Lifestyle

The Gift of Fathers

We asked some of our friends to write about how their fathers helped nurture and encourage their creative abilities.

EMILY

It is easy for me to reflect on times that my dad has nurtured and encouraged my creative talents, simply because there has never been a time he has not done so. He bought me my first camera, without a single hesitancy about my ambitions with photography. When I wanted to enter a last-minute art contest, he quickly arranged for my images to be printed and I found them waiting on my bed just in time. My dad never questioned my desire to pursue a degree in photography. He has been a willing subject matter in front of the camera from time to time. Never once has he brought up concerns of money, success, or talent. I know that my dad’s devotion to my creative talents is rooted in his desire for me to be happy.

In full circle, it was experiences with my dad that inspired my final Bachelor of Fine Art project that I completed as part of my college graduation from Utah Valley University. This picture is the two of us on the opening night of my show. Without my dad, I may not have experienced this project. Without my dad, I may not have experienced photography. 

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HILLARY

My Dad has always encouraged me to dream big and run wild with my ideas.  Unbeknownst to me in my childhood, he molded my mind to think that the possibilities truly are endless. 

Creativity is not just an art form. He has shown me a way to be creative with obstacles, and turn them into opportunities. Instead of feeling stressed about a sold out event and wondering how the heck we’re going to find tickets on such short notice, he makes it a game.  A few years ago I wanted to attend a huge college basketball game, and was naive to the huge fandom and arrived at the start of the second half of the game with my student sports pass, and they wouldn’t let me in because the stadium was full.  I was a little shocked and thought, “Man what a rookie move, way to go, little freshman!” And then I thought, “What would Dad do?”  I decided to stick around and just wait it out.  After about ten minutes of standing outside the front gates, a guy walked up to me and said, “You want my ticket?”  Done.

I flinch now when someone says, “It can’t be done, there’s no way” before all avenues are explored, because my Dad simply disagrees and has shown that, yes, there very well might be a way, so let’s not give up just yet!  

My Dad and I are often on the same wave length thinking big about, “What if we…” Anything from events, such a different themes for a 5K run, to a really great birthday party service we think would be huge and want to do together one day. He has never told me I wasn’t good enough, but always believes that what I do is great, and I will progress with my photography, editing, dance, or whatever it is that I am passionate about.  It is also especially satisfying to geek out together – he sometimes asks for my opinion on a spot he is cutting, and he always makes me feel fantastic when I cut or shoot something that he thinks looks amazing.  I’m grateful he’s been a constant source of positive reinforcement, not only in my artistic endeavors, but also in how I handle difficult scenarios in the workplace, with again, that creative mindset of turning obstacles into opportunities. 

He is the reason why I daydream, but thanks to him, my dreams are ideas that I play with and challenge to become real. 

The power of intention, faith, light, and the law of attraction we believe are real things, and I’m so grateful I have his example to show me how to go after my dreams and face problems with a thought of,  “Oo, I like this game.” 

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NATALIE

My dad is the king of hobbies. Watching him create has empowered me and instilled in me the desire to create. He carves wooden ducks, painting feathers on their flanks. He listens to blaring jazz music as he’s cooking dinner or doing chores around the house. He’ll stop chopping to tap his foot and snap vigorously to the beat. He’ll yell over the music, “Do you hear that tenor sax, kids? He is GOOD!” As a devout believer in nature and creativity it inspires, he plans week-long cycling trips for my brothers and I. He takes us camping, rock climbing, kayaking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. He builds fires in our backyard and has infused in me a deep respect for nature and the environment.

And he writes. He writes almost solely with fountain pens, which he fills with one of his thirty (fifty?) bottles of ink. (Growing up, he refused to sign even our school syllabi with anything other than one of his fountain pens.) He copied Neruda and Rilke on postcards to send me while I was living abroad and suffering from a dearth of literature. He writes me letters on crisp white stationery. He emails me detailed descriptions of meals from restaurants while on vacation. He writes poignant poetry about his parents’ deaths, my mom, and the mountains. He writes silly poetry about his love for chutney and toast. We lived in China for a time and at times he sent my brothers and I outside with a notebook and pen each, and the instructions to walk around our neighborhood, writing down our observations and descriptions of the surrounding apartment buildings, trees, people we saw, the food we smelled. He recently challenged himself to write a poem a day for a month. Each day, he emailed my brothers and I a poem he wrote and later compiled them into a book for us. And while I am often self conscious and compare myself to others, my dad’s genuine and carefree passion for his hobbies and utter abandon about what people think of him reminds me that creating for myself, my family, and close friends is enough.

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TRILBY

My dad was an encourager! Always celebrating others talents and encouraging the pursuit of creative passions. He himself was a published author, a poet, a painter and an award-winning woodcarver. He was also a beautiful singer and once sang a duet in concert with Grammy nominated Best New Artist Mavis Rivers. He introduced me to The Great American Songbook.

When I was a child he always took me on daddy-daughter dates to the ballet, the opera, the symphony, and the theater. My desire to become a performer grew out of those experiences. He and my mother never missed any of my performances. My dad passed away 9 years ago and one of the things I miss most is receiving his handwritten letters of encouragement and advice which he wrote to me throughout my life.

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CORYN

Only the best of men can father daughters – but only the greatest of those best men can father ALL daughters.  My dad is an incredible father to four daughters. He knows how to comfort us, laugh with us, encourage us to keep trying, and how to calm us down. The last one has always been crucial for me.  My dad realizes that I get stressed easily and he always knows the perfect advice and encouragement that I need.  When I lived in France, his letters brought so much perspective in helping me remember my purpose when things were difficult and I felt discouraged. I will forever cherish those letters.

My dad is the perfect example to me in word and deed, living a life that focuses on serving others and bringing joy to his family. In the wintertime, my dad is the first one outside shoveling snow off of neighbors’ driveways.  He’s quick to forgive if someone hurts him. He never looks for an opportunity to feel sorry for himself.  I love that about him.

Thanks to my dad, I’m a huge Star Wars fan,  I know how to make killer scrambled eggs and French Toast, and I’m learning (every day) how to relax a bit more about things. I owe so much to the wonderful man who nurtures my abilities and who lifts me when I feel broken. To my dad, the greatest father a girl could hope for!

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What are some ways in which your father has inspired and encouraged you? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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