There Will Always Be Another Race
What difference does it make?
If you’re talking about the difference dads make in the lives of their daughters, Susan Dawes, author, teacher, speaker, and counselor, will be the first to provide a list of differences dads make. Especially hers.
“My father, Floyd Seibert, was very inspirational in my life by being committed to the dad and daughter relationship, as well as teaching me many life lessons,” Dawes recalls admiringly.
Growing up with two older brothers and a younger sister in Adel, Iowa, a small town that barely tops the 4000-population mark, Dawes’ father took every opportunity to spend time with his family. That effort did not go unnoticed.
“Dads teach daughters a lot from being involved in their lives,” says Dawes. “It is about taking time to know your child and her talents.
“I was very active in sports and other extracurricular activities. My two brothers ran track quite successfully; why wouldn’t I believe that I, too, could become a successful hurdler? The only thing between success and me turned out to be the hurdles.
I ended up making the B team and continued to practice with the track team,” Dawes reminisces, “but Dad had an instinct for cultivating children’s athletic talents, especially mine. Dad knew I would be more successful in a race that required endurance as opposed to speed. It was evident from my childhood experiences that I was not considered a high-speed runner, and never would be.”
One spring evening in 1972, Dawes’ dad invited her to watch a girls’ high-school track meet. That night, as they watched the half-mile run and the mile relay, her dad made a comment that still echoes today: “Sue, maybe you would like to run long distances some day like those girls.”
So it was, Dawes fell in love with running and competed in long-distance races for the Adel Junior High Tigerette track squad. She ran confidently and successfully until one day, a younger and faster girl joined the team. Dawes came in second. Discouraged by the loss, she told her dad she wanted to quit the team. Being the caring dad he was, Seibert hugged his daughter and praised her for a good race.
As they shared the moment, Dawes’ dad offered her advice she would only come to treasure in later years: “’You can’t always run and be first in life,’ he offered. And, then he looked at me, and it was the way he said it, I knew his words referred to more than a single race in one of many track meets. He said, ‘there’s always going to be another race to run’.”
Life continued and Dawes moved away from home to attend Iowa State University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work, married her childhood sweetheart, and gave birth to three amazing daughters.
Remembering her father’s words, she continued to run the races of life on and off the track, savoring the pleasant and even the not-so-pleasant lessons learned along the way.
True to her dad’s statement, Dawes says she’s found that life presents many races to run. “A few may take place on a track. The majority will be run off the track. Results will vary. In some you may be victorious. In some you’ll struggle. In others, you’ll never win, no matter how hard you try.”
In September of 1994, Floyd Seibert finished last in a long-fought race of endurance. An involuntary participant, he lost out to the persistence of cancer.
Long after her father’s death, Dawes lives by the advice he shared with her in seventh grade, “There will always be another race.” Similarly, there will always be another day.
“When people ask me what I’ve learned in life. This is how I respond: “I’ve learned you must live one day at a time and look for the graces within it. It may be as simple as seeing a cardinal, getting a card from a friend, or witnessing the sweet smile of a child. Appreciate your mountaintop experiences because they won’t last forever. If the bottom falls out of your world, put one foot in front of the other, breathe, and keep going. And most importantly, hold on to your faith, read your Bible and pray. God does hear and will give you the strength, courage, and hope to face whatever race you have to run.”
Floyd Henry Seibert’s legacy lives on through a book Dawes wrote, A Father’s Legacy of Life Lessons. Within its pages, his daughter recounts the story of how her loving father inspired her to run not only the long distances but also the real races of life. While Seibert, in his own opinion, may have lived an ordinary life, in the eyes of his daughter, he was an extraordinary father.
As a result of that book and to further honor her dad, Dawes also founded a 5K Run/Walk to promote the importance of Dad/Daughter relationships. The 4th Annual Dad & Daughter 5K will take place on June 10th in North Kansas City.
“We are excited this year to host the event at our new location in North Kansas City, the industrial area at 18th & Erie,” Dawes says. “The community has already embraced it and been quite gracious. ”
“I started this 5K because of my passion for running, to honor my amazing father, and to draw attention to the importance of the dad and daughter relationship,” explains Dawes. ”What I love most about this 5K is the legacy it is leaving for so many participants of all ages. And, the proceeds go to a local charity that helps homeless families.”
The event is a fun, friendly family event for all runners and walkers. Strollers, baby joggers, and wagons are permitted, too. Dad and daughter duos, daughters running/walking in memory or honor of their dads, grandfathers, step-dads, uncles, brothers, and entire families are encouraged to participate.
Additional information and sign up forms can be found at RunSignup.com/Race/MO/NorthKansasCity/DadandDaughter5KRunWalk.