By Avery Owens |

My favorite memory of my dad is from when I was a little girl. I was about five when it happened, and I was no taller than 40 inches. I was standing in front of my dad in the kitchen, and I was looking up at him. I remember thinking to myself, “He is so tall. I can’t wait to be that tall someday.”

It was a simple, mundane moment, yet it has stuck with me all these years. I am now 20 years old and I am closer to my father’s height than I was that one day. I will never be as tall as him, and I will always look up to himbecause of his physical attributes and because of the great father he is. Without a doubt, his fathering has influenced the woman I have become today. 

I am a feminist, but I am often embarassed to tell people this. In my head, I picture a feminist as a woman who hates men. That image of a feminist is perpetuated by the media, and that is not who I am. 

I, however, am a woman who believes that men are just as important as women. Both genders were created in the same image of God, and both are equally loved by God. In opposition to the feminists in my head, I cherish the men in my life, because they have made me the confident woman I am today.

The men in my life have never made me feel incapable or unqualified. I am the only granddaughter on my mother’s side of the family, therefore I have been raised in a family of many males. Never have my brothers, grandpa, cousins, or father ever made me feel less than them. I am just as capable of leading a conversation at the dinner table, washing my car, and winning an intellectual debate (which is a normal event for us) as they are. 

Let me clarify one thing though, I do believe men and women are gifted in different ways. I can get my own gas and open my own door, however, I still let men do these things for me. Yes, I am capable, but I want men to be allowed to lead and serve me in the ways God created them to do. 

I appreciate and celebrate the men in my life for the ways they have championed my mother and I’s womanhood. Another beloved memory of my father is from my first day of third grade. It was my first day at a new school, and I was excited to tell my family about my day. I remember telling my dad about a girl I had met, and how I wanted to be her friend. He was unloading dishes from the dishwasher as I told him about her, all the while encouraging me to “Be yourself, and she will love you for it.”

One of my professors, Dr. Jane Damron, told the class that research proves that daughters whose fathers split household chores with their wives, are significantly more successful in the workplace. When we discussed this phenomenon in class, my mind took me back to the first day of third grade. 

My father still helps out around the house, and he leads and serves my mother in a loving way. There’s not a day that goes by that he doesn’t speak words of encouragement to my mom. One of my dad’s most used lines is, “Just be you! That’s all you can do!”

I could go on listing the ways the men in my life support me, but then this would turn into a book. 

Coming to college and learning about other people’s lives and family backgrounds has made me very grateful for mine. I am thankful that my family believes I can change the world. I am thankful that when I joke about becoming the next president, my family tells me to go for it. I believe I am worthy, capable, and qualified for whatever I set my mind to. Never once have the men in my life allowed me to think otherwise.