Thanks ... I Think
By Penny Wiegert
Every Father’s Day people write tributes to their dads. There is also a lot of advice dished out by those who missed having the example or influence of a father. Our society also has varying opinions of the role of fathers. 
And if the aliens from outer space are trying to figure out human fatherhood I pray they don’t look too close at entertainment media which tends to treat dads in the extreme, portraying them either as gods or the resident dolt. 

My dad always made things make sense.
And he never made me feel like I shouldn’t be there.

But I shouldn’t be too hard on the entertainment industry. Perhaps they have the same problem I do when it comes to characterizing a father. My dad is such a mixture of what we expect a dad to be. And the older I get, the more I realize that his most admirable traits almost became a handicap for me. 
Let me explain.
My dad was always a teacher even though I didn’t realize I was being taught. I was always trotting off to see what he was up to because it didn’t take long to figure out that when my mom was showing me the proper way to iron a shirt or wash dishes (glasses, first, then plates, pans, etc.,) it was work! And the way my mom taught was that if you didn’t do it right you were going to do it again. 
Out in the garage or down in the basement things there always seemed more exciting. 
Maybe it was the mechanics of maintaining the mower or the car, or maybe it was that helping dad made it okay to get dirty that made helping dad more attractive. I’m not entirely sure. Either way, I always seemed to come away from a day with dad knowing something new that was cool. My dad always made things make sense. And he never made me feel like I shouldn’t be there.
I learned to mow a lawn, navigate a ditch, drive a tractor, shoot a gun, bait a hook, load shells, hunt for food and dress the catch whether it was a pheasant or a bluegill. My dad taught me how to change my oil, check and change my tires, diagnose bad brakes and banter with the neighbors.
My dad taught me how to bake bread, plant a garden, read the signs of nature for rain and when to add certain nutrients to make the soil just right for a good tomato. My dad taught me how to preserve fruits and vegetables, how to sense insincerity, and the value of honesty. And much to the chagrin of my mom, dad helped multiplication make sense without memorizing.
He taught me how to make change, tell a good joke, whistle, bid at an auction, recognize a bargain and a lie, and return a favor.
I didn’t need too many rules of the road because my dad taught me how to get out of a skid, find the center of the car and drive in a demolition derby. He taught me that I had to stand up for myself and make decisions I could live with. 
And never, ever were there limitations on what I could know or aspire to achieve because I was a girl. If I were to make a spreadsheet of great achievements and miserable failures, the fact that my dad was equal opportunity would probably end up in both columns. 
When I got older, I found out that sometimes women were at a disadvantage or were treated as inferior. That was not what dad said. and I believed him. Work hard, do your best and be what you want.
Dad didn’t tell me that all dads didn’t tell their daughters these things. He never said that not all dads were teachers and doers and buddies of their daughters. He didn’t tell me that all dads weren’t like him. My dad didn’t give me answers, he gave me the tools to find them. He never said that there were dads who didn’t. 
So even though my dad didn’t tell me that all dads were supposed to love and teach their kids to become adults, I still say thanks … I think.
Happy Father’s Day.