“It is a wise father who knows his child. But maybe it’s a very wise child who takes time to know his father.”
Father’s Day is this weekend. It’s a special day we set aside to honor our dads. For me, I hope it’s not just that one day that I honor my Dad. The older I get, the more I appreciate him. When we were growing up, my Dad was very strict. He meant what he said and said what he meant. I’m not sure I ever remember him saying “if you do that one my time” and not following through if we did it one more time. He set very high standards for me and my brother, Jeff. Thinking back, it was always about the effort as much as the result. He knew if we gave it our all and only asked us to do the best we could. We both played different sports but only because we wanted to play. It was never about him. When we won, there wasn’t a prouder person around. When we lost, he was the first one to console us without telling us where we messed up.
This may be hard to believe, but I did my fair share of things to get in trouble. I got my share of spankings. (Yes, my Dad did spank us with a belt and my brother and I both turned out just fine.) But I never questioned that my Dad loved me. At no time did I ever think that he thought less of me. Of course, I know I disappointed him at times and there was nothing worse for me. I didn’t care so much about the spankings but it was knowing that I had let my Dad down that was the real punishment.
As I grew up, a strange thing happened. Our relationship began to change. When I left home for college, I believe that was only the second time I saw my Dad cry. (The first time was when I told him that I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and wanted to be baptized.) One of the last things he told me before I put my last few items in my car was to be sure to call my Mom. He said she would want to hear from me at least once a week. When I would call home to talk to my Mom, I always spoke to my Dad too. Our relationship changed without me even realizing it. It seems like one day, my Dad was my Dad and before I knew it, he had become my best friend. To this day, he’s the first person I call when I have an extra ticket to an Alabama football game or any other event. Aside from my wife, there’s no one I would rather spend time with than my Dad.
“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”
~ Clarence -Budington Kelland
The best gift my Dad gave to me as I grew up, and even through today, is a Christian father that loves his wife. My Mom and Dad celebrated their 48th anniversary back in February. Because they’re both human, I know they’ve had differences over the years. One thing I can say, though, is that I never thought for a single minute that my Dad didn’t love my Mom. If every marriage could emulate theirs, divorce and infidelity would not exist. In our house, Christian principles were taught from the very beginning. My Dad was one of those people that lived what he taught. I’ve jokingly (somewhat) said that if my Dad had been alive in Bible times, we would be talking about him along with Abraham and David. I’ve never known anyone else that models what a Christian is supposed to be like my Dad. I believe that when we get to heaven, we will meet those people who we influenced for God in a positive way. I think those people will tell us thank you and we may not have even known that many of them were even watching us. If that does happen, there will be a very, very long line of people wanting to speak to my Dad. The number of children, teenagers and adults that he has impacted is huge. My Dad has never met a stranger and he treats everyone with the utmost respect.
My Dad will be 70 years old next year but he doesn’t seem to know that. He is full of life. He still teaches 5th graders in Sunday School at Gardendale’s First Baptist Church. He’s active with The Gideons International distributing Bibles at schools, prisons, and anywhere else they are permitted to go. He still goes to work every day at Barber Companies. He and I will volunteer together at events at Barber Motorsports Park like the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama and Triumph Superbike Classic.
“What a father says to his children is not heard by the world, but it will be heard by posterity.”
~ Jean Paul Richter
I could go on and on and on about my Dad, but I won’t at this time. People have told me often, “You’re just like your Dad.” I always say thank you because I can’t imagine a bigger compliment someone could pay me. Others will tell me, “You have a great Dad.” I always tell them that they’re right and I’m very lucky. Simply put, I would not be who I am today if it were not for my Dad. I owe him everything.
THANKS, DAD! I LOVE YOU!
A Father’s Love
A father is respected because
he gives his children leadership…
he gives his children care…
he gives his children time…
he gives his children the one thing
they treasure most – himself.