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The Most Important Lesson I Ever Learned

I admit it: I've always been a bit of a daddy's girl.

Since the time I was very young, I remember feeling an incredible affection for my father. When I was growing up, he was always a firm but gentle presence.

And although he is an engineer by trade (and a talented one at that), one of his greatest strengths was always as a teacher. 

My dad has an incredible gift for inviting someone into an experience with him. It doesn't matter if he's already done something a thousand times. If he knows that it'syour first time experiencing it, he'll go through each step slowly and carefully, verbalizing the "why" behind it so you really learn how it's done.

I love that about my dad. 

But in all honesty, my favorite lesson that my dad ever taught me wasn't how to accurately find a stud in a wall or how to fix something on my computer.

The best lesson I ever learned from him is something he probably doesn't even know he taught me at all.

My dad helped me know how to be a teacher.

It was his example–not once, not twice, but countless hours of showing patience and a true love for curiosity and inquisitiveness–that helped me cultivate a love for paying my knowledge forward.

Throughout my life, he has shown me that people are most receptive to learning when they feel like they are appreciated, when their voices and perspectives are acknowledged, and when they feel like they have something to contribute, however small.

He's one of the reasons I am who I am today.

I know that fathers come in all shapes, sizes, and manifestations. I know that I have several incredible men who have fathered me along the way–from my father-in-law to close family friends to priests & pastors.

Today, I honor all of them.

But I'm especially grateful to my dad for being one of my first–and still one of my best–teachers. He's inspired me to continue the legacy of teaching-in-real-life for years to come.

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