What I’m Thankful My Dad Taught Me

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Growing up, I could not wait to get away from my parents and be my own person. However, I would not have been able to become my own person if I didn’t have my parents alongside me. As a young girl, it seemed as if my mom did practically everything for and with me. She took me shopping, took me to get my nails done, registered me for dance class—you know, typical girly things. So what has my dad been doing for me this whole time? In retrospect, my dad was teaching me things that I will take with me for the rest of my life.

How to braid

It may seem strange, and it may seem like something a mother would teach her daughter, but, as a father to three girls, my dad picked up this skill pretty easily. When it was my turn to learn how to braid, he sat me down with a Cabbage Patch kid doll and taught the weaving techniques that I still use today. Even now when my arms ache from trying to twist and turn my hair, I know I can always count on him to lend a helping hand.

How to jump start a car

As the daughter of a mechanic, I spent a lot of days sitting in a garage watching my dad work in and under cars. It’s safe to say that the smell of gasoline isn’t as repulsing to me as it is to most people. With all those days spent in the garage, it was inevitable that I learned something. I may not be able to change a tire, but knowing how to jump start a car is a pretty handy skill when I’m stuck in a mall parking lot.

How to shoot a gun

Like many dads, mine was in the army. By not hiding the fact that he still had his guns from 25 years ago, he was able to teach me firearm safety. He took me to the range on early Sunday mornings and showed me the correct way to handle guns and how to shoot one properly. My dad is one of the few people I genuinely trust with my life. There is no one else I would have wanted to teach me this trade.

How to stay out of gossip

If your family is anything like mine, they talk…a lot. Whether it’s about other family members or your friends’ family, my family always has something to say about someone. My dad, though, has never been a part of this gossip circle. Half the time he doesn’t even listen to what they are saying. Seeing him so cool and collected during all the commotion has helped me to tune out the chatty, outside voices. He’s shown me that nothing good ever comes out of whispering around the dinner table.

How to be carefree

My dad literally gives zero f—ks about the world. Honestly. And I don’t say this in a negative way, because it’s one of the qualities that I love so much about him. Seeing him act this way while I was growing up has led me to be the independent young woman I am today.

Some dads are subtle in the way they do things and their thoughtful actions often go unnoticed. Without my dad I’m not sure who or where I would be right now. What I do know is that I would not be the same person I am currently. I wouldn’t be able to recognize how awesome The Twilight Zone or 70s rock really is. More importantly, I wouldn’t have a man to lean on whenever times were tough.

I’ve never taken the time to truly appreciate my dad and all that he’s done for me, so if I haven’t said it already, then thank you, Dad. Thank you for everything you’ve given me and everything you have taught me throughout the years. You’re one of the strongest men I know, and I love you so much.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.

Jayna is a junior at The University of Florida studying journalism while earning a minor in innovation. She is undoubtedly a Swiftie and is always looking at cat photos on the internet. Her spare time is spent on Netflix or napping.

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