We all learn different things from our Dads. Some good and some bad. We find ourselves shaped by these things more than we realize, for better or for worse. While I recognize that not everyone has something to celebrate on Father’s Day, I am blessed to say that I have an incredible Dad to celebrate. I am surely a different and better person because of my Dad.
My Dad has always worked hard for our family and while I did learn so much from his admirable work ethic, he taught me more about how to value time spent not working. What’s the point of all that hard work if you don’t enjoy the life you are providing for? Keep your playful, childlike spirit. Get off your butt and go enjoy yourself. My Dad loves sports and through his hard work, he is able to go to all types of sporting events and sit right up front. Bring your glove to the baseball games so you can catch a fly ball. He is generous with his time off, taking friends and family along for the good times. I have memories from over a dozen trips to NASCAR races, where we hung out on pit road that I will treasure for the rest of my life. If you’re going to work hard, make sure to play hard too.
Become a meaningful part of your community through service. Our world works better when we work together. Real community service is a lifestyle, not a random activity you participate in when you feel like. My Dad has been a faithful, active member of the Lions Club for most of my life, serving in leadership roles and doing everything he can to keep that organization and the good it does going. Community service isn’t just writing a check, it is getting your hands dirty and giving an actual part of your life, expecting nothing in return. Many an evening of his is now spent supporting community events like school sports and the 4H club. You don’t have to just show up to these things begrudingly. You can enjoy yourself as you see how your help and encouragement builds up others. My Dad chooses to sponsor clubs, feed football teams and supply the schools with needs unmet because he knows we are all better off when we all do our best to be generous with our time and our resources.
It is easy to give up on people, particularly when people are being incredibly difficult or unlovable. Our culture encourages self sufficiency and fails to show grace to people who just can’t seem to get it together. Our culture shows love to the popular, powerful and lovable when really the lonely, weak and hard to love people in this world can be changed with a little (or a lot) of support. I continue to watch my Dad stand steadfast in grace and in forgiveness. He is a faithful supporter of others. He doesn’t give up on anyone. I’ve seen him be graceful and supportive to the point of self sacrifice, over and over again. He gives the angry, the sad, the addicted, the broken, the poor, the dishonest and the homeless another chance, especially when they don’t deserve it. I have seen all those people given chances and support by him become stronger and free from whatever was keeping them imprisoned.
So on this Father’s Day, I am reminding myself of these lessons and I am renewing my desire to let these traits display themselves in my life more. We get to choose where our heart will lie everyday and I want my heart to lie in a place that honors the life my Dad lives by working hard to enjoy the sweet stuff, serving others and offering grace and support to those who need it. I want to believe in the possibilities we all have inside of us and help others reach those possibilities.
Happy Father’s Day to my Dad and Elliott’s Grandaddy!