1. You learn the truth about standing up for yourself. You don’t allow people to walk all over you, take advantage of you, or treat you in a way that makes you feel ‘less than’ ever. You’ve watched from when you were little about the right way to treat people, and then by proxy, the right way to be treated. You’ve been raised to know your value, your worth. And you will not allow people to even attempt to take that away from you.
2. You learn the importance of forgiveness. You have high expectations, you do. But you also can understand that it’s possible to still have self-respect, maintain those standards, and still see that people are just that: people. And people are going to screw up. You’ve seen your dad forgive you time and time and time and TIME again when you maybe didn’t deserve it. So you do the same for others. Because that’s what strong people do.
3. You learn about never settling. You never say, “I guess this is enough.” Enough isn’t in your vocabulary. You’ve learned to expect more, to want more. You’re never satisfied with being stagnant.
4. You learn how to truly respect yourself. Strong fathers want the best for their children, and that starts with a healthy dose and base built on self-respect. No one is going to respect a person who first and foremost does not respect themselves. So, you put exactly that into practice every day. You respect your worth, your boundaries, your moral code, your goals, and you don’t allow anyone to compromise them.
5. You learn that it’s possible to remain strong while still caring for others. Caring and being empathetic are not qualities synonymous with being a pushover or being weak. You learn that there is strength and worth in being able to see and act on and for the value of others. Being able to be there for other people is one of the things that makes you the strongest.
6. You learn to be inspired by challenges, not afraid of them. You get to grow up watching someone who is unafraid of life and, subsequently, unafraid to live. You learn about the importance of not letting fear hold you back from things. Especially the things that you dream about or that propel you forward. You look at challenges and instead of being intimidated, you learn to look at them with excitement. It’s what fuels you.
7. You learn what it’s like to be completely, unconditionally loved. There is no love quite like the unconditional love of a father. From the time when you’re little to the time you’re a grown up, you know you always have him there to depend on, to rely on, to lean on. You can MASSIVELY screw up, and he’ll forgive you. You can completely disappoint yourself and him, and he’ll find a way to move on and move forward. You learn how to forgive, how to let go, and how to love.
8. You learn how to persevere. Fatherhood is extremely challenging and difficult. There are times when he’s pulled in approximately 7,000 different directions and somehow, has to find a way to be the best he can be in all of those situations. The only way you deal with that? The only way you come out of that on top? Perseverance. Strong fathers teach the importance of not backing down just because something’s hard; instead you put your chin up, your shoulders back, and you keep on going.
9. You learn how to be a good man in a storm. Sometimes though, those hard times win. Sometimes, life takes a swing and manages to land a particularly devastating blow. Sometimes, you can’t avoid it and you have to buckle down and weather the storm. But when you learn from a strong father, you learn how to weather that storm. You learn how to stay strong, how to be brave. You learn to be a good man in a storm.
10. You learn what to expect, and what you would want from a man who is a father. Your dad was there for you. A role model, a pinnacle of the values you yourself aspire to have. And even if you don’t notice it automatically, you find yourself drawn to men you surround yourself with having those same values. You were blessed enough to have such an amazing father, and that impression has absolutely influenced the people you surround yourself with now. He showed you how to be brave, fair, kind, gentle, and strong all at the same time. He was being a good leader. And he knew, that by being one, someday you would be the same thing.