Fathers have a tremendous influence in our lives. Charles F. Kettering says, “Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example instead of his advice.” Terri Guillemets echoes that same sentiment, “Every son quotes his father, in words and in deeds.”
As you think back to your fathers and grandfathers, what are some of the things you do in words and deeds that you learned from them?
Which ones are you passing on to your children and grandchildren? Enjoy these examples from our Legacy Coalition core team.
1) My father taught me a lot of things, but he didn’t have to say much. The old adage “more is caught than taught” was certainly true of my dad. He rarely, if ever, sat me down and told me what he believed in or what he thought about things. But I had my eyes on him. I watched how he treated my mother every day and in the process learned that good husbands love their wives more than their jobs, their recreation, or even their children. I watched how my dad never missed a church service and learned that real men worship and serve God whenever they have the opportunity. I watched my building-contractor father drop significant sums into the offering plate, give jobs to people who were unemployed, donate a new office building to Youth for Christ, and I learned the surprising joy of generosity. All these things and more my father taught me and he didn’t have to say a word.
2) My father often said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” I often find myself sharing that with the grandchildren, especially when they are learning a new task, whether it is mowing the grass or feeding the chickens.
3) My dad always said, “Make sure you finish what you start. Don’t start something you are not prepared to finish.” He was not talking just about work or a project. He meant conversations that could escalate into verbal arguments or confrontations. “Think before you speak or act” was the underlying lesson that has served me well and one I passed on to my children and now grandchildren.
“It is admirable for a man to take his son fishing, but there is a special place in heaven for the father who takes his daughter shopping.” [John Sinor] What were some of the admirable things that your father or grandfather did?
4) My father loved music – big band, jazz, and classical were his favorites. Every Sunday he would play his records, take out his trumpet, and harmonize along. He never learned to read music but played by ear. I greatly admired how he could play so well without a piece of music in front of him. He didn’t even hit a sour note. I began playing the trumpet in elementary school and after numerous private lessons over eight years, never came close to his ability. He always came to my school concerts and was very encouraging. I knew that took fortitude on his behalf. He did mention at one of my first elementary concerts with the beginning band that he was not sure if we were still tuning or if that was the first song. Thank goodness he had a good sense of humor.
5) My father was an extremely hard worker and provider for our family. Due to my severe illness and numerous surgeries, there were times he held down three jobs to make sure all bills were paid. I learned the value of hard work and the importance of taking care of my family, no matter the sacrifice that must be made. I greatly admired my father’s sense of responsibility and I try to emulate him in my life.
“When you’re young, you think your dad is Superman. Then you grow up, and you realize he’s just a regular guy who wears a cape.” [Dave Attell] Dads do amazing things.
6) My dad loved music. He never took a lesson in his life but could play the violin, the Hawaiian Guitar, the harmonica, and the acoustic guitar. He loved to sing and would often gather the family around the piano. I would play and he would go from musical instrument to musical instrument. I guess I inherited my ability to play the piano by ear from him. Great memories! I love music and gospel hymns to this day and always look forward to planning a sing-a-long!
7) My father greatly valued education and instilled it into each of us, his children. As a married man with a wife and five children, he pursued his Master’s degree along with working full time. He was willing to put in the extra hours to better provide for our family. Many of our vacations centered around historical events like Gettysburg, Valley Forge, and Williamsburg. He was always teaching! I probably get my love of teaching from him. It just comes naturally.
8) My father could build anything! I remember many of his projects around the house. Not the least of which was the third level to our home. He designed, framed, and did all the inside work to create extra bedroom space for his growing family. He would help me with school projects. On Saturday mornings after his weekly trip to the barber, we would meet in his workshop in the basement to design and finish the next school project. Whether it was building a cage to collect butterflies or a bugle out of metal and plastic tubing, the memories of time spent are cherished.
Let’s be sure that as our children and grandchildren follow our example in words and deeds, their lives accomplish admirable and amazing things for God.
What are those life lessons and stories from your dad and grandfather that you want to remember? Be sure to pass them on! This is a great time as we honor and celebrate the tremendous influence of our fathers.
Most importantly, use this time to point to the most admirable and amazing Father of all – God!