My Dad Taught Me A Lesson

My dad taught me all of the things a girl needs to know about things girls aren’t supposed to know because they’re not boys.

It didn’t matter that I was a girl; my dad wanted to share his interests with me and taught me things that were typically of interest to boys. He spent one-on-one time with me horseback riding, fishing, camping, and hunting, and took me with him to work; all of which left a lasting impression on me.

He was a good teacher because he could relate to kids’ thought process and was very patient. Many times he would drop what he was doing to teach me something. He usually demonstrated whatever it was he wanted me to learn to ensure I understood. One time I asked what the difference was between diesel fuel and straight gas and he did an experiment to show how each burns, which I’ve never forgotten.

It was my dad who showed me how to properly build a campfire, tie up a horse with a slip knot, and tie a fish hook on my fishing line. He demonstrated his techniques for breaking a colt and important do’s and don’ts for handling a horse. He shared his tricks for hunting, catching and cleaning fish, how to save space when packing for a trip, and how to load pack saddles evenly for horseback trips when my family camped in the Big Horns.

The first time I watched my dad skip a rock across the water I was in awe. He showed me what a good skipping rock looks like and taught me how to make them skip. He made sure I knew the proper way to use and fold a pocket knife and handle a gun safely. I learned a clever trick for deboning fish before eating them, the right way to field dress and skin a deer, and how to butcher my own game into steaks, roasts and burger, all from my dad.

As a teenager, I was expected to buy my own car so I would take better care of it and appreciate it more. He always helped me find a decent car to drive and went with me to the bank when I got my first car loan. When it came to doing mechanical or maintenance work, instead of doing it for me, he showed me how to do it myself. I changed the oil, air filters, and brake pads; replaced a broken rear windshield, and rotated tires by myself under his instruction.

I grew up believing in myself and that I was capable of doing anything I wanted to if I just decided I could because my dad believed I could. I learned from his example that the only limitations that existed were in my mind and that complaining doesn’t get a person very far. Because of my dad, I believed I was mentally and physically tougher than a lot of the boys my age.

What he didn’t teach me but that I learned from him anyway, was how to work hard, do a job beyond people’s expectations, and not take myself too seriously. My dad was good about always emphasizing what he felt was important for a girl to know growing up; me.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there; you know how to make a girl feel good.

originally published June 13-19, 2010

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