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What My Father Means To Me Essay by: Anthony Curling
Posted by : David Hirsch on June 12, 2013 - 10:11am

TEAMDAD partnered with University of Phoenix to conduct the 2103 Military Fatherhood Essay Contest in Okinawa, Japan.  Students were asked to write essays to the theme “What My Father Means To Me.”   In total more than 400 essays were collected from the children of servicemen stationed in Okinawa.  10 essay finalists and their dads were selected as winners.


Here is Anthony Curling's Essay (Lester Middle School, 8th Grade).


Webster defines the word “dad” as “father”.  With all due respect to Webster, there is a father, and then there is a dad.  A dad tries his best to build a relationship with you by spending time with you and enjoying your company.  He is there for you, and guides you.  He shares in good experiences, and also in bad ones.  A dad is someone who wants to be with you, and helps you to the best of his ability.  He is loving, forgiving, and honest.  He disciplines you to keep you from straying off of the right path.  My dad is everything a dad should be.

Some of my favorite times with my dad are when we are hiking or exercising, because I get to be alone with him.  When I am alone with him, I can talk to him, and we can have father-son conversations.  When my dad spends time with me, it assures me that I have a loving and caring dad.

There are times when my dad needs my help.  When those times come around, I feel really special, because not only is my dad there for me, but I can also be the one that is there for him.  In some situations, when my dad is especially angry at some of his co-workers, he comes home really frustrated and upset.  As we run together, I give encouraging words and moral support.  Afterward, I think he feels much better.

My dad and I have had so many good experiences together.  I am very fortunate to have as good of a dad as the one that I have.


Here is Gabriel's (Steven's Dad's) Response:


My first reaction to Steven's essay was surprise because I had no idea he was doing this project.  I have had many people say thank you for my service to our country over the years but I have never felt as touched as I was to hear my son call me a hero.  Hearing those words from Steven somehow makes up for all the time I have been away and missed him so very much.  Steven said that his favorite thing we do together is when I tell him stories before bed.  What Steven doesn't know is that I probably enjoy telling him the stories more than he likes hearing them.  My son is truly an awesome kid, so full of energy and life, always with a smile on his face.  I love my boy Steven more than life itself and it really makes me feel good to hear how much Steven love's me too.


If you’d like to receive a collection of a couple of dozen inspirational essays, like the one above, please go to: and click resources.  The Me And My Dad essay guide also includes a 7- Session curriculum, which is a great way for a small group of dads to read, reflect and resolve to be better dads.  Proceeds from the essay guides go to support father-child programs.


From DAD To DAD, it’s very moving to read authentic messages about being a dad, especially those who are really making a difference in the lives of their kids and others.

David Hirsch's picture
About author: David Hirsch
David Hirsch is the father of five, ranging in age from 17 to 25. He is CEO (Chief Encouragement Officer) at TEAMDAD and the founder (1997) of Illinois Fatherhood Initiative, the country's first state-wide non-profit fatherhood organization whose mission is connecting children and fathers by Actively Engaging Fathers In The Education Of Children.
View all posts by David Hirsch

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