I admit. I am Daddy’s Girl. And I am proud of it.
But being Daddy’s Girl comes with expectations and standards. A lot of expectations and very high standards. Especially when your daddy is the Reverend Joey Umali.
As a pastor’s child, I was expected to behave appropriately (some even expected me to be holy). No clothes too revealing, no accessory too daring, no things too fancy or flashy. I had to be courteous, kind, understanding, compassionate. I had to bite my tongue and choose my words. I had to be a good example — an excellent student, an obedient daughter, an active member of the church.
When dad became the lead broadcaster for the famous radio program “Hardin ng Panalangin,” I was in for lots of surprises. Somebody always recognized him everywhere we went — at the mall, at the drugstore, in gatherings, even at a quiet resort we went to for a family outing. And of course, we were always recognized as his children.
Being dad’s daughter gave me opportunities I never would have otherwise. I had editing and translation projects not only for his books, but for other authors as well. I was invited to speak on his behalf, or with him, in lectures and seminars. People recognized my talents because they knew I was following his footsteps (just in writing, to be clear).
Just this week, I was introduced as the daughter of Pastor Joey three times in three different settings. When I introduce myself, people nod politely, but when I mention that he is my dad, their faces light up and their lips smile. There were even times when people took a photo with me, so they could tell someone else that they met the daughter of Pastor Joey. And I am proud to be able to make people a bit happy just by being my father’s daughter.
My dad taught me many things just by doing them. He never instructed us directly to be this and to do that. But somehow we knew because we saw him do it. He is an obedient son, a good brother, a great father. He is intelligent, firm, a good decision maker, a disciplined person.
He taught us respect by always treating people fairly. He taught us punctuality by always being ahead of time even when others were not. He taught us love by being faithful to our mom. He taught us principles by always sticking to what he believed in. He taught us obedience by following the path God chose for him, even when it meant giving up comfort and many other things. He taught us humility by never lifting himself up, but by always giving the glory to God. He taught us faith by being a man after God’s heart.
And for all these, I thank him. For what I have become because of his example. For what I have accomplished because he believed in me. For what I hold in my heart because he planted that seed of faith there ever since I was born.
Thank you Daddy. I am prouder everyday to be your daughter. I am blessed to have you as my dad, my role model, my Superman.
I love you.