We just celebrated by Father’s Day, but I thought I would extend it a little bit by talking about a few things that I’m really glad my dad has given me or taught me.
1) A love and appreciation of reading
If you see my dad at home, there’s about a 50% chance that you’ll see him reading something, whether it’s a biography, WORLD magazine, a book in the Anne of Green Gables series, online articles about the Packers, a Tom Clancy novel, or the newspaper. He modeled for me the value of reading and the lifelong benefits and enjoyment it brings. He also read aloud to us a lot growing up -- we made it through the Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings series, and if I’m not mistaken, all of the Chronicles of Prydain. Most memorably, every year during the holiday season he read us The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Well, almost all of it. Usually that book had to get passed around when we got to the end because whoever was reading it would start to cry.
2) How to make conversation
My dad is really good at asking people questions about themselves, and he’s a good listener to boot. I never realized how valuable those skills were until I started meeting people who weren’t great at keeping a conversation going or who just liked to hear themselves talk.
3) The importance of exercise
Although I’ve (unfortunately) never been great at consistently following my dad’s example in the area of exercise, I’m glad I have his voice in my head telling me that I’d feel better if I got outside and went for a walk. My dad is very active -- he exercises every day and continues to play all kinds of sports, including ultimate frisbee, basketball, badminton, volleyball, hockey, and (touch) football. He’s probably going to live forever unless he breaks his back sledding when he’s 80.
4) How to be smart with money
I’m not quite as thrifty as my dad, but I’m beyond grateful for the example he set for me money-wise. He’s a saver, but he’s a generous one. Because of those qualities, he helped all of his kids graduate from college with little to no debt (a fact which I grow more thankful for by the day). Not only has he given that gift (along with many, many others) to us, but he also gives a lot to others. He modeled both tithing and giving a lot to charities. He taught me to pay off my credit card bill every month and to not spend money on things that are bad investments. My wallet and I thank him.
5) My need for Christ
Although I’m thankful for all the things my dad taught me, I’m most grateful for the fact that he is a Christian and that he led my family spiritually. My dad took us to church and expected us to participate in the service. He taught our Sunday School and confirmation classes. He led us in devotions and prayers at home. He listened to sermons online and shared them with us on road trips. Most importantly, he didn’t and doesn’t view faith as something nice that only happens on Sundays but as something that should impact our whole lives.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. And thank you.