Father’s Day

Tomorrow is Father’s Day.  My dad passed away of cancer in 1997 at the age of 70.  Gone too soon.

I’m pushing 50 and I’ve lived long enough to realize that much, if not most, of the good in me was influenced, molded, and shaped by my dad.  Just a few examples…

My dad taught me to get up and go to work everyday … and work hard.  His motto was, “You don’t ‘call in’ sick – you ‘crawl-in’ sick.  He was the hardest working man I’ve known.

My dad taught me that I was entitled to nothing and if I wanted something that it was up to me to work hard and get it.  I think a lot of Americans have forgotten that principle.

My dad taught me, and I quote, “If you make your bed – you sleep in it”.  What he meant was that life is all about sowing and reaping.  If you make bad decisions – don’t whine when the consequences hit home – and they will hit home eventually.

My dad taught me to handle my money wisely.  Now, I confess I could have done a better job over the years.  But the lesson I’ve learned is (as other lessons I’ve learned that dad tried to teach me) dad was right about how to handle money.  If I’d handled my money like he taught me … well, let’s not think about that.

My dad taught me it’s not your past that counts – it’s what you do with your future.  My dad was born dirt poor during the Depression and grew up on the side of mountain in north Georgia.  He quit school in the 9th grade.  He married at 19 and had three kids.   At 27 his first wife died – leaving him with three young kids.  He married my mom in 1958, moved to McDonough, Georgia in 1960 and I came along in 1962.  There was a time in my infant years that all six of us lived in a single wide trailer!  But because of my dad’s entrepreneurial spirit, common sense, and no-stop-all-go attitude he became a successful businessman with several businesses and many real-estate holdings.  He built the nicest house on our street and had it paid for by the time he was 40 years old.  We lived well.  He was proof that it’s not where you came from – it’s where you’re going.

My dad taught me a great love for music.  Dad was an excellent guitar, banjo, and mandolin player.  He started me on guitar at age four and piano at age five.  There’s was a joke in our house that if you couldn’t play an instrument or sing by the age of five – you didn’t eat!  The countless hours I sat around playing music with my dad are precious to me and I will never forget them.  The joy music has brought me over the years is priceless.

And the most important thing – my dad taught me to follow Jesus.  Dad became a follower of Jesus in 1973 and it changed his life.  Dad taught me the importance of reading the Bible, attending church regularly (our family calendar was centered around the church calendar) and being generous with God.  My dad was very generous with the church, other ministries, and pastors.  In fact, one year the IRS audited him because he’d given so much money away!  They didn’t believe he’d giving away so much.  After the audit, though, the IRS owed him money!  My dad died knowing the grace of God in his life.

My regrets?  Not spending more time with my dad and not following his advice more.  Oh well, live and learn.  But I do miss the old man terribly.  His body rests in a grave yard on the side of a mountain in north Georgia not far from where he grew up.  It comforts me to know I’ll see him again in heaven one day.  Maybe God will let us pull out the guitars and sing You Are My Flower (by Flatt and Scruggs) one more time.

Happy Father’s Day, Pop.

~ by jackpickel on June 16, 2012.

One Response to “Father’s Day”

  1. Lost my dad 17 years ago. He was 63. Miss him still. Your post challenges me to stop and think about what he taught me, both good and bad.

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