Sunday, June 16, 2013

I Love my Dad

©Nancy E. Banks
          One of my earliest and fondest memories is of sitting on the floor of my dad's workshop, behind the table saw, nailing together two-by-four scraps. Dad had given me the lumber, hammer (adult size), and nails, showed me how to hammer a nail, and left me to it. I was not yet five years old, and I hit my thumb about seven times for every time I hit the nail head. It was extremely painful, but I didn't cry. I suspected that if I did, Dad would take away the hammer and nails, and no way was I going to give up the bliss of being allowed to hammer nails into wood.

          Dad has always done me the honor of seeing my abilities first, rather than my gender. He showed me how to use tools, rather than preventing me from learning important life skills because "girls don't do that." When I demonstrated an ability to read diagrams and assemble objects, he pointed me to the unassembled bandsaw he'd just ordered, handed me the assembly instructions, showed me how to use a socket wrench,  and left me to it. And then, when I'd finished the assembly, he plugged it in and started sawing, trusting completely that I had put the thing together correctly.

          Dad has given me lots of gifts over the years, but this has been perhaps the most precious. He believes I can do anything. And over the years, I have done a lot of things—successfully—that I personally knew for a fact I couldn't do when I undertook to do them. Why did I succeed? because Dad believed in me and he'd taught me how to use tools and tackle problems and I didn't want to disappoint him.

          Thanks, Dad.

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