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Happy Father’s Day

Happy Fathers Day! I close my eyes and see my dad. As I’m typing, tears are flowing down my cheeks. My dad passed away on July 26, 2020. No, the pandemic did not take him. My dad died peacefully in his sleep with Janet by his side. But my last memory of my dad is in the picture above. I took it as I was pulling away from his home about eight months before he died. The pandemic and my being on chemo kept me from my typical June 2020 visit.

But what was the first memory I had of my dad? In my mind, it was the late summer of 1959. I was just over two years old. I remember my dad vividly holding me in front of our home in Tenn. Dad was young, strong, and fit and had a full beard. The memory is most likely the result of me seeing a picture of this moment, but in my mind, I see it, and it’s precious.

If you ask most men what’s the first thing they remember, it will be something about their dad. I have lots of memories, good and bad, about my dad.
He took me and my brother fishing every Saturday from when we were only 4 or 5. He started us both hunting and shooting at around 9 or 10. (My brother still has the old Mossberg breach action single shot 20 gauge.) I brought home my first rabbit at age 10 with that gun. My dad taught us that fishing and hunting eat what you harvest. He also taught us gardening, and these are things that my brother and I still do today.

He disciplined us. Harshly if we deserved it, he taught us that second place was just that second. Stand back and congratulate first place. First was the only winner. Practice more and work harder next time. He was sometimes short-tempered with us. Mainly when we were acting stupid, he taught us to say yes sir and no sir, yes ma’am and no ma’am. Not to belittle us but for us to respect our elders.

My father was the most extraordinary man I have ever known. He made me the man I am today. But what I remember most about my dad was how he spoke to us. Even if we did something wrong and he bent us over his knee for a spanking, he always looked at us afterward and, in a kind voice, said next time, think before you do something that you know you shouldn’t. Even if it was not right away, that always happened, and then it was over. The one thing he never did was belittle us or make us feel worthless.

I grew up loving my parents and respecting them, which never changed. I also drank out of the hose and slept in the back window of dad’s 1958 Oldsmobile on road trips. 🙂

Good or bad, for most of us guys, a memory of our dad is our first memory. Did he love you? Sure he did, and more than anything. Did you always feel it? Not so sure.

If you’re a dad, choose to be kind. Always be kind, no matter what your kid says or does or does not do. Make sure your tone always communicates love and kindness. See, kids will remember a movie far more vividly than a picture. Make sure the soundtrack to your movies is firm love and compassion and not hateful criticism. The words you say now will profoundly influence the rest of their lives.

Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Have a great day!


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