I would say that my mother taught me to dream, to be creative. And my father taught me to how to work, to set goals, to achieve those dreams. Both as important as the other.
From an early age my dad had me thinking practically. When it came to career goals, he always encouraged my writing, but he also made sure I was informed. He told me how hard it could be, how long it might take, how I should cultivate other skills. That way I could have another job while I pursued my dreams.
At times, I wondered if my dad didn't believe in me. He always took this practical approach to my dreams. It was never "You can do it! I know you can!" More like "How will you accomplish that? What are your goals? Your plan? Have you researched? Looked into this opportunity or that?" I didn't understand why he'd pummel me with these questions instead of encouraging me like my mom did. His drilling made me feel like he thought I was incapable, that I wouldn't succeed.
But my dad knew a secret I didn't know at the time—work makes dreams come true.
It wasn't until I stopped pretending and started working that I understood why my dad always asked me those questions. It wasn't that he didn't believe in me; he wanted me to achieve my goals, and more than that, he wanted to give me the tools I needed to succeed.
When I started my writing journey in earnest, my dad's ever-present advice was ready and waiting for me. I made a plan—I would pursue publishing for five years, and if nothing came of it I'd reevaluate. I set goals, just as I was taught. The first being a thousand words a day, since I knew that I had to learn routine if I wanted this to be my job. I did my research, gathering as much knowledge as I could about writing and publishing. I read books in my genre, read blogs, writing advice, query tips, and on and on.
My dream became work, which hasn't always been easy or fun, but it was the only way to make it a reality.
I never would have been able to do that without my dad.
So today, Dad, I thank you. My dreams would still be floating around in my head if it weren't for you. Even if I didn't understand at first, I will never forget that all those questions were asked out of love, not skepticism. Thank you for believing in me in your special way. Love you.