My Dad, My Hero

My Dad, My Hero

An old essay from elementary years revisited.
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I recently re-discovered a file from my “elementary school portfolio.” It had an essay entitled “My Dad, My Hero.” It was a fairly simplistic essay with little insight beyond my three reasons and a few sentences worth of explanation. Since I’d like to believe that my writing abilities have improved since then and my perspective expanded, I thought with Father’s Day here it was a good time to revisit the topic.

My dad is not a perfect man. I think perhaps one of the hardest things about growing up is realizing that your parents are not as infallible as you once believed they were. With perfect as an impossible standard, I think one of the most “heroic” things I’ve seen my dad do is own up to his mistakes. I’d imagine that there is a lot of pressure that goes into being a father and confessing to mistakes may not help the ideal image a father wants to maintain, but I think it’s important. There’s a strength in vulnerability and in learning from mistakes. Honesty is strength, and with honesty comes stronger relationships and trust.

The next thing I’ve grown to admire about my father is his humility. In elementary school when I wrote my essay, I admired that he was a doctor and that he could help save lives. My dad wasn’t just my hero, he was a hero to others. While I am still inspired by his dedication to a career that helps others, I’ve come to realize the significance in the little gestures as well. See, my dad doesn’t just help people while he’s at work. He doesn’t just provide assistance when there’s a paycheck attached to it. Recently, a little girl wrecked her bike in front of our house and the neighbor asked me if my dad could come out and help. After doing everything he could do medically, his next step wasn’t to go back inside, it wasn’t to wait for gratitude or praise, instead, out of everyone in the group, he was the one who thought to offer to walk the little girl’s bike home. This simple act of thoughtfulness and kindness was a reminder to me that helping isn’t just about what you know, it’s about what you can do.

My dad inspires greatness. He has a commitment to refusing to settle. He works to be the best at everything that he does. I’ve watched him prove time and time again that learning doesn’t stop after you graduate college. Even though he has worked in his field for over 20 years, it’s not uncommon to see him studying or practicing with his continuing education. He values learning in a way that encourages me to make the most of every situation. Whether or not a class feels fulfilling, there is something to be gained from it and a lesson to learn. Learning shouldn’t stop just because you’ve graduated. My dad is a smart man and if he doesn’t know everything it reminds me that I certainly don’t.

Thank you dad for being a teacher and an inspiration. Thank you for believing in me and for encouraging me to be the person that I want to be, even when it’s not exactly what you had in mind for me. Thank you for loving me even when I make mistakes. Thanks dad for being you.
Cover Image Credit: Parent CUE

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Forget The Beach, Do These Things Instead

These 25 thing won't break your bank this summer.

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When you think of summertime you think of the beach. Going to the beach usually involves a lot of driving and necessary spending. These 25 activities are perfect for summer and will not break your bank.

1. Take A Walk.

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As simple as it sounds, take a walk. Walk around your town or neighborhood; you'll be amazed at all of the little things you normally miss whenever you're driving by.

2. Have A Picnic.

Nothing says summer like a picnic. It can be at your local park or even in your backyard; just don't forget the watermelon!

3. Roast s'mores!

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Everyone loves a good s'more, and the nostalgic smell of the campfire.

4. Make your own ice cream.

Ice cream is the perfect sweet treat to cool down on the hot summer day, but it can also break your budget. Homemade ice cream is fun, delicious, and will not hurt your wallet.

Here is a sweet recipe!

5. Blow bubbles.

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I mean come on, who doesn't love blowing bubbles.

6. Watch the clouds

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Whenever you're having a stressful or sad day grab a blanket and head outside and watch the clouds blow by. Make a game out of how many different shapes you can identify.

7. Pick some berries.

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Find a local strawberry or blueberry field that allows customers to pick their own berries, it is a lot more fun than it sounds trust me.

8. Go to a minor league baseball game.

Hot dogs, ice cream, and fun memories are all to be had at a local baseball game.

9. Go to a parade.

Your town or a neighboring town most likely has a holiday parade on Memorial Day, 4th of July, or labor day. Go to these parades, you'll get to see all of the local youth organizations, support your community, and maybe even get some candy thrown your way.

10. Watch the fireworks.

Really watch the fireworks, don't try to take pictures that will come out blurry. Live in the moment.

11. Watch the sunrise

It may involve an earlier bedtime the night before, but it will be worth it.

12. Watch the sunset.

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13. Make a slip & slide

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Tarp+water+soap=endless fun

14. Paint with bubbles.

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This takes blowing bubbles to a whole new level. Add your favorite colors of food coloring to your bubbles grab a piece of paper and blow onto the paper; you'll come away with a masterpiece.

15. Make a bird feeder.

Give back to mother nature by building a bird feeder.

16. Catch lightning bugs.

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AND THEN LET THEM GO!

17. Build a fort.

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Let's be real, everybody loves a good fort.

18. Tye-Dye something.

Shirt, socks, blankets, it doesn't matter what it is as long as you have fun.

19. Read.

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Go to a local bookstore, run your fingers along the spines of all the books and pick the one that calls to you.

20. Color with chalk.

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Unleash your inner artist on your driveway and/or sidewalk.

21. Pick up litter.

Go outside and help clean mother earth, it will not only benefit you but everybody around you as well.

22. Have an absolutely epic water gun battle.

Swim Pool Boy Water Swimming Summer Water Gun

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Grab your friend, enemy, kid, neighbor, parents, whoever you can find and challenge them to a water gun battle.

23. Go camping.

Get back into nature in your backyard, or at a free campsite.

24. Volunteer.

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Many of us have extra time in the summer so volunteer your time in your community!

(Dog walking at the local animal shelter is always a great choice)

25. Find joy.

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Find what makes you happy, and never stop doing it.

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