Things I learned from my Dad – A Father’s Day Tribute

Dad, letting his daughters put barrettes and ribbons in his hair

Happy Father’s Day to the best Dad in the world…Pretty Handy Dad! That’s him above, sitting patiently while my sisters and I braided and ponytailed his hair.

My Dad is a pretty amazing guy. I met him in the delivery room the day I was born. For those of you that were born in the early 70’s, having the father in the delivery room was pretty rare. Normally they stood guard by the waiting room door waiting for news of the birth of their child. But, not my Dad, he was there for every one of his daughter’s births.

Dad welcoming me into the world

The best advice my dad ever gave me was not necessarily in spoken words. It was more of a belief he had that was evident while I was growing up.

My dad taught me that there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do if I put my mind to it. He taught me how to do anything that he would have taught a son (if he had one.)

When I was four my parents decided to add onto our house by taking off the roof and building a second floor. This renovation took many years and many phases to complete. But, along the way he always made me feel like I was involved in the process. My father never told me that I couldn’t do anything because I was a girl. Quite the contrary, he was always showing me the tools he was using and how to use them.

Me with the floor nailer in the addition

As an eight year old, he showed me how to re-wire an outlet. I didn’t exactly retain that knowledge, but I retained the message that he knew this was something that I could handle.

A few years later, my dad helped my girl scout troup earn a new patch. He showed us the basic parts of an automobile and how to care for it. I have to laugh because at the time we were a bunch of 10 year old girls standing on milk crates and crowded around a Datsun 810 engine. Despite the fact that we weren’t old enough to drive, he sent the unspoken message to each of us, that car maintenance was something that we could learn. I guarantee that we were the only troop in the Washington, DC area to earn that patch. Actually, come to think of it, I don’t think they even had an automobile care patch!

As a teenager my father taught me how to change the oil and take care of the family car.

When I was 19, I bought my first car. He went with me, but let me handle the inspection, tire kicking, and negotiating. When the car salesman talked directly to my father, he reminded him that “My daughter is the one buying the car. Talk to her.”

Growing up with these kind of lessons has made me a confident woman. And it has helped form my mantra: “If a human being can do it, then there is a 95% chance that I can do it too!”

I hope my father is a role model to all father’s out there. Treat your girls as equals and they will move mountains one day! Involve your children in the tasks that you perform daily and it will give them the confidence to take on anything!

I love you Dad. Happy Father’s Day!

Brittany aka

P.s. I’d love to hear some stories about how great the fathers in your life are! Leave me a comment to share your story.


  1. hi Brittany – our dads could have been brothers. My dad had 2 daughters and he also instilled in us the confidence that we could do anything. I’m also always saying that if a human can do it there’s 99% chance I can do it! I ended up studying a bachelor of engineering as a result of dad’s belief and guidance. I still have my massive set of technical lego that he bought me as a child!
    have a lovely father’s day with your family
    cheers Fiona

  2. So sweet! Such a lovely story about your Dad! I am fortunate too to have a Dad that was and IS always willing to help. Growing up my favorite memory with my Dad is watching him build things. He would ask me for design advice. And he could build anything. He still comes to me for design advice. :) We also had Saturday “lunch dates” with him, myself, and my sister. There’s nothing like a “Daddy’s girl”.

  3. What a wonderful tribute to your Dad! He sounds like an awesome man. Hope you and your family enjoy this Fathers Day Sunday. Cheers!

  4. What a special tribute to a special dad! xoxoxo

  5. Queen Mary says:

    What a great story! The girl scout part made me laugh because I was a girl scout leader and we did have an auto care badge! I learned pretty early on that as the girl’s got older, they appreciated learning from someone other than myself — probably some female identity separation thing — so I asked our car mechanic if he would do it for me. He was younger, did not yet have his own kids, and came from a cultural background wherein women really pretty much ran the roost and the men the world; he was extremely nervous! I sent him the requirements for the badge and said so long as he covered all those points, we’d be good. Well my girls had such a blast with him! They asked questions and he answered them, they made jokes and he laughed, he made jokes and then they laughed and he relaxed and everyone had so much fun the parents with me were amazed and the odd customer was enthralled. As I was explaining what our mechanic was doing with all these young girls, I heard them call out to me to look at them — Steve had put them on the air lift thing and raised it for them as a ride! All I could think of was that I hadn’t gotten a “risky activity” permission slip and I almost gagged! They were laughing, loving the whole thing — especially my reaction! They came away empowered and I was convinced more than ever that having people other than myself help with badges was much better than having them learn from one person.

    • Queen Mary, Oh how cool! I was racking my brain and searched through all my patches but couldn’t find the auto care one. AND Oh my goodness, I just had a total mom reaction to the “risky activity!” Thanks so much for sharing your story.

  6. How awesome! My dad taught me pretty much the same things your dad taught you… there were no “female limitations”, etc. I worked on my car, also, and do all of my own home projects but know I can ask him when I need advice. His mantra is also “You can do anything you want to do, you just have to want to do it.” He comes to my house to borrow my tools and even asked my advice on a project last week – I’m still surprised but proud!

    Have a great day!

  7. I love this post! My dad was the opposite of yours, but in a very loving way. I was the pampered little girl who shouldn’t climb trees or mow the grass. But now he’s proud of me when I help him figure out things like using a hairdryer to soften caulk so it can be removed!

  8. What a sweet story!! You are so lucky to have a wonderful dad. I love the newborn picture – so sweet!

  9. What a beautiful tribute! My dad was a contractor and I remember when he brought me to ‘bring your daughter to work day’ and I learned how to use a slam hammer … so much fun and empowering. :)

  10. I didn’t get to meet my dad until I was 14 months old…I was a “war baby” and dad was overseas when I was born. I’ve always said that “I’m the only son my father ever had” as there were just my sister and I. I followed dad everywhere and was always his “right hand man” when he was doing anything. He taught me how to use tools and the habit that “you always put them back where they belong when you’re done.” I spent a lot of time in his workshop making doll beds, chairs, and all sorts of stuff. The neighbors always marveled that he’d let a “little girl” use his tools when he wasn’t there to supervise. Dad would just smile and say “She knows how to use them and how to be careful with them.” I was also his hunting buddy and learned how to hunt and shoot at an early age. I always remember my 14th birthday present.. While most girls that age were getting makeup and “girly stuff”, dad got me a 22 caliber rifle…. and I thought I was “queen of the world”!!!
    The first weekend after I bought a car was spent learning how to check fluids, change the oil and rotate the tires. Dad was a firm believer that “if you can’t take care of it, you shouldn’t have it.”
    We lost him to cancer 33 years ago, but I always feel that he isn’t far away when I’m out in our workshop helping hubby or making something myself. He’d always say, “If you’re going to do something, do it right the first time and then you won’t have to go back and fix it later.” Love you dad!!!!

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