Honor Your Father

Little did my dad know that within a couple of years after his college graduation a daughter would be born, and he would have a grand influence on her life. I didn’t idolize a rock star, popular actor, or world leader when I was growing up. My hero was, and continues to be, my daddy. My pop. He is 91 years old, and when I spoke with him a few days ago, I noticed his voice isn’t quite as strong as it once was, but what hasn’t diminished is his wisdom and fadeless positivity. You can “hear him smiling” when he talks. Even though he is now the caretaker for my mom, who has multiple health issues, not one word hints at complaining, only how he can make her more comfortable.

As a child, I watched as Dad was beloved by his employees, our neighbors, and his large circle of golfing buddies. He was the director of international finance for Bridgestone Firestone, and when I visited him at work, I stood in awe of the admiration and respectful manner in which everyone engaged him. It was the same in our neighborhood–he was everyone’s favorite. If there was a car that wouldn’t start, Pop brought out the jumper cables. If a kids’ ballgame was starting, he would pitch that’s where I developed my pitching arm!

One night a loud crash woke me from sleep. I peeked out my curtains and saw that a car had come around the corner and hit my dad’s car so hard it moved it several feet. Dad looked out the front door to see the car slowly drive away and park in front of a house down the street. He closed the door and calmly said, “We will take care of this in the morning,” and went back to bed. With the sun barely up, the doorbell rang and a distraught-looking fellow asked for my dad. Dad invited him in to sit at our kitchen table, but first asked if he was all right. The guy had too much to drink the night before and his embarrassment, shame, and hangover were evident. Dad simply said, “Let’s call our insurance companies and let them handle it” before patting him on the back and letting him go with no lecture or passive aggression.

Whenever I asked Dad a question, he would take a long pause before saying anything. Sometimes I thought he didn’t hear me and would ask again. Once when he took an unusual amount of time, I asked, “Daddy, why do you pause so long before you answer me?” He said, “I’m thinking.” After that, I welcomed his pause and have made that practice one of my habits.

My dad has never been captured doing something inappropriate or foolish on a security camera or dashcam that could go viral or come back to haunt him. He has never been involved in road rage or physical or verbal altercations, and if someone is intent on cutting him off in line at the grocery store, he is apt to think they are in a hurry and he is helping them get to where they need to go. Perhaps his lifestyle is the reason he has not been hospitalized since 1968–and only then for one night. His doctor recently told him he has the health of a 30 year old and you will be hard-pressed to talk to my dad without hearing him thank God for it.

Having a level-headed, intelligent, good-natured father has been a luxury. While some children have a father or father figure in the home, that does not mean they are being “fathered;” it just means there is a male living there and he may be a flawed template. More than one person has told me that their father didn’t do a great job, or for whatever reason, wasn’t or couldn’t be there for them.

A friend shared with me that as a young boy, he found a role model in a kind neighbor down the street, who invited him to help with his DIY projects. A former coworker told me that, growing up, he emulated a father on a popular sitcom at the time and learned life principles from the way he raised his TV children. When these guys didn’t have a fatherly guide, they went looking for one!

A father should be someone who trains, mentors, sets a good example, teaches dignity, truth, respect, and wisdom. I’m thankful I have that kind of father and today, publicly, I wanted to tell my daddy, “Thank you.” If you have a good father or father figure, let him know. He deserves to hear it because it takes strength of character to remain stable at all times.

Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother—this is the first commandment with a promise, that all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth. Ephesians 6:2-3 AMPC