Dear Dads: We're Awesome, Because You're Awesome

4w_monFB_560x292_060914bAs we prepare for Father’s Day this coming Sunday, I’ve asked a few members of the 4word team to share about some of the Dads in their lives. I love this opportunity to hear about the special men who help shape current and future 4word women.  I hope you enjoy their stories as much as I do! -Diane.

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4worddads2014-ashleyE2Ashley. I can proudly say that at the age of 27, I am still a daddy’s girl! The older I get, the more I appreciate all he has done and continues to do for our family. He is one of the most genuine, kind-hearted, and servant minded people I know. Something I have always admired of him is his ability to put others before himself. My dad taught me what a God-seeking husband and father look like, the importance of a good education, the value of sticking to a promise, and how to seek God earnestly for myself.

All my life, my dad has been the biggest and best supporter, encourager, coach, mentor, spiritual guide, and friend a girl could ask for. He is the smartest guy I know. I could call him at any time of day, with the most random question, and for somehow he always has an answer I can trust. Even if sometimes, he is just making it up.

There are not enough words to describe how incredibly blessed I feel to call him my father. Every time I think back on growing up in a home with such loving and supportive parents, I can’t help but wonder where I would be without their gentle nudges in the right direction, and their gentle words and as they helped me discover my own path. Next to my husband, my dad is my favorite guy.

Happy Father’s day to the best dad in the world! Dad, I wish I could be there with you to celebrate, but I hope these words are a glimpse into how much I love you.

4worddads2014-betsyBetsy. My two children are so blessed with a tender-hearted, family-focused dad, my husband Clayton. I love that Clayton stretches to love me and our children in our “love languages”. He talks to the kids about his faith and makes sure they see it in action, praying and celebrating the answers, serving at church, teaching them to see with God’s eyes. He shows his love with words of encouragement, very thoughtful gifts, and best of all, quality time.

Our son Austin, 8, adores his father and loves “cuddle time” in front of Shark Tank or American Pickers before bed. The guys share a secret made-up language, UTA KORNZA, and a father/son secret handshake. When Olivia, now 10, would lose her precious Elmo bedtime buddy as a little girl, Dad always made her giggle by pretending he couldn’t find Elmo, though his head was clearly sticking out of the neck of Dad’s shirt. My husband does not love dancing – and we have a pact that I’ll never make him – yet he took Olivia to a Daddy/Daughter dance. When I asked Olivia for the details, she shared that when she danced with Daddy to a slow song, she was so happy she wanted to cry.

We all love Clayton’s family “adventures” on the weekends. They’re mystery trips revealed only after we’re buckled in and on our way.  Whether we end up treasure-hunting for “a piece of history” at estate sales, unveiling season passes to an amusement park, or breakfast at a quirky diner patronized by bikers, we know our family has the most fun because of Dad’s creative planning.

4worddads2014-sandra_edited-1Sandra. OK, I know this is a cliche’ but my dad is my hero. He was raised on a Southern family farm in an era of tough love and hard work. No one ever gave him any opportunities and he has earned anything he has ever had. In fact, I’m pretty sure he rarely received any encouragement at all as he was growing up in his large family.

Now fast forward and I was raised by that father who worked super hard to provide for HIS family. I was the oldest of all girls and I was always with my dad. I went hunting, fishing, worked outside with him, and loved it when he asked me to go along on errands. I remember climbing up in his truck and being proud that he invited me.

As I got older and looked back at my dad through adult eyes, there were several things that occurred to me and made me respect him even more, which I didn’t think was possible. Even though my dad was raised in the era of no emotion and VERY traditional gender roles, he raised me in a gender neutral way and told me always that I could do and be whatever I chose. He insisted from my early childhood that I focus on academics so I could go to college, even though he never had a chance.

Today, I give him the credit for my career success. He taught me the importance of having a very strict work ethic. I remember him getting up at 4:30am and driving 90 minutes to work because that is what he had to do. By watching him, I learned how to speak to anyone, anytime, about anything. I remember seeing him to talk to people for 45 minutes or so and I would ask, “Daddy, who was that.” He would answer, “Oh, I’m not sure. It was a nice man who needed some help with a project.” To this day, even though he is in his 70s, he takes care of the widows from church by fixing things for them and taking them fresh vegetables from his garden. He would literally give anyone the shirt, pants, and socks off his back!

Mostly importantly, he loved me…he loved me in the best way he could figure out how, even though he didn’t really have an example of how to do it. I love my dad. I love him for the man he was to me as a child, the man he is now to me, and especially the grandfather he is to my children.

I love you, Dad. Happy Father’s Day!