What my dad taught me, and why I dedicated my book to him by Jentry Flint
On May 17, 2024 | 0 Comments

A badge I’ve always proudly worn is that of ‘daddy’s girl’. As the only daughter in a house FULL of boys, I never felt I had to compete for my dad’s attention or that I didn’t fit in. And I think that was because my dad did his best to never miss an opportunity to do something with all of us, teaching us life lessons through his actions and not just his words.  

My dad constantly traveled for work, often leaving for two weeks or more at a time. But, when he was home, he made sure to spend as much time with us as possible. This time together sometimes looked different than what most would expect. We still wrestled with him around the house or played basketball in the front yard, but one thing you should know about my dad is that he loves to run. I remember many Saturdays when he would come home from his morning run and grab me and my brothers so we could go help someone in need that he’d passed on his run. One time we helped lay sod for a family who had just moved into a new house, a few times we helped collect hay bales from a field and stack them into an older gentleman’s barn, and another time we even reshingled a roof. Yes, in my teens I distinctly remember helping reshingle an older couple’s roof! And I know for a fact that he has given the shoes off his feet to help a wandering, barefoot autistic boy he’d found one time while hiking through the woods–don’t worry he helped the boy find his way back to his frantic parents.  

I love this selfless characteristic about my dad. But one distinct memory I feel shaped me was on a Saturday morning when I was about fifteen. On that particular Saturday, I’d asked my dad to take me running with him so I could work on conditioning for my competition soccer league. While out running, we came along an old man sitting out on his front porch. My dad knew I wanted to focus on my running, but he also knew that the man was widowed and lonely. He directed me to follow him to the man’s porch and struck up a friendly conversation with him. By the end of what turned out to be a long visit, we had also helped him take his trash can out to the road and bring his mail in. This act of service might seem small in comparison, but for a reason that I didn’t fully understand until later, this act left the biggest impression on me. 

This memory solidified in me that when times get tough, look to help someone who has it tougher. 

You see, what I didn’t know at the time was that my dad was suffering from PTSD. With his career, he traveled to third world countries and often went into situations that weren’t entirely safe. Part of his job involved going into natural disasters where he would establish and coordinate aid. He has pulled bodies from rubble after sizable earthquakes, been held at gunpoint while trying to get hidden medical supplies under piles of debris in garbage trucks to hospitals, and surveyed refugee camps in the Middle East. 

While I didn’t understand until later that my father battled PTSD, I noticed over time the brightness leave his eyes which was slowly replaced by numbness. He wasn’t distant, but he also wasn’t always as present as he once was. At a certain point his PTSD had gotten to be too much, and he sought relief in the wrong place. But eventually, my dad got himself the right help he needed. I remember when he sat me down to talk to me about his mistakes and showed me how he was working to be better. He confessed to feeling like a failure as a parent, and that honesty lit a fire inside me–a desire to do all I could for him, despite how I was affected by the situation, and prove to him that he was wrong. He was not a failure; his selfless example throughout my upbringing made me who I am today. And it helped me to know exactly how I could serve him.  

Through every trial he faced to get himself better, I stepped up, showing him through my actions that I was there for him when others chose not to. And that despite what he saw as failure, he was loved. 

It was that selfless love, internal struggle, and grace that I wanted to be the heart of To Love the Brooding Baron. I hope you can see and feel that. My dad means the world to me, and being able to dedicate my book to him was definitely a dream come true. 

Jentry Flint is a bookworm-turned-writer with the propensity to try just about anything. She has a true love of history and believes a good quote can fix most things. She lives in southern Utah with her husband and two daughters—who, naturally, are named after characters from books.

Her favorite things in life are flavored popcorn, her grandmother’s purple blanket, and curling up on the couch to watch a movie with her husband. Games in a Ballroom is her debut novel.

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