To My Favorite Teacher, From Your Daughter
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Politics and Activism

To My Favorite Teacher, From Your Daughter

Dear Daddy, you taught me how to live.

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To My Favorite Teacher, From Your Daughter

Dear Dad,

You probably read the title of this article and thought I meant to write it for Mom. While she's the most dedicated librarian and inspiring educator I've ever met, you're the best teacher I've ever had. Don't get me wrong, I've had my share of teachings from people who spent several years training to educate students such as myself. From the eccentric optimists who took me off your hands for seven hours a day and tamed the shrew that was my kindergarten hyperactivity, to the band director who became my own " Girl-Meets-World "/Mr. Feeny mentor, there are countless villagers who raised this 21-years-young daughter you call your "boss." You just happen to be my favorite one.

There are so many lessons you taught me outside the cinder blocks of the school house, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for lighting a fire under my brain and giving me the rules of life that have gotten me this far.

In all of history...

Let's face it: I'm a lost cause as a pupil in a history lecture hall. There was something fascinating in the way you told me stories of our country's past and of our family's. I may not remember much about the War of 1812, but I can draw the most kick-butt family tree diagram anyone's ever seen, complete with footnotes and illustrations of everyone's former history. The value I gained from learning about my heritage and ancestry tells me everything I need to know not about what's happened before, but where my future will go.

God saw all that he made, and it was very good.

Dad, I'm sorry you had to wait until I fell asleep in your lap during church to put chapstick on me, every Sunday, or else face a tantrum of the most devious nature.

I'm even more sorry for falling asleep in church all the time. What can I say? Being a kid is exhausting, particularly when Sunday School is canceled and the preacher is talking above my five-year-old head. Nevertheless, in all the sermons I sat through, youth groups I attended and private study sessions with just my Bible and me, no one has taught me more sincerity in God's word than you have. If I ever had a question of right and wrong when I was growing up, I knew you had the answer. You taught me the code of righteousness, and I'd have never become the respectable woman I strive toward, daily, without your influence.

And the golden rule is? Never hold your breath.

Step aside, tykes, pacifiers are for babies. I was raised on a regulator, sucking oxygen 60 feet below surface level. I have you to thank for that, Dad. Not only did you raise me to think outside the box in every aspect of life, but in all my SCUBA lessons, you were the loudest voice in my head each week. It seemed that everything my instructors had to teach me, you'd already covered 12 plus times. You literally opened up a new world for me to explore, by teaching me to dive. Thanks for making breathing so easy, even when it's on a shipwreck.

Always expect everyone around you to do the wrong thing.

When you taught me to drive, you told me to expect every driver on the road to be an idiot, to run every red light, to cut me off on Malfunction Junction, and that texting and driving is for losers (with a capital L). This one doesn't need any more explanation, just thanks for keeping me out of wrecks and in my kickin' Kia after all this time.

Travel is fatal to prejudice... and so am I.

You know, Dad, everybody and their mother is arguing over the Confederate flag right now, and all I'm thinking of is the time you told me that "Everybody who is unlike you has a lesson to teach you." Countless friends spanning across the planet have taught me lessons about culture, about humility, and about humanity. It saddens me that many of those who cry the loudest about this piece of cloth with a bad reputation are the ones who have never left the southernmost regions of the United States.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”

Mark Twain was quite the prophet, and I'm thankful to have received these words long before bigotry dug her nails into this country and every conversation became offensive to a large group of people. Thanks for separating me from the onlookers who are too afraid to immerse themselves in something they can't stake their claim over.

Gracias por Mexico.

Not only did I learn a second language by the age of four, but Mexico was the very beginning of my memory. It's almost as if the three years before we moved to Celaya had not happened, and I truly became a creature capable of intelligent thought when my brain was being forced out of its comfort zone. Perhaps one of the reasons I have always thirsted for knowledge and enjoyed learning is because my brain worked overtime for a year in another country. In that time, it was either "learn and conform" and waste a year of life a stunt my personal growth. You gave me quite the boost in school and in relationship development that nobody back home had. It was sheer luck that I was around when you made the move, and I'm sure every day made you fear for my safety and well being. I'm here to tell you that Mexico made me a passionately curious person, and I couldn't have done it without you.

Among the countless lessons you taught me better than anyone, there's a quick list of promises I am compelled to make. Because of you:

  • I will embrace diversity until the day I die.
  • I will broaden my horizons always, and refuse to believe intellect has a shelf life.
  • I will not wreck somebody's brand new Explorer because they jumped the gun at that four-way.
  • I will push my physical limitations and fail to establish a mental comfort zone.
  • Whether I'm falling out of a plane or kissing codfish, I'm never going to waste a breath of this too short life.
  • I will remember that I have the power to do anything.
    • Change the weather? I'll hop on a plane.
    • Time travel? I'll watch old noir films until my hair rolls into pinup curls.
    • Change the world? Give me five minutes at the mic.
  • Most importantly, I will give to the world what you gave to me: optimism and courage to make things happen.

Love always, Noodlehead.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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