Meaningful Media for Father’s Day: My Daddy Taught Me To…

June 13, 2010 One week from Father’s Day and media is awash with ubiquitous tie and techie ads for Father’s Day finds. Meh. Better ideas? Experiential fun for memories in the making…

How would YOU fill in the blank, “My Daddy Taught Me To…?”

It’s no secret I’m a water rat and an island girl who spent much of childhood splashing in the surf or sprawled on one of Hawaii’s many beaches…but when I saw the new kids’ book “My Daddy Taught Me To Surf” by surfer-dad Joseph Tomarchio I laughed aloud, since my dad doesn’t remotely share my affinity with water, hails from the Midwest flatlands, and isn’t too comfy even swimming.

That said, as I listened to the roar of the surf on their site and read that a portion of their profits go to The Surfrider Foundation I fell further in love with their mission: “Our goal is to promote the love of surfing, the passage of heritage and the bonds between parents and their children through reading and learning together”

I knew this book would succeed in opening up a larger conversation about parent-child experiential learning…expanding far beyond surfing to unwrap the gifts each of our dads have brought to us. What did your Dad teach YOU? And what will you teach YOUR children?

As I read through the touching book with the whimsical, vibrant illustrations, I thought about all the watersports my dad did NOT teach me, but are such an integral part of my persona.

How did that happen? Who did I learn them from? And what things DID my dad teach me…

As I reached back into my childhood, it was amazing to see how ‘water-centric’ my focus is and how watersports became my comfort zone and serene, peaceful conduit for contentment…Granted, some of that was environmental with Hawaii as a hub, but even when we lived in urban areas I was  on the swim team. Learned to sail. Moved to a funky little island on the outskirts of San Francisco, complete with a sandy beach. Hmn…

So what life lessons DID my dad teach me that were equally a part of my personality?

I’ll go with “financial literacy, integrity, and self-reliance.”

Those bonds between us were reinforced time and again and are as big a gift to me as my love of the water.

I decided it would make an interesting post to ask readers for their “top 3” gifts given from dear ol’ Dad…

…In the hopes that we can all return the favor this Father’s Day with a meaningful expression, customized with your own stories, emotions and tender expressions for YOUR father.

Since I’m partial to meaningful media that does double duty with philanthropy, like My Daddy Taught Me How To Surf, I’ll buy a copy of the book and do a giveaway drawing entering anyone who leaves comments below (or on Twitter) with their top 3 teachings…

So leave a comment and share your tidbits for how your dad has shaped your youth…

While giving back to the sea we can also spin the topic into an intimate “‘you may not have taught me how to surf, but you DID teach me how to…” (fill in the blank)

After all, sharing your thoughts is the most poignant gift of all, and sure beats a techie tool or a tie. I asked my daughter for her ‘top 3’ for her own dad to fill in the blank, “My Daddy Taught Me…” and she came up with:

…“To waterski. Make green smoothies. Pull plastic.” (he’s a thermoforming/orthotics geek)

Now it’s your turn…Have at it!

Related Resources For Taught Me To Books:

Taught Me To Books: Website

On Twitter, On Facebook, On Amazon

Taught Me To Wearables (hats/gear/tees)

Father’s Day Ideas/Saving the Sea: For more cool ideas for sharing time with dad and helping the environment, kids will love the GoodQuest helping sea turtles in the virtual world of Xeko for eco…, Gaming For Good:

(Be a Force of Nature is their tagline, formerly Elf Island) which makes waves offline by contributing donor dollars to clean up oil-drenched sea turtles from the horrific gulf BP deepwater drilling disaster.

Ocean Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund have free e-cards for Dad, papa polar bear tributes and multiple ways to adopt marine life, save species, and make waves with paternal pairings that educate and applaud the unusual role of dads in nature, from male penguins incubating eggs to seahorse fathers who take the reins during childbirth!

Even if you can’t get out on the ocean to surf this Father’s Day, you can still help the sealife within it and spend some meaningful media time with dear ol’ dad.

Here’s Xeko’s Sea Turtle GoodQuest clip to help the Ridleys…

Related on Shaping Youth (40 SY eco posts worth recycling)

The Great Turtle Race

Inspiring Kids As Stewards of the Planet

Inspiring Kids With Green Media

Nature Rocks: Reconnecting Families with Planet Earth!

Nim’s Island: Shaping Youth Through Imagination & Adventure

Xeko/Elf Island: A Virtual World To Be Wild About

Xeko/Elf  Island GoodQuest to Help Polar Bears

If Kids Could Be Dolphins: The Power of Creative Play

Greentrepreneurs: Recycle Bank Shows Kids it Pays to Be Green

S.F. Oil Spill Prompts Altruism & Activism in Kids

Kids Bring Home the Message to Cool the Earth

Digital Activism: Kids Stump for Change (World Wildlife Fund)

When Art Meets Earth: Wyland’s Murals Inspire Kids to Care

Shaping Youth Joins Eco-Literacy Coalition: NCLI

More in Shaping Youth’s EcoKids/Environment Archives Here…



  1. This post has made me think about all that my Dad taught me. He died too early, but made a lasting impression on me. He loved the outdoors, yet worked away at a desk all his life. So when we traveled, we were always camping, which I dreaded. We couldn’t afford the gear, so we borrowed from the scout troop that he worked with. I was so glad when we finally rented a trailer until I realized it was too close a quarters for all of us – before we would be two kids to a tent! Ah, those were the good ole days!!
    Great memories – glad to share them!

  2. Thanks for sharing them, Jane…I visited your site and it brought back memories for ME…because I was raised in Hawaii a large part of the time, but my dad wasn’t a water guy…Seeing your ‘towable tubes’ and watersports fun it made me smile because one thing I DO know for sure is my DAUGHTER has her biggest memories right here on the lagoon with her dad towing her on all kinds of contraptions. (wakeboards, waterskis, tubes, etc) So who knows, maybe I’ll end up a customer. 😉

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