It's Father's Day and over the past ten years I don't believe I have missed my dad more than today. As I grow older, and eclipse so many milestones, I wondered what he would think of the world we are living in today, and the life I have lived.
My dad died more than ten years ago. And since his death, we have seen many changes. I wondered, out loud, how he may have adapted to iPhones, social media, and his thoughts about Black Lives Matter.
As I prepared for another Father's Day without him, I wondered what he would have thought of the many successes (and failures); I've had.
Then I remembered that he had prepared me my entire life for my journey in leadership, love, relationships, and service to my fellow man.
My dad was a friend to man. He would give the shirt off his back to help someone less fortunate than himself. He spent his entire career in inner-city urban high schools teaching, leading, and guiding young black men. Several of whom I attended the HBCU, Tennessee State with and who came to his funeral to pay their respects.
What I learned from my dad about understanding culture and history has prepared me to be the philanthropist and advocate I am today. What I learned from my dad about remembering my identity as a black woman has prepared me for the strength to face injustice everywhere.
My dad also taught me about opportunity. He once said to me, "Opportunity doesn't knock, it stands across the street and says, if you want me you have to come get me."
I always took that to heart.
People always say to me, "Wow you have done so many things in your life." I smile inwardly when I remember my dad's lesson about not just settling but going after opportunity and living, was always the lesson.
My dad also taught me about forgiveness. Not a strict disciplinarian, he would always give a life lesson rather than a lecture. My siblings and I would call these life lessons, Webism.
From buying a new car to bringing home a new boyfriend. He had a saying for everything. Yet, in it was a nugget of a life lesson you could use for eternity.
My dad was my biggest supporter. But I didn't learn that until I was older. Once, back at home to give a speech at a sorority day event, I was seated on the couch waiting for my mom. Dressed in a pink, St. John knit suit, I hadn't seen my parents in a few years. On his way to read his newspaper, something he did every single day, my dad hugged me and stared at me.
As he headed upstairs, I heard him say to my mother, "I don't think I knew Lonnie was that beautiful." My dad. My dad who didn't realize the impact and the importance of those words I overheard that day and the impact they would have on me for the rest of my life.
That day I gave that speech, I stood a little taller, prouder, and felt more beautiful than I had ever felt in my entire life.
Today, if you are a dad...remind your daughter of the life lessons that will carry her through eternity.
Be a friend to have a friend.
Don't forget where you came from, who you are, or your culture.
Give back. Be an advocate and support those less fortunate than yourself.
Remember, opportunity doesn't knock. Go for your dreams and don't settle.
Life is for living.
You are beautiful.