In the fall of 1967 a young Air Force Sergeant receives his new orders. He arrives home to share the news he will soon be leaving for Vietnam. His young wife is only 29. His kids are eleven, eight, and four. Thinking through future scenarios he wants to assure the safety and security of his young family.
He buys a house they can call home, and enjoys moving them in. They celebrate the house, but the homecoming will have to wait.
The day of departure comes all too quickly. He draws them all near and hugs them tightly. In the warmth of his embrace he reconfirms his love and assures them he will be back before they know it.
I was eight years old when my dad left for a year to serve our country. It has been said that you don’t appreciate what you have or its significance until it is gone.
One of the most memorable days of my life was greeting my dad when he returned home. He passed away nearly 12 years ago, but Fathers Day is a wonderful time to remember the lessons he shared.
“When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.” — William Shakespeare
Here are ten things my dad taught me. Some he sat me down and laid it out, some he taught me by what he did, and a couple still make me laugh.
- Love the Lord! He came to faith when I was a teenager. A tough-minded thinker who always sought the truth in everything. If he came to understand the saving grace of Jesus Christ there was a truth here I needed to pay attention to.
- Love your wife! You don’t realize how important this example is until you are married and have a family of your own. My dad’s love for my mom was always evident and on display.
- Hug your kids and reassure them every day they are loved. If there is any doubt, take a drive to Dairy Queen and buy them the biggest ice cream cone on the menu.
- Honor your commitments. You may not like it, you may want to change your mind, but finish what you commit to.
- Work hard and deliver more than is expected. Life doesn’t owe you anything, but never let anyone say you did not give it your best.
- Be kind and give generously—be grateful for what you have and let it be enough. I watched him pull money from his pocket knowing it was the last dollars he had, and give it to a complete stranger just because they asked.
- Be humble. Oh this was and is a tough lesson for me. He would say, “Do your best and your best will be recognized when the time is right.”
- Never let your gas tank fall below half in the winter, check the oil when you fill up, and pay attention to your tire pressure. The message was be prepared and think about future in advance.
- “If you don’t think it is a good day, just try missing one!” It was his way of saying choose a positive attitude, and make the best of whatever the day brings you.
- Don’t celebrate a W.S.U. Cougar victory too early—they can “Coug It”! Even if you don’t understand what it means to “Coug It” you do understand the game is not over until it is over.
Happy Fathers Day!
Make it a great day of remembering great lessons, and sharing the love of family.
What memorable lessons did your dad teach you? Share your favorite in the comments below.