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Happy Father's Day! Celebrating our Super Heroes.

"My Father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person; he believed in me." Jim Valvano

Today, we honour those we fondly refer to as fathers, dads, superheroes, and first love. Some of us will express gratitude for our fathers, who may no longer be physically present but remain alive in the imprints left on our hearts.

As mentioned in previous posts, I was raised with six siblings. I am the middle daughter among four brothers, with my two sisters being the oldest and youngest. The impact of my position in the family on my personality cannot be denied. Growing up among my brothers, I learned not to shy away from conflict and to pursue my aspirations fearlessly. My father supported me along the way, had faith in me and encouraged me to be a leader, stay true to myself, and embrace who I was.

Throughout my school years, I was active in many sports. Although raising a family on one income, my father ensured that I could join teams to become a gymnast, a swimmer, a diver, and a goaltender while participating in many other school and extracurricular activities. He would get up early to wake me and drive me to my daily swim team practices, then return home to a busy home with seven others waking up to begin their day. These experiences supported my confidence, skillset, knowledge, and resilience.

When I was younger, I took the opportunity to advocate for myself and others. In the 1960s and 1970s, my defiance of unfair deeds done to others sometimes saw me removed. When my father came to collect me, he used the opportunity to emphasize the importance of nudging rather than pushing to retain my position at the table as a leader. He pointed out that if I were to disrupt the status quo using fighting rather than educating, I would continue to be removed, and my ability to advocate for others would be compromised.

Throughout my life and career, with his support, I learned to sit at many tables and hold various leadership roles to respectfully challenge the status quo, nudge those in power, and make changes to support equity and diversity within education and our communities.

As I journey to live life over cancer, I live with the belief that not only will I survive, but I will thrive. His footprints on my heart give me courage, inspiration, and the confidence that I can do this and set an example for others to do the same. So, today, I will celebrate my superhero in heaven and the many fabulous fathers in my life.

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