Celebrating Father’s Day yesterday with 2 amazing fathers inspired me to narrow down my library of lessons learned from both of them to the 5 most important ones I’ve learned from each.
One is my own dad, the other is my children’s.
My dad was (as is the case for many little girls) my first true love. After all, he loved me before I was even born. My dad could do no wrong in my eyes, and I suppose that is still the case. Even though I know it’s illogical, I continue to believe, at the age of 37, that my dad knows everything.
My five favorite lessons from my hero, my dad:
Lesson One: Your work ethic is a reflection of your character. Self-employed, he exemplifies “strong work ethic”, and for so many years, he’s been nothing other than dedicated and loyal to his work associates, whom he also calls his friends. Every time I want to sneak in a few minutes on Pinterest when work is slow, I think of him. 🙂
Lesson Two: Patience is, most definitely, a virtue. After working long hours, and then dealing with dinner and housework and other parental chores, my parents got to deal with an anxious daughter who was terrified of sleep and the nighttime, when I’m sure they wanted nothing more than to catch a few hours of sleep themselves. I can’t recall one instance of crying out for my dad in the night where he didn’t respond with love, with gentleness, with patience. He never once uttered an exasperated “Would you PLEASE just go back to sleep??” as I may have been known to do with my own children, but only on rare occasions, of course…
Lesson Three: Make your children feel like the treasures they are. He listened to my little problems that seemed like the world’s biggest problems, from a child’s perspective; he never made me feel unimportant or like I was “just a little kid.” In fact, he made me feel like the most beautiful, most valued little girl in all the world. And because of that, I feel beautiful and valued today… and I still want to get his opinion on my problems!
Lesson Four: The greatest gift you can give your kids is to love your spouse. My dad taught me what being married to a soul mate was all about. He was, and still is, my mom’s best friend. He appreciates her, listens to her, and loves her wholeheartedly; in turn, I knew that I could never settle for anything but that from own life-long mate.
Lesson Five: A great dad becomes an amazing Opa. He has a special, unique bond with each of my kids. I get to see all of my favorite personality traits of my dad come out tenfold when he spends time with my kids. I win, my dad wins, and my kids especially win. Winners all around!
And now, lessons from the other special dad in my life– my amazing husband, also an amazing dad to our 3 kiddos. I figured when I married Gareth that he’d be a great a dad, but really– I had no idea how great. I mean, it’s like you see the sun reflecting off their happy little faces when Gareth walks into the room. It’s pure joy, for them to feel and for me to see.
Lessons learned from my best friend, my husband:
Lesson Six: No one can take a dad’s place. Sometimes, I try to do everything. That is definitely a fault within my personality. I can be a control freak, and I like to get my hands into everything and do things my way. Truth be told, my hands need to stay out of some things. Like father-kid time. Sometimes, a kid needs for his dad to throw him into the air without his mother standing adjacent, gasping; sometimes, kids needs for their dad to cuddle with them or read them a story while mom takes a bath. They need their own memories with just him, separate from me. And that is more than ok.
Lesson Seven: Kids don’t break. As you may have guessed from my commentary in lesson six, on occasion, I can be a hovering type of mom. I hate to see my kids hurt, whether physically or emotionally. Sometimes I want to confront the obnoxious little bullies at school who make them cry, and I’ll admit it– it’s really tempting to run along side of them as they ride their skateboards. Gareth reminds me to take a step back– that by dealing with obnoxious kids, they get to learn interpersonal skills, and if they fall off their skateboards, they will blink back the tears and try again. Much to my dismay.
Lesson Eight: Daddy-daughter dates will (hopefully) delay the desire for attention from the opposite sex. The idea of my daughters dating really freaks me out. But probably not as much as it freaks Gareth out. Perhaps that is why he makes them feel like the princesses they are, and takes them to special happenings like a daddy-daughter dance. And judging by the excited giggles and jumping up and down when their daddy does do something special with them, the attention from their dad will suffice for quite some time. I sure hope so, anyway.
Lesson Nine: Dads can help with “mom stuff.” Gareth has always been such a great example for my son in teaching him that moms don’t have to do all the “mom stuff.” Dads can bathe kids; dads can do dishes; dads can vacuum. Dads can even fix little girls’ hair. If mom is no where to be found and it doesn’t involve complicated braiding or anything.
Lesson Ten: A dad doesn’t have to give up being his wife’s best friend to be a good dad to his kids. When we were expecting our first born, Mason, part of me worried that I’d lose my best friend when we became parents. That every spare moment would be focused upon our cute little offspring, and our relationship would go by the wayside. I’m happy to report that it hasn’t happened, not in the slightest. Sure, going out for a movie has turned into laying in bed watching a movie on Netflix after the kids are asleep– but hey, we stay awake to watch it, and we even have a good conversation and a laugh after it’s over. As long as we start the movie by 8:00; otherwise, we’re both passed out long before the movie ends…
And there you have it: my 10 favorite lessons from my 2 favorite dads. No matter how busy or how crazy things get in my life, I try to always remember to thank God for them– and all of their lessons– each and every day.