As someone who was blessed to have a devoted dad, I hope that sharing some of my experiences will encourage other dads and let them know that it truly is the little things that make such a positive impact in your children’s lives. My dad passed away from cancer seven years ago, but I continue to benefit from these lasting gifts that he gave to me:
The Gift of Affection
As a little girl I loved to walk beside my dad, holding his large, strong hand and feeling so safe and loved. He would tickle my face with his beard and offer piggyback rides upstairs to bed. He shared wonderful bear hugs and gave pats on the back and pecks on the cheek.
His affection was also shown through his words. He frequently told me that he loved me and no matter how bad I messed up during a game, he never belittled me during the event, nor did he berate me on the drive home. Rather, he provided constructive criticism and an attempt at humor to cheer me up.
The Gift of Time
I cherish the memories of the times we had alone together, like when he would wake me up at dawn on vacation so we could walk the beach together to watch the sunrise. He understood the importance of spending occasional one-on-one time with each of his two daughters.
Even when it was inconvenient for him, he carved out time for us. I came home from college one Friday night and informed him that I had volunteered his talents to build a take-apart wooden birdhouse for my presentation due that Monday! Somehow he got it done.
The Gift of Teaching by Example
I don’t remember him sitting me down to share important life lessons; rather, I learned so much by watching how he lived his life. Seeing him reading the paper or one of his Louis L’Amour books demonstrated the importance of reading, not only for education, but for enjoyment as well.
He taught me the value of hard work and expected me to pull my weight with the family chores, including shoveling snow, mowing the yard and washing the car. He taught me the fun stuff, too – like how to ride my bike and drive a car. And he encouraged me to think outside the box and follow my dreams.
It’s Never Too Late
I know that dad wasn’t a saint – no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. Nevertheless, he positively impacted my life and played a pivotal role in turning me into the woman that I am today. You can give the same gifts to your children, no matter their ages. Believe me – they’ll appreciate your efforts.