This month we celebrate Father’s Day. A day set aside to honor the men that make a difference in our lives through their presence and actions. Oftentimes, the influence of fathers can be overshadowed in conversations about parenting because society typically places mothering at the forefront. We all know that moms play an extremely important role in child development, but that doesn’t make the contributions of fathers any less significant. The presence of fathers (or father figures) is just as critical and impactful as that of moms. The lessons learned from the fathers in my life have shaped me into the woman and mom that I am today.
This Father’s Day, I honor and celebrate the contributions of the many fathers I’ve been fortunate to have in my life.
My dad teaches me the value of hard work. I have watched him put forth the effort to excel at anything he does. His example instilled in me a strong work ethic and a desire to do everything with excellence. My dad is also a dreamer. If he has an idea he will always give it a try, no matter how wild and crazy it may be to others. His lesson to me: dream big and go for it.
My dad also taught me the basics of money management which established a strong foundation for my future. As little kids, my sister and I had “jobs” and “paid” bills (all fake of course). We even learned how to write checks (relevant at the time) and budget. My dad never shied away from making us pay a higher electric bill if we left the lights on too long. I think he secretly enjoyed annoying us with this one. It was all fun and games, but we learned that our actions had financial repercussions. As I grew older, my dad was honest about his own financial mistakes and encouraged me to do things differently. I’ll never forget those lessons learned.
I was fortunate enough to have three grandpas in my life, each teaching me something different. One taught me the value of education. He and my grandma supported me and others towards earning college and advanced degrees. He also taught me to understand history and its implications for our current lives. Most visits to his house always resulted in conversations about current events and their connection to the past. I always learned something new from him as he rocked in his old recliner, toothpick in hand.
One taught me the value of hard work and caring for others. He worked multiple jobs until he passed away and I saw him spend a lot of time helping other people. He was well known and loved in his community. His impact on those he interacted with every day was apparent and I learned from him the value of lending a helping hand.
One grandpa passed away at an early age from a heart attack. Seeing his life cut short taught me the importance of making healthy choices. How I wish that he could see the impact of his legacy today.
My father-in-law has taught me the power of setting your children up for a strong financial future. My husband and his siblings were able to attend and graduate from college debt-free because of my in-law’s planning and sacrifice. In a world where so many people are saddled with student loan debt, what was an amazing gift he gave his kids. I also admire his creativity. There’s never a dull moment with grandpa. Each time we pick the kids up from his house, there’s always some new contraption that he has built to entertain the kids. He’s taught me that it doesn’t take much to have a lot of fun. A little creativity and undivided attention go a long way.
Last, but certainly not least is my husband. He leads our family with love and compassion. And like his dad, he plans accordingly to ensure the financial security of our family. He teaches me to choose joy daily. Yes, we have bad days and challenges (marriage and parenting aren’t easy), but he somehow always sees the positive and chooses joy. I also admire his ability to prioritize himself. He may not use the word “self-care” to describe his daily bike rides or hobbies, but that’s what he is modeling for me. No matter what’s going on in our lives, he prioritizes himself and invests in his interests. I hope to fully tap into this superpower of his one day.
There’s so much more I could say about these men. The lessons learned from the fathers in my life are priceless. These fathers continue to inspire me. This Father’s Day, I hope they feel loved, honored, and celebrated for who they are and the impact they have had, and will continue to have, on me and those around them.