(My dad, my sister, and me in the late 70s)
In memory of my dad on Father’s Day, I wanted to take the opportunity to share just a few lessons I learned from his example.
1) Try not to borrow money (but if you must borrow, pay it back fast).
When I was growing up, we never had a car loan that I can remember. My parents believed in buying used cars with cash. In fact, I don’t remember them ever borrowing any money except for home loans.
When my parents did borrow money, my dad made sure to get any house or land loans on a seven year note. It was often a struggle to pay things back that fast, but it really made an impression on me. I learned how to manage money responsibly because of his (and my mom’s) example.
2) Be willing to sacrifice for others.
I often think back and marvel at how my parents consistently sacrificed their hopes and dreams, so we could be fed, clothed, and loved. There were many moments when life was hard for our family. As a child (and even a teenager), I had no idea how much my parents were sacrificing for us. Now that I’m a mom, I have a little better understanding.
3) Say you are sorry.
This is one area where I learned a lesson from my dad’s shortcomings. Through most of my growing-up years, he was unable to say he was sorry. He would buy me things or try to do funny things instead of apologizing. It hurt me deeply when I was younger, but time has given me a new perspective. I don’t know all of the things my dad experienced during his childhood, but his ability to apologize could very well be part of that.
I now struggle myself with this, but I am learning. Not that I always do it well, but it’s something God is changing in me! Parents need grace, too!
4) Laugh — a lot!
My dad could tell a story like no one else, and he played pranks all the time! There were so many ways he made me laugh. I miss his laugh so much. I often think about it when I get so wrapped-up in the things I’m going through (I have a tendency to get too serious about some things). His example reminds me that laughter is good medicine — and it makes life more bearable!
5) Life doesn’t always go the way you planned, but God’s purpose prevails.
During his childhood, my father was afflicted with Leggs-Perthes disease. It caused great trouble in his hips, and he ended up having hip replacement surgery in his early 20s. It was during that surgery he was infected with Hepatitis C. It lay dormant for lots of years before it started affecting his health and leading to his death. Obviously, he never planned for his life to be filled with terrible pain and ended by a disease he was infected with during a blood transfusion. Looking back now, I believe God used that terrible situation to draw my dad close to Himself.
It’s the same with all of us. Our lives don’t go the way we want them to go. Just when things seem to be going well, something changes or stops us in our tracks. BUT, even in heartache and pain, I’ve learned through my dad’s example to press on. Live the life you’ve been given. Go forward even when you’re hurting — even when you feel like retreating. God will give you strength (Philippians 4:13). Ultimately, God’s purposes prevail.
I hope you have a wonderful Father’s Day. Celebrate the special men in your life!