Five Things My Father Taught Me

June 16, 2017

Today’s post is a little different. Today, I am talking about the man who ties with my mother as the single greatest influence in my life. I am a daddy’s girl. Always have been, always will be. Today I am sharing five of the lessons my dad has taught me, both by teaching and living.

Get Back on the Horse

Nothing keeps my dad down. He has always been a great example of not becoming discouraged and perservering. Several years ago I was in a terrible car accident. I was cut off in traffic, over corrected on a wet road and lost control of the vehicle. Think 360 spin and careening off the road at 60mph. The state trooper told me it was a miracle that I walked away without a scratch. But the car was totaled. Needless to say, I was a little shaken and didn’t feel like driving again anytime soon. The following week Dad took me to lunch, but said he had a stop to make first. We pulled into a car dealership and he introduced me to the salesman “Michael, this is my daughter Katie. She’ll be test driving the Aston Martin today”. I looked at him with an incredulous look.

“Dad, I totaled the last car I drove.”

“Just keep it under 100mph and you’ll be fine.”

I love this story for two reasons. One, my dad knew how important it was for me to drive again, and that he knows me so well. I would NEVER turn down the chance to drive an Aston Martin! *cue Bond theme*

Being “Normal” is Overrated 

Dad would never say “why can’t you be normal?”. To Dad, normal wasn’t something to strive for. He taught us to work towards excellence and not be afraid to embrace being different. In my early teens I didn’t understand why I was different, I’d cry that I just wanted to be normal. He’d give me a hug and say “normal is dumb, boring and broke. You don’t want to be normal”. Having a dad who told me it was a good thing to be different was instrumental in me becoming the woman that I am today. To not worry about what the world thinks and pursue my dreams, while embracing my eccentricities. It’s okay to go against the grain and be your own person.

The Lost Causes Are Worth Fighting For 

Frank Capra is my dad’s favorite director. In his classic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” Jimmy Stewart says his father told him “the lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for”. I have seen my dad fight for what people would deem “lost causes”. If he believes in a cause or a political candidate, it doesn’t matter what people, pundits, or poll numbers say. He’s gone to other states to help candidates polling at 2%, he’s organized efforts to help local authorities in the aftermath of a storm when no one else would venture out, and he’s never worried about personal accolades. It’s always about the cause, no matter how “lost” it my seem.

The Importance of Having Standards

I like to say that Dad set the standard, and Mom gave us the tools to achieve them. When I would misbehave as a child, Dad would set me down and explain why what I had done was wrong. He’d tell me that he loved me and then say “you are a Christian, you are a lady, you are a member of this family, you are a southerner and you will conduct yourself accordingly”. Let me tell you, there is no wiggle room in that standard, but there was always grace and forgiveness. I’m glad Dad had high standards for us, because it gave us something to work towards. He could enforce these standards because he lived by them himself. He would never ask us to do something he wasn’t willing to do himself. His faith, leadership, love, and example of being a perfect Southern gentleman is one tough act to follow, but I trust God has such a gentleman out there for me.

Embrace the Adventure

Dad can find an adventure in anything, and I am my daddy’s girl. He likes to illustrate the difference in my brother and me by telling the story the time we got stuck going “off-roading”. My brother’s first statement was “we will be late, and Mom will get worried”. I said “can I go exploring in the woods over there?”. Dad is up for anything and I love that about him. This has included, but is not limited to, a midnight BigMac run, dressing up like detectives and going on a “mission” when I was 8 and obsessed with Hardy Boys mysteries, test driving exotic sports cars and sending Mom and me to NYC for a one day shopping marathon next week. Yup, he’s the best.


I hope you take time to give your dad a hug, or call him if he’s far away.  A devoted dad is one the greatest gifts a girl can have in life so let him know how much you appreciate him.

Have a great weekend!


  1. Katie, I knew both your mom AND dad before they were married. (1988 Pat Robinson campaign for president, of course!)…I also met your grandfather Lyle Shira and your grandmother Mrs. Shira during the same time. -(also your aunt)…ALL such wonderful people!

    It is so wonderful to read this blog, knowing that time is never stops and life moves on, sometimes very slowly, but sometimes at lightning speed…To have seen your dad in action with my own eyes those many years ago and to now hear about your dad from your stories, confirms that he WAS a great man and he only improved as time went on…(He has a lot of wisdom, as you know!)

    I went to the Ted Cruz rally that you organised in Newnan last year and was AMAZED that the apple has not fallen far from the tree! I have observed you and your brother Brant on Facebook over the years and I can see the great heritage that you both have …and (indeed) are building on ourselves!

    I am SURE that God has a very special young man who has been prepared for many years to be your life’s partner…I know that your earthly father AND your Heavenly father will continue to look after your best interests and see you through! – God bless you! – I enjoyed your story! Lonnie Mussell, Stockbridge, GA

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