Click on the title for the link to PT's original post. Read on for my thoughts that are only related to said post in terms of the fact that they are about my Dad:
This post is dedicated to my adorable, goofy Dad. I call him Pappa, actually, and have since I was little. I can remember all of my friends at school looking at me funny because I didn't call him Dad or Daddy. But he wasn't Dad. He wasn't Daddy. He was Pappa. I didn't know why until I was a little older, I just knew that I didn't call him anything but Pappa. My Mom tells me that when they got married, he insisted that no matter what, the children were not going to call him Dad or Daddy, it was going to be Pappa or else they'd call him by his first name, but he wanted them to use the Swedish word. I'm almost 22 and I still can't bring myself to call him anything but Pappa.
Anyhoo, over the years many a person has commented on how much I resemble my dear old Pa, both in terms of looks and personality (I've yet to determine if either way is complimentary, but alas). My Pappa is a character, someone I look up to immensely yet often find myself groaning in embarrassment from in front of other people. Of course, as PT (and Shfira, too, I believe) has said, parents live to embarrass their kids, and I think this is especially true of fathers, because we all know that wives are really second moms to their husbands. ;-)
My Pappa is funny. He's smart. So smart, even, that I kid you not, many of my friends are convinced that he's a spy. Obviously, we will never know, for if he is/was, he cannot tell us about it. But we get a kick out of dreaming up crazy spy stories and adventures for PappaHila to go on, fighting evil and terror worldwide! LOL.
The reason I was inspired to write this post was a conversation I had with my Pappa this weekend. You see, the school I go to has a Dad's Weekend in the fall, and a Mom's Weekend in the spring. So PappaHila came to visit me for the weekend. It is a rare occasion that I get to spend one-on-one time with my pops, so it was a great time. It was especially great to get to talk to him about a variety of things, instead of just the usual things we talk about, like school and financial aid and all the minute details of life. Instead, we had a really interesting and lengthy talk about religion. I guess I've never really talked too much on here about how I've come to want to be Jewish, and I'll save it for another post 'cuz otherwise it'd take forever, but suffice it to say that my Pappa did not grow up being religious at all. He told me this weekend that he pretty much decided around the time of his Confirmation in the Lutheran Church (which used to be the State Church of Sweden, when PappaHila was growing up there) that he thought it was pretty much poppycock and that he wasn't going to swallow all the hoohah that they were trying to push down his throat. Instead, he says, he decided that he'd figure out what religions/G-d/spirituality were all about on his own, in his own way, and on his own terms. Hmmm, so THAT'S where I get my independent/stubborn streak from?? No way!!
So anyway, we were sitting in my dorm room, and he happened to notice the plethora of books on Judaism lining my shelves---I explained that some of them were for classes I had taken/was taking, and that others were just ones I found interesting. And that's when we got to talking about religion, etc. It was interesting to talk to my Pappa about this stuff, because he didn't try to lecture me about wrong vs. right or anything, he didn't try to tell me I was a nutjob for not believing in Jesus, etc. He just listened to me, applauded me for having done my homework and research, and told me that he firmly believes that the most important thing is for someone to find their own path, whatever it may be, that works for them and fulfills whatever needs they have. So, he said, if that means Judaism or Islam or Buddhism, then do it. "I don't have to agree with you to see your point of view." I couldn't agree more. I don't believe anyone else is "wrong" in the sense that they aren't entitled to fulfillment via religious practice just as much as I am because I've picked the "right" religion, I just don't identify/understand their beliefs because they don't make sense to me. And that's ok. It doesn't have to make sense because I've found what does.
I am so lucky that my Pappa is so understanding. Finding where one fits in the world is difficult, and religion/spirituality is often the most controversial one amongst families. Baruch Hashem, my father understands my need to do my own thang, and hasn't tried to make me feel ashamed for following what I believe. I am so lucky.