’s hearts and minds. I mean I know this is how I feel about my approach. I know we all have core beliefs and values that we want to share with our children and hope that they adopt them because we believe that they will make them better human beings. A lot of times those things happen by accident, or our parents try to bestow one set of beliefs on us and we reach for the exact opposite.
Father’s day was this past Sunday and I can say without a doubt that I am super lucky to have the dad that I have. I get all sentimental when I think of the ways the has knowingly and unknowingly shaped who I am. To say that I was a “daddy’s girl” growing up is an understatement. I pretty much worshiped my dad. In my memories of him he was the end all and be all. He knew everything. He did no wrong. His stature was even bigger.
As I got older – all of that changed for me. I could clearly see his faults. I realized that he did not in fact know everything. I also noticed that he is so tiny. Did any of those realizations make me love him less? Did any of that make me like him less? Nope. My dad is in no way perfect, but he’s the perfect dad for me. I will forever be grateful and mindful of the ways that he (maybe unintentionally?) shaped who I am, for the better.
- My dad taught me that gender roles at home don’t have to be a thing. My mom never really cooked for us on a regular basis. She didn’t like to, and my dad does. So he cooked dinner every night. He made breakfast and lunch on the weekends. My dad would also always make my mom’s plate for her. I know that my dad didn’t do this because he sought to prove anything to anyone – he was just doing his part. It didn’t matter that he was the man or that he worked long 12+ hours a day (mostly outside). My mom didn’t like to cook – and he did. So he cooked for us. Plain and simple. I always said that I’d marry a man who would cook for me too, because I absolutely hate it. That hasn’t happened yet, but fingers crossed one day it will. 😉 Dad likes to say that my liberal tendencies started because I went to MUW…got news for you dad…you started it. You showed me that I don’t have to fulfill the roles that society deemed ‘fit for a woman’. You didn’t mean to. You even tried to teach me how to cook and attempted to get me to appreciate the value in knowing how to prepare a meal for my future loved ones. Your actions though. Your actions every single night in that kitchen showed me that I can do whatever I want to. You showed me that I can be the person I want to be – and that there would be someone out there who could support that and stand by me while I did.
- Sometimes my dad can be harsh. There have been many times that I’ve seen him bring my mom to tears or illicit one of those “looks” because he said something completely inconsiderate. Sometimes my dad can be incredibly narrow minded. It’s his way or the highway. When he believes that he is right – well he won’t back down. These two characteristics are things that I’ve always intentionally (and sometimes subconsciously) tried to not embody. I think twice..a million times…before I speak. Especially to those that mean the most to me. And I never ever want to be narrow minded. I’m continually trying to understand and relate to and find common ground with people. I don’t change my mind easily. I just know the danger in not being able to open my eyes to what’s around me and know how to stand firm in what I believe within the midst of differences -even if those differences are among my family.
- Politics – standing up for what’s important to you by voting, being informed, and knowing who you want to shape the laws of the country that you live in. All of that was not something that I even worried that much about. The first time that I can remember even caring was when Barack Obama ran for president the first time. My dad said to me once that I’d really really care when I realized how much all of that actually affected my life. He was so right. I’m living in a time right now where I feel like so many of us are having to actively stand up and fight for what we want our political leaders to advocate for on our behalves. So yeah, you were right dad. We may not see eye to eye on what I we want. You definitely also taught me how much I hate FOX News…despite the fact that you continue to listen to it. 😉 But nevertheless – you always tried to let me know that I can’t just live my life and think that what’s going on in our government and elsewhere in this country does not affect me. I used to think you were being overly dramatic – now I know you weren’t.
- Being deliberate about showing interest in my children, the things they like to do, and the things I’d like for them to like doing with me. My dad has always been that way. He included me in his hobbies. I really really saw his deliberate attempt at a strong and connected relationship through his interaction with my little brother. I see him do it with my own son and daughter. My kids may not end up liking the same things I do. I just want them to remember that I always included them and that I always wanted to be a part of what they wanted to do as well.
So yeah. Thanks dad. You’re my number one guy from the beginning … Love you,