So I’ve had these thoughts in my head for quite a few years and just never took the time to translate them to keyboard or paper. I’ve written a lot of thank you notes and done a lot of thoughtful things for people in my head, but I’ve never been good about follow through. It’s the thought that counts right? Well not today. Today I write.
It’s Father’s Day.
So rather than hear this at a eulogy some day (God forbid), I want everyone to know that my Dad is awesome and here’s why.
I’ve learned many things from my Dad throughout my life. Many of them I didn’t understand until I became a father myself. Some I listened to, and some I didn’t. Some of them I’m still working on digesting and applying to my life.
First is his faith. My dad is a God fearing Christian Man. I love that about him. I remember him teaching me about right and wrong growing up. I saw him get up and go to work every day to provide for my family and provide me with a quality Christian education. I attribute that education to much of my success. I remember him getting my family together at bed time to read the bible as a family. And while I often didn’t pay attention, when I reflect back now, the leadership choices of him directing his family to take time (even if only for five minutes a day sometimes) and read the bible together shows his character and priorities.
I remember one year on new years eve, I had friends over and the new year had just rung in. Being a teenager I was excited and was talking about how I was going to watch a episode of Conan to ring in the new year. He made a joke like “Lame” and said “I’m going to go ring in the new year reading my Bible.” I then watched him go to his office in the basement with his Bible and proceed to do what he said. I’ve never forgotten that moment ever. I remember thinking, I hope some day I can be that devoted to reading my Bible and living for Christ.
I also remember when working on projects with my dad, he would have me go out to his van to get his toolbox so we could fix whatever we were working on. I would climb in his van and his passenger seat usually had the following items on it: A clipboard with work notes and mileage info on it, a spy novel, a theology book, and his Bible. Later on I found out that he liked to read on his lunch breaks in between taking service calls.
Having had occasional discussions regarding theology with my Dad, I’ve realized he has come to a good understanding of the Bible and his theology he uses to study it. It guides his life and I believe it has brought him many blessings. He is a man of principle and many of those principles come straight out of God’s word. My dad is by no means the perfect Christian, nor would he claim to be. I imagine if you asked him, his answer would probably be similar to mine in that he’d say, “I mess up every day. But I’m still here, so I’ll keep going and try to do better tomorrow.” I’m grateful for the example my Dad has shown me in his faith. I hope to imitate it and teach it to my children as they come of age.
Some other things my Dad has taught me:
My dad taught me to never be a bully. He always talked about how he hated bullies. I don’t know if he was bullied or not as a child, but he had strong feelings regarding it and he made it known. No child of his was ever going to be a bully. Anytime I did something remotely close to bullying somebody, he disciplined me greatly and made sure I knew it was unacceptable. He taught me to stand up for people. I believe this is probably where I get my overwhelming sheep dog desire to protect and serve others. I may not be the biggest or the baddest, but I know right from wrong and I’ll not hesitate to protect the innocent. These feelings I have regarding serving and protecting others greatly influenced my life as I went into Police work and later serving in the Army. My dad made sure I knew right from wrong, and not to stand for certain injustices. I’m grateful he taught me these lessons and the principles it instilled in my life.
My dad also taught me about work ethic. I watched him work for over 30 years as I grew up. He wasn’t lazy. He never skipped work unless he was severely ill. He went to work every day, sometimes at jobs he despised. He taught me to work hard, but not too hard. He taught me that it’s important to go to work to provide for your family, and to do a good job. But he also taught me to not take work too seriously, as it’s just a means to an end. Careers aren’t everything. I saw my dad get screwed over by a company that bought out his company after many years of working his way up. I learned a valuable corporate life lesson that day at my father’s expense. I’ve learned to be successful like my father, but I also don’t take work as the most serious thing ever in my life.
I’ve also learned from my dad that it’s important to take time to relax and go fishing. My dad loves to go fishing. It’s his way to get away from the world. He enjoys it. He always has stories to tell about fishing. Some of my favorite times have been going on trips with my dad to go fishing. Now, I’ll let you know that I suck at fishing. I’m about as good at fishing as my dad is at keeping a lawnmower functional. I usually only go once or twice a year, but when I do go I’m with my dad. He always has a spot for us to go and a new bait or lure for us to try. Even if it’s only for an hour or two. It’s an incredible way to get away from your life. Park the car and walk a half a mile down to the lake and have a good time. Sometimes we catch fish. Most of the time I don’t. There are always laughs to be had and stories to tell. We curse the fishing line together as it gets tangled in-explicably. I almost always lose a lure to tree-bass or log-bass, or rock-bass. Sun burns and mosquito bites are common, and it’s usually over way too soon as our busy lives call us back to the real world. But fishing trips with my dad are some of my favorite memories.
In summary, I want people to know what kind of man my Dad is. He’s taught me many things and I hope to live up to his example one day. He’s honestly my best friend, and who I like hanging out with the most. Hobbies, vacations, yard work, you name it, I love spending time with my dad. I respect the hell out of him.
And when you read this Dad, I want you to know 3 things from the bottom of my heart.
1. Thank you!
2. I love you!
3. Let’s go fishing soon!