I always sort of wondered growing up why my dad was so grouchy. I guess as a child a stern and strict father comes off that way.
I remember thinking a few times that he was mean and wondering why he wasn’t as easy to please (or get along with) as my mom.
Don’t get me wrong, my dad was an excellent provider, he was loving and nurturing and always very involved in our activities and our education.
But, as a little girl I didn’t understand that my dad’s strictness and his no-tolerance attitude towards misbehavior or disrespect were his way of showing his love.
I realize now, though, that through his discipline and his rules he was showing us the best love he knew how. He wasn’t being mean or grouchy. And he most certainly wasn’t being a bad dad. Rather, he was teaching us lessons we would look back on when making important decisions as teenagers and adults.
His rules about school being our first priority and never procrastinating to finish our homework transferred into my college education and, now, my career.
His demands that we do our best to keep our rooms clean and help around the house, despite our greatest effort to get out of it, have taught me about taking care of the things I own and value.
By making me take part in caring for our animals he was teaching me to be responsible for something or someone other than myself.
And by teaching me to be respectful of my elders, tolerant of those different than me, gentle with those who are ill and prayerful of those in need, he made me a loving, mature and kind person.
It’s easy to see now that the punishments, the rules, the expectations and, yes, even the spankings were all my dad’s way of loving me enough to make me the best young woman he could.
So, big thanks go to him and all the other dads who are good at showing that tough love.
And, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there whether by blood or by choice.