My dad is robust and friendly. He is well-loved and well-respected around my hometown … and home state. I’m from rural Illinois, a tiny town called Toulon. My dad owned a soil testing business there for 25 years, so he knows many farmers in the state.

He worked hard, and he worked a lot. As with many folks involved in agriculture, spring and fall would mean 12+ hours a day.

But summers were a little freer. My dad’s favorite place is northern Minnesota and up into the Boundary Waters touching Canada. He loves to fish and be outdoors, and he instilled this appreciation for nature into me and my sisters. We’ve gone up there every year since I was 6. We stay in a friend’s cabin just outside Ely, Minn. And when I say cabin, I mean rustic. No electricity. No running water (yep, an outhouse). No cell phone service.

These are some of the best days of my year. There’s something about being still and slow and disconnected from technology while connecting to nature that just feels right. They’ve also been some of the best times my family has shared. I think that’s in large part due to the fact that we all were letting our guard down, all relaxing. Isn’t it so true that as we’re able to find health individually, we’re able to find healthy patterns of relating to one another?

So, this Father’s Day, I am grateful for the ways my dad has taught me the importance of slowing down.

What are you grateful for from your dad or a father figure in your life?

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