Dads are the best resource for all things manly. However, when college rolls around you realize just how much you relied on them and how much you still don't know. Here is to all of those little questions and conversations you have when you just don't know what to do:
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You’ve gone a really long time without being thanked. I'm not talking about thanks for things like opening the Gatorade bottle I couldn't or checking my tires when my car’s maintenance light is flashing, but rather the thanks I owe you for shaping me into the person I am today.
Thank you for teaching me what I deserve and for not letting me settle for anything less.
While the whole world was telling me I wasn’t good enough, you were there to tell me I was. Whether this was with boys, a friend, or anything else, you always built my confidence to a place I couldn’t build it to on my own. You showed me what my great qualities were and helped me feel unique. But most of all, you never let me settle for anything less than what I deserved, even when I wanted to. Without you, I wouldn’t be nearly as ambitious, outgoing or strong.
Thank you for giving me someone to make proud.
It’s hard to work hard when it’s just for myself, but so easy when it’s for you. All through school, nothing made me happier than getting a good grade back because I knew I got to come home and tell you. With everything I do, you give me a purpose.
Thank you for showing me what selflessness looks like.
You are the prime example of what putting your family first looks like. If me wanting something means that you can’t get what you want, you’ll always sacrifice. From wearing the same t-shirts you’ve had since I was in elementary school so I could buy the new clothes I wanted, to not going out with your friends so you could come to my shows, you never made a decision without your family at the forefront of your mind. If there is one quality you have that I look up to you for the most, it’s your ability to completely put your needs aside and focus entirely on the wants of others.
Thank you for being the voice in the back of my head that shows me wrong from right.
Even though many of your dad-isms like “always wear a seatbelt” easily get old, whenever I’m in a situation and can’t decide if what I’m doing is right or wrong, I always can hear you in the back of my head pointing me in the right direction. While I may not boost your ego often enough by telling you you’re always right, you are.
Thank you for being real with me when nobody else will.
Being your child hasn’t always been full of happiness and encouragement, but that’s what makes you such an integral part of my life. Rather than sugarcoating things and always telling me I was the perfect child, you called me out when I was wrong. But what separates you from other dads is that instead of just knocking me down, you helped me improve. You helped me figure out my faults and stood by me every step of the way as I worked to fix them.
Most of all, thank you for showing me what a great man looks like.
I know that marriage may seem very far down the road, but I just want you to know that whoever the guy I marry is, I know he’ll be right because I have an amazing guy to compare him to. I know you’re not perfect (nobody is), but you’ve raised me in a such a way that I couldn’t imagine my kids being raised any differently. Finding a guy with your heart, drive, and generosity will be tough, but I know it will be worth it.
Dad, you’re more than just my parent, but my best friend. You’re there for me like nobody else is and I couldn’t imagine being where I am now without you.
Love you forever,
Your little girl
Months and months ago my father wrote down his favorite quotes and pieces of advice for himself after reading my favorite book, "Tuesdays With Morrie."
He has always given me stellar advice about love, loss and self-worth. Now, I will share it with the world.
This one is for you, Dad.
1. Be bold but not aggressive
This is a personal favorite of mine, especially as an extrovert. I sometimes worry that being the open person I am that I come off too strong or too abrasive.
With this piece of advice though, I remind myself not to "overdo" it. Just be natural.
2. Be confident with room for humility
If there is one thing I have learned from my father it is humility. A sense of humbleness.
I am proud of the person I am, but I have learned to never think I am above anyone else or that I am more important.
3. Love others with all your heart and family with all you are
We are loving people in this household and this piece of advice proves just that.
Despite who you are or what you come off to be, it is important to love friends and lovers with every part of yourself to ensure you did everything you could.
It is important to love family with all you are because lots of the time they made you who you are in the first place.
4. When it comes to dating, even if you don't love them make sure you at least respect them
Not every person you date is "the one." Not every person you date you are going to marry.
Even so, at least respect that person you are seeing. Be polite, be courteous, be kind — be respectful to their needs even if you can't love them.
5. Be patient when it comes to true love, it is rare but so fine
My parents have a love like no other.
They are true loves, soulmates and life partners, BUT it also took time for them to get married.
6. Reserve the harshest judgement for yourself
Tough love is normal. Critiquing is normal.
What is not normal is being cruel and inconsiderate. Leave the harshest judgment for behind closed doors, in a mirror — not towards others.
7. Be tolerant but not submissive
Be patient and kind, to a point. Do not settle for something you do not deserve. Be grateful for what is fair.
8. Don't sweat the small stuff — everything is small stuff
This piece of advice speaks for itself. Do not stress the things that are out of your control. Do not get upset over little things.
In a short period of time, you won't even remember it.
9. Live with passion
Be motivated in your work, in your love, in your friendships and yourself. Living life to the fullest with joy in your heart makes for the best life.
10. Treat the elderly with honor and respect
My dad says that time is a teacher and knowledge is acquired. If it weren't for our elders, we wouldn't learn from the past.
11. Have courage and be kind — remember all your grace
This has become my motto in life. I think it means to be fearless, do things that scare you and stand up for yourself while still being a good person and better yet a KIND person.
It is important to know yourself and be true to you.
So, thank you, dad, for all your words of advice. I couldn't have lived this beautiful life without you.