Sunday is Father’s Day. It will be my second one without my dad. I hate it. I miss him. I still cry at least weekly as I want to tell him something about my life and my boys.
I am also thankful. Thankful that he was my dad and I was close to him. I am grateful for all that he did in my life. I hope to learn from his example in my life and pass on the lessons he taught me.
Here are four of the things I think he did correctly as a father.
1. He was present in my life. When I was young and involved in sports, he was my coach and my fan. When I quit athletics in high school, a move I am sure broke his heart; he became my hunting and fishing buddy. When I told him I was going to watch my friends in high school play basketball he would tag along and sit on those hard bleachers that I am sure hurt his back. He was always present in my life. Even when I lived 4,000 miles away, because he hated to fly, he drove the whole way twice to visit my family.
2. He led our family in faith. Dad was a youth leader, an usher, then a deacon and finally an elder in our local Church. He served and taught Sunday School right up till his first stroke. He alone prayed before meals with the family. I have an image of my dad sitting at the kitchen table reading his bible and looking at a lesson book or commentary getting ready for Sunday. Dad loved Jesus, and I knew it without a doubt.
3. He endured my stupidity. The story of the prodigal son in Luke 15 tells us a story about a father. His son wishes he was dead and wants his inheritance. The father gives it to him, and he immediately leaves home. Soon he returns with nothing but a speech about being a servant. The father smiles and embraces his son, even after all his stupid actions. I know that story because I have my own prodigal stories. There was a time I thought dad was an idiot and I was willing to tell him. I am sure he shed a number of tears over my mistakes, mean comments and childish ways. He never gave up on me, even when I am sure that it would have been easier. I will never know why the walls I tried to build were torn down continuously, but I am thankful for his patient endurance.
4. He loved us. Pop was raised by a man who literally never told him “I love you.” Not once. When he asked my grandfather why he never said it, grandpa said, “You always knew I did.” He still would not say it. As a result, he lived the exact opposite. He always told me how much he loved me. He hugged me. He kissed me, even as an adult man. He did everything he could to show me how much he loved me. Words, actions, gifts, and companionship were offered as evidence of his love for my family and me.
These are some of the ways my dad shaped my life. I am sure your dad has done some of these, or better yet, I hope you will do them for your children. I hate Father’s Day, and secretly I hope that my boys will one day hate it just as much when I am gone.