What My Father Means to Me by Lydia (10th grade)
 
This week’s guest blog is from the winning 10th grader in our Kansas City essay contest:

Father and daughter (8-10) cycling on dirt track in countryside,When I am asked what my father means to me, I think of more than all the soccer games he watched, practices he drove to, and learning to ride my bike in our cul-de-sac. What I do think of is all the little things that make my dad different from the other game-watching, practice-driving dads who also taught their kids to ride bikes when they were six.

While most dads take their kids on a bike ride around a park nearby, my dad took us on a bike ride that was supposed to be 7 miles with breakfast at the end, which became a nice 23-mile ride with a breakfast that was not worth it.

My friends came back from summer break with tales of their adventures at Disneyland. I returned with stories that I found equally if not more thrilling, of spending the week on my grandparents’ property in Stockton, Missouri, with my cousins—seeing nests of owls and vultures, finding mushrooms, and visiting “Big Brutus,” the world’s largest dragline in the middle of nowhere Kansas. No matter what we were doing, my dad always led us off the beaten path.

With every detour my dad took, I became a more diverse person. While some did lead to dead ends, literally, more often than not they led to an adventure that was more thrilling to me than Chuck E. Cheese.

[tweet_box]With every detour my dad took, I became a more diverse person. – Lydia, grade 10 #JustBeDad[/tweet_box]

While my father rarely misses a soccer game, takes me to the majority of my practices and did, in fact, teach me to ride my bike, he is much more than just “one of those dads.” He has made an impact on me, turning me into the well-rounded person I am today.

I mean really, [tweet_dis]how many people do you know that have been “banjoed to bed”?[/tweet_dis]

Dads, we never know what things we do will make those lasting memories with our children. Sometimes the unexpected, unplanned activities are the ones they’ll remember the most. But more than that, sharing our passions and interests with our kids is something they’ll cherish.
That doesn’t mean we force our kids into pursuing what we like or expect them to enjoy the same hobbies we have. But we can be very intentional about looking for activities and pastimes we might enjoy together: bicycling or chess, woodworking or gardening, music or flying or volleyball or working on cars, or something else.
It may take some trial and error to figure it out. And it might mean you try some new things yourself now and then. But even the search for an activity you can do together can be part of the shared experience.

Just Be Yourself. Just Be Dad.