1. Family first.
It is a simple concept. My father has always put his family first and I am beyond thankful for all that he does for us. It wasn’t until I left for college that I realized the importance of family and how wonderful it truly is. Family is always there for each other.
2. Your life amounts to the quality of your life, not the quantity in your bank account.
Money does not buy happiness; it never will. There is so much more to life than the amount of money you have.
3. Girls can, too.
With two older sisters and my mom, my father lives in a female-dominant household. He taught us how to throw a football and play softball. He spent hours coaching our basketball teams. He is always our number-one fan and encourager.
4. Hard work pays off.
There is no way my dad could ever take no for an answer. He has worked hard to build a life for my sisters and I, and he is an amazing role model. I was never the student that did spectacular in school, but he never failed to tell me that if I tried my best that’s all he could ask for. Turns out that in the end, he was definitely right.
5. It is OK to make mistakes.
No one is perfect. Although my father is very stubborn, he will most likely admit when he is wrong. Every stupid, silly mistake that I made growing up is now looked at as a learning experience. You are allowed to fail without being a failure.
6. Be adventurous, because you only live once.
Whether it’s running 12 full marathons, reaching Everest Base Camp, or trying a new food, there is nothing too small or too big standing in your way. Throughout my life, I hope to live just as adventurously as my father does.
7. A sense of humor is the best accessory.
I have learned many things from my dad, but this is definitely one that I try to live by every day. Do what makes you happy and be with those who make you smile. “Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.”
8. If you do not ask, the answer will always be no.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You are doing yourself a favor by asking all those questions. Don’t be discouraged if you do not know the answer to something.
9. No matter the distance, you’ll always be welcome at home.
My sisters and I left for school and went far, far away from the lovely state of New Jersey, leaving my parents as “empty nesters.” It is the best feeling in the world to know that no matter where I go or what happens to me, I will always have a place to call my own. Every time I leave home, I know that I will have you waiting for me at the airport.
10. Mind over matter.
This lesson is the one that I am the most thankful for. My dad has always dealt with things positively, no matter the situation. All the struggles that come your way, no matter how big or small, begin and end in your mind. What you give power to will have power over you if you allow it.
So Dad, thank you. Thank you for always being there for me and always encouraging me. Thank you for teaching me right from wrong. There is definitely something special between a father and his little girl that can never be replaced.
Thanks for being my best friend and my number-one fan. I love you!