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.
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.
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.