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I had another post lined up to go live this morning, but this thought has been in the back of my mind for hours, so here we go.
It’s International Women’s Day and while many are talking about the power of a strong woman, I want to talk about someone else. My message is to you, dads. Yep, men, I’m writing this for you. So, take a deep breath, say a little prayer of understanding, and come with me to another time and place…
In the 70’s, a rag tag bunch of boys were growing up in Utah County. They skied Sundance instead of going to class, took over Glade’s in Spanish on Friday nights, camped all over the state, built trucks, and “owned” the Widow-maker at the Point of the Mountain. They were hunters, laborers, fishermen, dirt bikers, and back road gypsies. Mountain men, born and bred with broad shoulders and tools in their hands. They loved life and lived it to the fullest. When the 80’s rolled around, they slowly but surely became husbands and fathers.
Each of the friends had a little boy… but one of them got me.
Dad’s buddies teased him relentlessly about having a girl.
Trade in your gun for a tea cup, man!
A dirt-bike is no place for a princess.
But, that’s not what he did.
Daddy raised me loud and proud.
He had a daughter, and he loved her with all his big manly heart.
I grew up with the knowledge that I could do anything in this world that I wanted to, because I had a father who told me so. There was no obstacle to big, no river to deep, and no fight I couldn’t win with my dad on my side.
Instead of giving up his hobbies or leaving me home to go with the guys, he went against the flow and took me along.
He taught me to catch a fish, shoot a gun, ride a motorcycle, change a tire, use power tools, lay a floor, find north in the mountains, chew a straw, whittle a whistle from a reed, and much to my grandma’s dismay, he even taught me how to spit. Dad showed me it was ok to get my hands dirty. He taught me how to work so I would understand that satisfied feeling you get when you crash at the end of a long, hard, fulfilling day. He put a guitar in my hands and sang along with a sparkle of pride in his eyes while I clumsily played his beloved John Denver songs around the campfire.
My dad took me on jobs and introduced me to his customers as “his best helper”. He made sure everyone knew when I accomplished something. He made the world stop and listen. He planted a seed in my heart, and every time he spoke a kind word, that tiny seed was nourished and nurtured.
I can’t think of a time in my entire life that I didn’t know my daddy was proud of me.
When my five brothers slowly came along, nothing changed.
My spot as a most precious jewel in my dad’s crown was welded in strong.
I was HIS just like they were.
Slowly, but surely over the years, my dad proved to his buddies that having a daughter can be one of the most wonderful gifts a man can be given. He believed it. He knew it, but more importantly than that, I knew it.
Why do I tell you this?
What on Earth does a dad have to do with International Women’s Day?
Because fathers, you have power.
Dads, YOU have the ability to change a woman’s life.
YOU have the power to raise a daughter to know her worth.
YOU have it in YOU to create a generation of women who understand who they are and whose they are.
So, what can YOU do?
Don’t just think it, show it.
Be proud of who they are and tell everyone you can.
Ingrain all the way deep down into her soul that she is the greatest thing that ever happened to you.
That being a father, though hard as it may be, is the best job you’ve ever had.
Take her to work, teach her, hug her, spend time with her.
Because when a man loves his daughter, and I mean truly and unashamedly loves his daughter…
That man changes the world.
It all starts with you.