One of my best friends is a hairdresser, so naturally my family and I have unofficially gained a lifetime of free haircuts. Like most hairdressers, this friend of mine is extremely chatty, spilling out word after word after word (sometimes so fast that she stumbles), and often speaking before thinking. One day she spilled out a confession to me: that she finds cutting my dad’s hair awkward because he doesn’t talk much.
It’s true – my dad is a man of very few words. Unlike my exuberant mother, he doesn’t come home from work and walk up the stairs whilst babbling on about his day. When guests are over for dinner, he listens more than he speaks. Even his text messages are short and succinct.
But, dear friend, there is nothing awkward about this.
By not saying much, my dad has taught me an incredible lesson about the value of words. He has taught me to use my words wisely. When he does speak, it is because he has something worthwhile to say – something born from knowledge that will better me in some way. He has never bored me with endless rambling about something I don’t really care about, he has never made a joke that isn’t actually funny, and he has never said something that’s made me think, ‘Was that really necessary?’
He has also taught me a lifelong lesson about actions: that, in many cases, they really can speak louder than words. He doesn’t have to tell me that he loves or cares about me every single day, because he shows me that he loves and cares about me, every single day: by working hard so that our family can actually live, by proof-reading my assignments, by emailing me job advertisements, by buying my official graduation photo despite it being ridiculously over-priced, by being my cost-free taxi, by voluntarily spending his Saturdays doing the laundry, the vacuuming, the grocery shopping, the dishes…I could go on.
My friend may think that my dad is awkward because he doesn’t take to her small talk (which in my opinion is hands-down more awkward) easily, but I wouldn’t change a thing about how this kind, warm and gentle man chooses to use his words.
For another great read about quiet fathers, check out this story by a BuzzFeed author: http://www.buzzfeed.com/isabellelaureta/how-my-father-raised-me-through-silence#.bn4y7J7apZ