A father’s day tribute – 10 things I learned from my Dad
I thank God for giving me the Dad He did. For the past (almost) 46 years my life has been impacted by God’s grace through his life. I clearly see it… and I’m grateful.
This post is a brief Father’s Day tribute. It’s a list of 10 of the most important things my Dad taught me.
When I say, “he taught me” understand I’m not talking about lectures he gave me, or times of intentional instruction, or classes he made sure I attended. I’m talking about things he insisted upon as household standards or things that he “exampled” for me.
10 things I learned from my Dad
- Be truthful. Some of the worst spankings I ever got were for times when I had lied. They were very effective (and I don’t consider them abusive at all). And he lived it too. I remember once hearing a man in the community say, “If Al Green says he’ll do it, it’s as good as done.” That statement worked wonders in my little boy heart.
- Respect your mother. I recall another time of intense discipline (how’s that for a description?) for smarting off to my mom. Dad made sure we understood that she would be respected… and we didn’t forget. That’s a lesson I’ve carried into my own home… and my oldest son can tell you a similar story between him and me that had the same impact.
- Work hard. Dad worked well over 50 hours a week every single week I lived in his home. He’d come home and work on house repairs, family vacations, remodeling projects, baseball skills, fishing trips for the family, and much more. I learned how to work hard from watching my Dad.
- Provide for your family. In our home we saw very clear and appropriate male and female roles modeled. Dad was the provider and Mom was the homemaker. That doesn’t mean Mom couldn’t or never worked, but one thing it does mean is that Dad took his role as provider very seriously, and he did it well. As a result, I’ve had a deep conviction to make sure I take care of my family diligently.
- Be a man. I’m not sure exactly how I learned this from my Dad, but I did. It was probably more in the way he handled himself than anything else. I learned that men don’t let their emotions rule them. They don’t take their ball and go home. They don’t take out their anger on others. They don’t let circumstances keep them down. Men face challenges instead of running from them. Dad’s stick-to-it nature has impacted me greatly.
- Be friendly. To be honest I still struggle to apply this one, mainly because of how I’m wired. I get focused on a task or thought and I can easily slip into a mode where people come second. But Dad was not that way. To this day he’s very welcoming and friendly to anyone he meets. Around our little town, it seemed like everyone knew Al Green and had nothing but good to say about him.
- Do a good job. I still remember when Dad helped me work on my pinewood derby car for Cub Scouts. He didn’t do the work for me like some Dads… he showed me how to do the work; and it was really, really good work. That year my car not only won the award for speed but also the award for appearance (it looked like an American flag) . I learned something about quality, taking pride in what you do, attention to detail, and doing a job well. Dad is very good at those things.
- Be faithful. I can remember as a kid being amazed (and thankful) that my parents were still married when many of my friend’s parents were not. I attribute a lot of that to my Dad’s faithfulness. When he married my Mom he made a commitment, and he understood what that meant. He has stayed true to it all these years (They’ll celebrate 66 this year). They still talk fondly of each other and they still kiss goodnight (I saw them last time I visited). That’s faithfulness.
- Do the right thing. I remember once when I came home and told Dad that I’d run into a parked car when I was messing around on my bike, and broke the tail lights. He went with me to knock on the stranger’s door, tell them what I’d done, and arrange to pay for the damage out of my paper route earnings (and it was a classic car, so it wasn’t cheap). I still remember knocking on that door and the integrity it built into my life.
- Sacrifice for others. My dad worked blue collar jobs all his life. He liked working with his hands and building things so I suspect he did so, at least in part, because it was the kind of work he liked to do.He may have fulfilled every one of his personal ambitions simply by being a husband and dad and a good employee. But I’ve wondered more than once if he gave up any dreams or personal ambitions in order to do the right thing by us… his family. I’ve wondered often how much true sacrifice he demonstrated that I’ve not known about. It’s probably fuel for a great conversation. But I think if I asked him about it he’d simply say, “I don’t think I made sacrifices. I just did what needed to be done.“
That’s my Dad. Thanks Dad, for teaching me these and an incalculable sum of other things that have shaped me into the man I am today. Thanks for being God’s tool in my life.