Another time we went canoeing in the Delaware River, above the gap. We were all still very young and all were strong swimmers at this point. He loaded us into the canoe and took us to the middle of river. He jumped out, tipped the canoe, and swam to shore. While he was swimming he yelled to us to figure out how to get the canoe to shore and get the water out of it. Not only did we have to master the physical task, but we had to work together to accomplish the goal.
When I got older, he was my driving teacher. I was pretty fearful of driving a car and he taught me to make my intentions known and then commit to the action. I still hear him in my head every time I pull out into heavy traffic and feel a little anxious. But just learning to drive wasn't enough. He made me learn to change a tire all by myself and change the oil. I have used these skills many times and am so thankful that I can be self-reliant when necessary.
My dad was a volunteer fire fighter for many, many years and sold firetrucks. We tagged along with him to the firehouse and even to a couple of fires. I don't think my mom approved, but he knew we could handle it. He took us to his office, to the firetruck plant and even to the Fire Chiefs' Convention. These experiences gave me such confidence as I entered the workforce and encountered male-dominated cultures. I can hold my own in the best and worst of company. This was possible because my dad let me watch him handle all kinds of people.
My dad never referred to us as "princesses." We were his daughters and were expected to be strong, tough, and self confident. Together with him we camped, swam, skied, learned car maintenance and cleaned gutters. We are all so lucky to have a dad who expected so much of us.
Happy Father's Day!