Honor your father

Ephesians 6:1-4

1 Children, do what your parents tell you. This is only right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, 3 “so you will live well and have a long life.” 4 Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master. (The Message)

As this Fathers Day approaches, I find myself reflecting on many things.  I think of my own father, how in many ways he was distant and a man of few words.  He was hard working and was skilled in so many areas I only wish, today, that I had spent more time with him learning from him.  He was not a perfect father, no, far from it.  He was quick to temper and often disciplined out of temper rather than strategic learning.  He was not formally educated and did not encourage me to excel in school.  He was not rich and was not a master of financial investment or budgetary restraint.

No, my father was not perfect, but he loved his children.  No matter how much discipline he meted out, or how much he would yell at us when we pushed his buttons, we all knew he loved us.

My most vivid memory of my father was on the day I was leaving to go into the military.  It was during the Vietnam War, and I left a perfectly good job to sign up for the military.  I was certain I would be drafted and would have little control over the branch of service I would enter, so I chose to get ahead of the game and enlist.  When I told my parents, they were livid.  They could not understand why I would enlist and not take my chances on the draft.  My mother was so mad she would not talk to me.  My father, trying to keep the peace in his own way, went to his work shed and made himself scarce.  I felt my whole family was against my decision.

Early the next morning I boarded a Greyhound bus headed for the big city of Phoenix Arizona where I would go through my final activities before heading off to basic training.  I said my goodbyes to my girlfriend the night before so I was by myself at 6:00 a.m. as I looked around the town of my birth for what could be the last time. 

From the bus window I scanned the small Arizona town until my eyes fell upon a man standing in the shadows.  It was my father.  I hurried off the bus like a salmon swimming up stream against the flow of others boarding the same bus.  As I walked up to my father, he extended a hand shake, his way of saying goodbye.  

He then reached in his pocket and pulled out a ten dollar bill.  It was all he ever carried.  To him it was his lifeline. He used that ten dollars to buy his tobacco and papers to roll his own cigarettes.  It was money he kept in case of an emergency.  With a family of eight kids and a janitors position, it was a lot of money to him.  With that he stuffed the bill in my pocked and said “thought you might need this”.

Those words though not eloquent or ground shaking in the least, were powerful to my soul.  My father took all he had and invested it in me, knowing I would not fail.  His few words were supportive in that he arose early and made his way to the bus stop in support of what I was doing.  In those few words he more than communicated his love to me.

I only saw my father a few times in the years that followed that night.  Life had taken me far from home and my visits were few and short.  One day as I arrived home from work my wife met me and said she just received a phone call that my father was gravely ill and the family was being called in to see him for the last time. 

I did not get home in time, my father died while I was in route, by train, to my home town.

Was my father a hero?  Was my father a master of fatherhood?  No, not in the eyes of any outsider who knew little of him.  But to me, and to my brothers and sisters, he was all of those things and more.  He was a man who sacrificed all to show his love.

En servicio como padre

Dave

Please take a moment to honor a father your have come to know as a hero.  Tell me and my readers about this father, in the comments below, and we will help you honor him this weekend in our prayers and thoughts.  Then email this link to others that they might also receive the promise of Ephesians 6:2.

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