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3 Manly Lessons I Learned From Dad

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This past Sunday was the most momentous day of my life. I got married to the woman of my dreams, and it just so happens it was Father’s Day. Both Kristen and I’s fathers were at the wedding, and it was special, as both of our parents are still married. As I consider the man I want to be moving forward, I’m looking back on my life and remembering the values I received from my dad.

One of my biggest regrets in life happened when I was in the fourth grade. My dad decided to take my grandpa up to Canada for a fishing trip, and he asked if I wanted to come along. It was summer time, and I remember I didn’t want to go all the way up to Canada because I thought it was going to be cold, and well, fishing was boring. I couldn’t imagine wasting one minute of my summer break.

Looking back, I realize I missed out on a piece from a rich legacy. The beauty of family is that we get to take part in the goodness of generations past. For instance, my grandpa was a great leader. He was president of the Elk’s and a high ranking officer of the Shriners in addition to many other organizations. My dad and my uncle were both presidents of their fraternities in college. Like a carpet rolled before me, I was elected president of my fraternity when I was in college. See the pattern?

I read a quote from author Gordon Dalbey which says,

Knowing your father is more important than getting his apology.

No father is perfect. 

I’m sure many of you have had some bad experiences and you may not even speak to your dad. Even my dad will admit he wasn’t there for me as much as he would’ve liked. But, he wanted to make sure I had the things he didn’t have growing up, so he worked nonstop.

If we each take a moment, we can find at least an ounce of goodness we received from our fathers. We still may be able to receive more.

Last week, I took some time to get to know my dad. I asked him what values he wanted to teach me as a child. I believe these characteristics have made me a good guy.

3 Manly Lessons I Learned From Dad: Respect, Confidence, Thankfulness

Respect for others

The first thing my dad wanted to teach me was to have respect for other people. I remember this lesson, as there was a neighborhood kid name Chris who had cerebral palsy. When I was in fourth grade, a bunch of us were making fun of Chris.

“Kris, you have gifts and abilities Chris doesn’t have,” my dad sat down and told me. “But, Chris has gifts you don’t have.”

It taught me to see the human within him, and in everyone. It’s easy to point a finger when you dehumanize a person. Not that I have become an expert in this arena, but I try to step into someone else’s shoes even if I’ve heard they’ve said something bad about me. Trust me, this is fresh. It just happened last week. It’s easy to unleash everything in a moment’s notice. But, it’s difficult to have true respect for others.

Take a moment and ask what might have happened in this other person’s life to prompt them to say something terrible about you. It usually comes out of a wounding in their past or present circumstances.

By the way, I later started seeing Chris on a regular basis. In college, I started working with mentally and physically handicapped clients through Arc of the Ozarks.

Confidence

The second thing my dad taught me was to have confidence in myself. It seems everyone in my family was a basketball or baseball star. I was neither. He reminded me of this time we were in the yard, and he wanted to teach me about football. He had taken all this effort to set everything up to coach me. After an hour or so, I said it wasn’t for me. He didn’t try to force it on me. Instead, he rallied behind everything I chose to do, even if it was piano or theatre (arenas far outside his understanding).

I remember him telling me he wished he could have the confidence that I had in front of large audiences. In effect, I went over and beyond at anything I decided to do. By my senior year, I had racked up all these awards, but I remember my dad crying at the track and field award ceremony. My coach gave me the award for vomiting the most because I would literally train so hard I vomited at track practice daily.

Thankfulness

While there are many more things, the final value I want to emphasize is that I learned to be thankful for everything I earned and received. My dad is a car dealer, and a great benefit is that my whole family drove vehicles from the lot. When I turned 16, I was entitled and I thought I was going to get a Corvette. So, when I showed up at school driving a Geo Prism, I was humiliated. I hardly had any respect for the car. I took it mudding, did doughnuts in the parking lot, and sped down rocky country roads. When I wrecked it a month later trying to ramp a hill with friends, I was obviously shook up. My dad came and picked me up. He didn’t yell or anything, but he did say he would not report it to insurance and I would have to pay every single penny for the repairs. For a good six months, I had to take the school bus and wash cars to pay it off.  I thought I was entitled to a Corvette, but when I got another Geo Prism, trust me, I was thankful.

One of the Ten Commandments is “Honor your mother and father,” and that’s what I wanted to do for my dad this Father’s Day.  I hope to pass these values to my son someday.  Even if you aren’t on speaking terms with your father, or if your father isn’t alive, you still have a Father in Heaven.  Before I started walking down the aisle on Sunday, I spent some time with my dad, and with my pastor, but I then told them I needed some time with God.  I had doubts in myself, but I listened, and I heard truths He spoke to me.  He wants to speak to you too.

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14 Responses to 3 Manly Lessons I Learned From Dad

  1. Freedomborn - Set Free Eternally June 19, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    Congratulations to both of you, may you have many moments to treasure that pile so high you have problems seeing the sky.

    I woke up this morning with the thought… why is there such a need today for continuous change, so I was blessed to hear about the stability in your family Kriswolfe, it is something to treasure and to emulate.

    Commitment today is old fashioned to many and so is Loyalty, their looking for new thrills all the time, there is an old saying, change is as good as a Holiday but having them continually makes them loose their value.

    God is the same Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow and the certainty for each one of us in that foundation is unshakable.

    God bless you both now and always as you value highly the stability of your commitment to each other in your Marriage, a union that was ordained by God for our good and an unshakable foundation for our children bringing enrichment and many blessings to us too.

    Christian Love from both of us – Anne

    • kriswolfe June 19, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

      Thank you Anne! Sending some love from Thailand. We are getting ready to go on an island hopping trip to the Phi Phi Islands. So excited!

  2. auntmama June 20, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    Wonderful tribute to Dads. Something very special in wedding Day on Father’s Day. Good choice. Know God is with you both on this journey and the life you are creating. xoxo cuz

    • kriswolfe June 20, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

      Thanks cuz! This blog was inspired by your rehearsal speech 🙂

  3. Tesa Wallace June 21, 2013 at 3:52 am #

    This blog’s going to help change the world. These words of life will begin healing our land and will begin turning the hearts of the fathers, once again, towards their children. It will cause marriages to prosper and flourish and will help build bridges between mankind and their heavenly Father. The original Papa! Many blessings on you. Love you to Life.

  4. Aaron Wyssmann June 21, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    Bro,

    I remember when you used to work with the ARC back in college. I can still remember all the fun we had hanging out with Jaime. I still remember him pointing at Josh Hill and saying, “I’m bigger than you!”. Josh thought it was hilarious and so did the rest of us. You always did an amazing job working with him and helping him to have tons of fun.

    • Kris Wolfe November 17, 2013 at 5:57 am #

      I don’t know why I just saw this….lol, “I’m bigger than you!” I miss Jamie. It would be great to get back in touch with him.

  5. daredub July 4, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    Great thoughts, thanks for posting. Congrats on your marriage!

    • GoodGuySwag July 4, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

      Thanks daredub! We’re back from the honeymoon and unpacking all of her boxes and wow, she’s got a lot of clothes haha.

  6. Todd November 17, 2013 at 5:41 am #

    Good…old testament stuff…real good….because the story just wouldn’t have been as special if you didn’t spend some private time with God. He spoke to you? What did he say specifically? Oh that’s right nothing. You can be a good father without speaking to God, you can have a happy marriage without speaking to God. You can be a “goodguy” without speaking to God.

    • Kris Wolfe November 17, 2013 at 7:09 am #

      Todd, this article is one of the oldest on the site, and is the most spiritual. I’m honestly thankful you took the time to read it, but aside from the spiritual component, does it matter that “honor your mother and father” came from the Old Testament? Is this not a universal truth applicable to all? This is not a Christian site, but it is a privately-owned site (just a hobby), so I reserve the right to voice personal stories. Now, onto “30 Characteristics of a Good Guy”…nowhere does it state everyone has to have all 30 to be a good guy. What brought you to the site and intrigued you to read more than one article?

  7. Anonymous November 22, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

    Hi Kris, I came across your website through a Facebook link that someone posted from your wife’s site. I’ve read every blog from your dating section and am almost finished with the relationship section. A lot of the things said are things that I really have needed to hear for a while. At the end of this blog you mention the doubts you had…

    Do you have a write up on that subject alone? The doubts that come and how they can be very strong at times, and the fear of knowing if you are making the right decision or not, and what did you use to get strong in those moments?

    I’d also like to learn more about the groups that you mention in your blogs. How can I join one of these groups. I want to find the kind of people who are not going to be “yes men,” as there are too many of those already.

    Thanks for your feedback.

    • Kris Wolfe November 30, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

      I’ll definitely be writing on the doubts I had in the future. In terms of men’s groups, I’d say the best place to find one is through a local church. If anyone has other ideas, please feel free to add. Thanks!

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