Father figures show up everywhere throughout life.  Teachers, coaches, uncles, brothers – some are wayward and unpredictable, while others are inspirational and unforgettable.

I’m lucky to have a father who is always there for whatever I need.  He is the wisest person I know.  I’m sure lots of people can say that about their fathers, the way they think their child is the cutest, most brilliant kid ever, but dad really is.  His wisdom has shaped the person I am today.

My favorite piece of advice he’s given me is to never let other people define who you are.  When I’m an outcast in a situation or people just don’t understand where I’m coming from, I remember this.

When I was a freshman in college and was clearly about to have a nervous breakdown, he asked me what was wrong.  I reluctantly told him of the possibility that I might fail a class, the ultimate torment for a kid used to stellar grades.  He looked at me and very matter-of-factly said, “So?”  That was it.  I expected deep, dark disappointment and instead, with one word, he freed me from the need to be perfect.

And to top it all off, he’s the most well-groomed man I know.  Men in my life have a lot to live up to.

Today, celebrate the father figure who helped shape you into the person you have become.  Happy Father’s Day!