Abataye, (My Father) is the best Dad a girl could ask for. I must say., He doesn’t hear it enough. I think father’s are sometimes under appreciated and we take their existence for granted. We often see our father’s as an enforcer ( which I do/ did). But as a young woman, I see more clearly the important role my father has had in my life.
My dad and I have a pretty awesome relationship. He is a dad, a friend, a confidant. We argue, often, he lectures me, often, and reminds me (quite regularly) who the parent in this relationship is. Along the way he has taught me to follow my dreams, work hard, stand up for myself and to never fear anything. He has taught me about life and how to remain balanced. He has shared his wisdom from his life experiences and always helps me navigate my way through the complexities of life. We have engaged in endless political, theoretical and philosophical debates. Each discussion teaches me something new and gives me a different perspective.
My father also took the initiative (along with my mother) to teach me how to take pride in my culture. He especially played a role in me learning Amharic. He insisted that we speak only Amharic in the house. He took extra effort to make sure that no one ever made me feel bad if I mispronounced a word. He simply allowed me to continue because he was confident that I would figure out the correct pronunciation. Even today, when I say a new word in Amharic he tends not to correct me. This is because he truly does believe we will figure it out and if we start to be corrected for every little thing we will lose confidence. That was another major lesson he taught me. How to be confident and fearless.
My father is also not the traditional or typical Ethiopian man. Although he tends have strict views, he’s also very much about empowering his daughters. He showed us respect, emphasized the importance of education and how to be confident. They say that the way a father treats his daughter is a reflection of the type of man a girl will tend to marry. I know my father raised and treated me well and I expect no less from my future husband. The bar has been set high and I will accept no less. Whenever anything in my life felt like it was going wrong, Dad was the one I would run crying to. (literally).
I owe much of my success to my father’s tireless efforts. He always pushed me to reach my limit and even surpass it. Whenever I was scared or had fears growing up I knew I could go to Daddy. He always some how knew exactly what to say to make whatever it was that was bothering me go away. He still does. I appreciate that and love that.
So Daddy, Happy Father’s Day! and Happy Father’s day to all the Dads out there from EthiopianAmericanGirl!