The Dad Effect

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                    June 16, 2013

It’s Father’s Day, a special day where it’s okay for dads to watch back-to-back football games…except it’s not football season. Obviously the placement in June of Father’s Day was a conspiracy created by moms who felt guilty that they had a day that honored them…but not too guilty!

Our dads affect us in different ways. This has been a hard week for me, knowing that my dad has been in a Huntington, West Virginia hospital for part of it with heart problems…while I’m here in Colorado within a couple of miles of the devastating fires. I was able to talk to him on the phone today. He sounded tired and he promised me that he had his feet up as he was watching the U.S. Open golf tournament on TV.

I see the remnants of my dad’s mark upon my life in numerous ways. For instance, I like a freshly groomed lawn. I didn’t learn that from Home and Garden magazine. It came from my dad. Even today as an eighty-five year old he has I nicely manicured yard, although it is now my brother-in-law, Mike, who does the cutting on it.

He exercised patience. Grilling hamburgers was meant to be done with care and attention. The patties were even turned carefully. A neck tie was to be tied until it was right. Polished shoes for Sunday church was not to be rushed. I can see it today with how he cares for my mom, who is now bed-ridden. He feeds her dinner, a process that requires a good forty-five minutes if Mom is cooperating; more if she decides not to. Dad doesn’t press. When Mom’s attention fades he very gently draws her back to the present. People will tell you that I’m a patient person. You have to be to coach girls’ basketball, but I learned it from watching my father. Although I have some of his patience, I am not on the same level as him. For instance, I’ve encouraged him not to make spaghetti for Mom at dinner time ever again- an experience in torturous perseverance.

My dad is about as friendly as you can be. When he is able to attend Sunday worship at church people’s spirits are raised just by his presence. People have described me as friendly. I would like to think that a big part of that trait comes from my Dad’s influence upon me. To him everyone has value, and everyone needs a friend. Although he is a long-time Democrat he makes Republicans feel listened to and valued.

Perhaps most of all, my dad has affected my spiritual walk. We always went to church when I was a kid. If we weren’t home we were usually at church…Wednesday night, Sunday morning, Sunday night. But church attendance wasn’t an indicator of his faith. I remember countless times walking into the kitchen/dining room of our house and seeing his Bible and Sunday School teacher’s guide laying open on the table. We always prayed at dinner. When I travel back to southern Ohio to visit now I feel honored when he asks me to say the blessing for dinner, although I am deeply moved when I hear the words of a prayer coming from his lips. Being a pastor I have tried to never use guilt with my kids about church…although I’m sure that there have probably been a few times through the years when I have been guilty of using guilt. I desire for each of them to have a faith walk, which isn’t necessarily the same as a church attendance sheet. My hope is that I’ve been a good example for them, a person of conviction and faith. If so, the influence of my father has extended to two generations, and now with our two grandkids, both who battle to say meal grace, three generations.

I’m extremely fortunate to have a dad, and the dad that I’ve had. I think of the increasing percentage of children who now have absentee fathers, or don’t even know their dads, and I think, who will be the person to step into the gap for them?

Thank you, Pops! Thanks for being real, not put-on. Thanks for keeping high standards, and expecting your kids to have high standards. Thanks for loving us even when we were unlovable.

Explore posts in the same categories: children, Christianity, Faith, Grace, Jesus, love, Parenting, Pastor, Story, The Church, Uncategorized, Youth

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