Remembering Dad

Father’s Day will be celebrated throughout large portions of the world this Sunday. OurFather-And-Son oldest son will be coming over with our youngest granddaughter to celebrate and I’m looking forward to that. It’s such a blessing to be a father and grandfather (and also an “opa”). I have my share of regrets about how I parented our two boys but the Lord is merciful and forgiving.

This will be the first Father’s Day without my Dad around. He died last July. My Dad and I didn’t have much of a relationship. He was a very reserved and formal person and had a hard time lowering himself to my level as I was growing up. As I transformed into a gangly teenager he became borderline abusive. Anytime I did something wrong, which was most of the time in his eyes, he would say, “What’s the matter with you?” I always wanted to answer, “Nothing! What’s the matter with YOU?,” but clenched my teeth and kept it inside because I had been well-trained not to be disrespectful. When my Dad was home on the weekends I generally tried to be in some other part of the neighborhood. My father was clearly disappointed in me so, as kids will do, I did my best to meet his drooping expectations, and around and around we went. The old maxim is boys generally get along with their Moms and girls with their Dads and that was the case in our family. The person my sisters wept over at his funeral wasn’t quite the person I knew growing up. Fathers are generally tough on their sons and some are even tougher.

I got married and moved out of the house at the ripe old age of eighteen and one of my motivations was to get away from my father as quickly as I could. As time went on and we raised our own children, I gradually accepted that Dad was an imperfect person and had done the best that he could with an imperfect son. But the memories remained.

I accepted the Lord thirty-three years ago and talked to my parents about salvation several times. My father had a good friend who was a Christian and I know they spoke about the Gospel several times. I’m hoping my father put his faith in Christ as Savior.

This past week we received a check for my portion of my parents’ estate. It wasn’t a fortune but it was enough to pay off the balance of our home equity loan. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

My Dad messed up as a father. I messed up as a father. I’m so grateful for my perfect Father in Heaven who loved me so much He sent His Son to die for my sins. When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, He cancelled ALL of my sin debt! My Shepherd now leads me and I follow (most imperfectly!).

Dads, love your children. Be the spiritual leader of your home but don’t exasperate your children. Mix tenderness with strength. Love and lead with the Lord as your example. Words said in anger and frustration can’t be taken back. If unchecked, frustration and anger will become your knee-jerk reactions to the challenges your growing children will present to you.

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

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24 thoughts on “Remembering Dad

  1. That’s was very good advice and the scripture spoke on it’s own as well. I’m a father as well and you have made me think to give more of an ear to my son before I react like we all are incline to do, with more of a tender heart as I receive from the Lord.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment. Unfortunately, I think I picked up some of my father’s parenting style. If I could do it all over again, I would change a lot. I’ve apologized to both my sons for being an imperfect father and I’m grateful for their love and forgiveness.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mine left us when I was 10 and then died about 35 years ago. I would say, in his case, he really didn’t do the best he could have. I may repost my last year Father’s day post. Not sure yet.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Another man at camp this week was taking advantage of a teachable moment with some of the boys, and had a group of about 10 assembled. He asked how many had both mom and dad at home. One boy raised his hand. Wow

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It’s very sad, Tom. I know it’s one reason God has insisted I work with the kids, because so many are troubled and in trouble. And most key, is the fact that for the most part I have been there and done that. I wasn’t ever abused or anything, thank God, but anything else I likely experienced. I will probably write about that some day. In fact, I may soon, while it is on m heart. Thanks for getting my thoughts going on this, Tom

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Thanks, Wally. You’re so right, kids today are starving for some godly, masculine influence in their lives. God bless you as you serve Him in this.

        Just a thought: I hesitated about writing that post about my Dad yesterday. I thought some would interpret it as stumping for sympathy. But that was my way of putting all my feelings on the table before the Lord so I could forgive my Dad of all of his imperfections and get any remaining bitterness out of my heart. I don’t want to say it was “cathartic” because that sounds so secular, but it allowed me to sort through my feelings and get things right with the Lord.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Well, I don’t know that catharsis is a bad way to say it at all. The decision to share personal stuff like that can be tought, because sometimes it does seem like trolling for sympathy. Or, in the case of a testimony can seem like a “hey I’m so special, see what God saved me from?”

        On the other hand, personal experiences can really minister to another person who might have ben there themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jim. Yes, it’s tough to confront my feelings about my Dad’s mistakes and my own mistakes with my sons. I hope others can benefit from my mistakes.

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