Daddy's Little Girl
We asked about life lessons from your father; we got touching tributes from lots of "Daddy's Girls."
Look for the Good
When I was 9, Daddy wrote in my new autograph book, "Always look for the good traits in other people." When I asked what "tray-its" were, he smiled and explained. And truthfully, I can't remember him ever saying anything bad about another person.
More than 50 years later, I rarely notice a person's negative traits, either—and what a blessing it's been.
—Joyce Ann Munn, Watts, Oklahoma
The Importance of Giving
My father has always sacrificed for others. Asked once about his never-failing willingness to help other people, he said, "I do what is most needful."
I often remember his simple statement when I feel tired or inconvenienced. My father is truly an example of God's love working through others.
—Jane Letcher, Richfield, Minnesota
A Different Way
Kindergarten was going great—until we had to learn to tie our shoes. I practiced diligently for weeks at recess and at home with Mom, but my fingers always fumbled. It seemed I'd never see my name with everyone else's on the "Shoe Tying" bulletin board.
That is, until Daddy stepped in.
"Let's try it a different way," he said. Sitting with me on the stairs, he had me make two identical loops to tie together. A beautiful bow—on my very first try! The next day, my name, on red paper, was stapled up by everyone else's.
Dad's wise words, "Let's try it a different way," rescued me again years later as I sweated through the driving instructor's 12 steps for parallel parking. "Just feel it," Dad advised, demonstrating exactly how far to pull up, then back and turn the wheel. I did it! And with just a little more practice, I easily passed my driver's test.
—Kim Sheard, Fairfax, Virginia
Bridge to the Past
When my mom was recovering from surgery, Dad got me ready for school each morning. He was a pretty good cook, but I especially enjoyed hearing memories from his rural Arkansas boyhood.
Dad remembered going barefoot in summer to save his only pair of shoes for school, and riding out tornadoes in nearby caves. He hunted and fished to help feed their large family. Their laundry was hauled to a nearby pond, where his mom boiled water and scrubbed heavy overalls with homemade soap.
My father has since passed on, but I'll always treasure his memory, and those stories he shared.
—Joan Hunt, Lebanon, Oregon
Daddy was a skilled builder, so when I'd draw houses with leaning chimneys—he'd joke, "Don't tell anyone what your dad does for a living!"
Still, he saved one drawing for many years. And, maybe because I was adopted, that always made me feel extra special.
—Joann Kennedy, Seminole, Florida
Outdoors and In
Though I'm well into my 30s, I'm still Daddy's girl. I find great comfort in lounging with him in his oversized snuggle chair for a cribbage game, a puzzle or hours of chat about nothing in particular. Dad instilled in me a great love and respect for the outdoors. With my three brothers grown and gone, he spent hours teaching me how to hunt. His face gleamed with pride when I'd outshoot all the men at a competition.
A Korean War veteran, he showed me the importance of a life of character, and the actions and generosity that reflect a life lived for Christ. Though we've given him plenty of opportunity, he's never once said, "I told you so"—he was always there to pick us up and dust us off.
I thank God for every day—and every snuggle—I continue to enjoy with my Dad.
—Roxanne Brooks, Rhinelander, Wisconsin
A Sense of Independence
My hardworking, dairy-farmer dad passed on enough lessons that I could probably fill your entire magazine. He taught me how to deliver a calf during a difficult labor, drive a tractor and digger, clean out the calf barn, run the milking equipment, do the book work, know when I could treat a sick cow and to recognize when to call the vet, pronto.
Dad gave me determination and a sense of responsibility. He trusted my decisions, which taught me to stand on my own two feet. Before he passed away in 2005, he taught me that I could handle whatever life threw at me. Thanks, Dad—I love you.
—Stephanie Rivers, Breckenridge, Minnesota
One Step Ahead
Dad taught me to one-step. Simple as that may sound, it really represented more than a dance step to me.
When you grow up on a farm, there are always chores to be done. Time and money are often tight. But somehow Dad found enough of both to take our family old-time dancing each fall and winter. We learned to dance while learning the importance of family. And it also taught us to take life "one step" at a time.
This picture shows Dad and me sharing a waltz at my wedding.
—Lana Zimbelman, Juneau, Alaska
Trust in Dad
The small community where I grew up had few jobs. Like many men, Dad had to work away from home, often for up to a month. Sometimes he was home for only a day or two. But that was plenty of time to teach me the meaning of trust, hope and unconditional love.
Beach bag or fishing rod in hand and friends in tow, I'd wait at the door for him to take us somewhere as soon as he got home. Never mind that he'd captained a boat most of the night, then driven 6 or 7 hours to get home.
I don't recall him ever saying no. And he could find—or fix—anything, even my tiny gold ring lost in tall wild grasses and shrubs.
—Robyn Beaudry, Portugal Cove, St. Philips, Newfoundland
Thanks to Dad, my three sisters and I all love music. Dad was always singing or whistling—if he was quiet, you knew he was upset! On our Sunday drives, he'd sing the whole way, teaching us the songs.
My sister Daphne eventually helped Dad put together The Coe Family Songbook, which includes both traditional verses and the lyrics he'd make up when he forgot the words to a song. We grew up singing both.
Summer campfires often included a rousing singalong—and we always brought extra lyric sheets for other campers, too. Dad passed away 10 years ago. Though it took some time, we now sing his songs with joy, knowing he's singing along.
—Barbara Turner Kelowna, British Columbia
My father, a real man's man, never did anything domestic. So we were surprised when he came home from work one day and asked Mom to bring him a threaded needle, cloth and button.
He quickly stitched the button to the cloth. But the important thing, he said, was to then wind the thread around the stitches, under the button, about three times before finishing. "Sewn that way, a button should stay on indefinitely," he announced.
He was right! Years later, I still sew buttons on that same way.
—Sharon Ward, Kaysville, Utah
Share your own father-daughter stories below.