He doesn't always understand the crazy stuff I do, but he ALWAYS tries and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Since I've dived into the education reform pool head first, folks have had a hard time keeping up, my dad not excluded, but that doesn't stop him from being my biggest fan.
My parents raised me to be an independent thinker.
Considering our dealings in my adult life, I'm fairly certain there are times they regret that decision. Probably not, but maybe... (in a joking way at the very least) when it comes time for me do something they want me to do without question and I adamantly refuse.
(Yup, I'm just like those students who need to figure everything out for myself, for better or for worse).
After all, they were the ones who taught me to be strong-willed, opinionated, curious while always encouraging me to dream big.
Not every child is lucky enough to have parents who support their intellectual or creative choices regardless of their own comprehension of them.
I am lucky enough.
Since I've always been just "unique" enough, perhaps bordering on strange, my parents have had a long time to practice accepting my choices, knowing that influencing them would be more challenging.
They both led by courageous example, not fitting in in all the right ways.
My father has had his own dragons to slay, but his humor and patience have been a model for how to approach life and teaching. Still one of my favorite people to talk to when something amazing happens, it almost doesn't feel real until I experience his barrage of questions that undoubtedly come.
"I don't know how you do it," he often says to me. "I can't keep up. I do like those videos you make even if I don't understand everything."
Sometimes I get private messages on Facebook, "Is this private or public?" I love that he is playing with social media and trying to dabble in technology. Looking to inquire about a post or student work I've shared. "Are the kids really as honest as you say? They didn't do things like this when I was a kid, but I get why you're doing it. It would have been nice to be more involved in my learning."
My dad often echoes many of the concerns and curiosities of more traditional folks out there and if I can't explain it to him, I can't explain it to anyone. So he's awful good practice. Plus I love that he's interested.
One of my greatest supporters, my dad has been invaluable in my journey in education reform. Never afraid to ask me questions or hear the lengthy responses; I know he wants to get it.
And that matters to me.
Whether we are wearing our parrot hats listening to Jimmy Buffet or talking music trivia of any kind, my dad and I have always shared a love of many things and on this Father's Day, I just wanted to say thank you to him and to all the dad's out there who make the world a more colorful place.
What has been the biggest impact your father has made in your life? Please share
This post originally ran on my Education Week Teacher blog in June 2015