First of all, I would like to wish all of the fathers out there, a Happy Father’s Day. Today, I am going to pay tribute to my father, but I’m going to tell you a bit about him first. My father is a jack of all trades. The old phrase is “jack of all trades, master of none”, but my father has proven that wrong. He is a talented carpenter and contractor. With the exception of the reno done by Debbie Travis, my father has done every single renovation on our family home himself. When I was a kid we never had to buy paintings because my father is also a talented artist, and paints just as well–if not better–than any of the artists selling prints. My dad can also sew, and make his own patterns. I didn’t know this until I found him in the basement one day, cutting out a pattern so he could make his own pajamas. (He used the sewing machine, and everything!) He also has a beautiful singing voice.
I tell you all of this because my father is too humble to tell you himself. (And there’s nothing wrong with that) One of the first lessons that my father ever taught me was that a person does not have to be loud and controlling to be a leader. He has led this family for almost 40 years from behind the scenes. My mother is the one who gets all the attention, but she would not be the woman she is today had it not been for my father’s constant support. In the mid-to-late 80s, Dad stayed at home part-time to take care of my brother and me. He was comfortable enough in his skin his to allow his wife to be all she was created to be, without feeling threatened.
My dad led our household, not with an iron fist, but with an open heart. My brother and me followed the rules out of reverence for him, not because we were afraid of what would happen. (We still were afraid though! He’s a big guy.)
Over the years, Dad has given a lot of good advice. Here are some of his best lines:
“You can’t protect people from their own stupidity.”
“Find the laziest person on your job and do the opposite of what they do. Laziness is a liability.”
“If you can’t fight, just be quiet and leave people alone. You don’t want to take a beating for running your mouth.”
“Guard your singleness. I’d rather you be happy and single, than miserable and married. I don’t want to go to jail for beating the man that messes with my daughter.”
“No job that gives you an honest wage for legal work is beneath you. You need the money, so you can’t afford to be picky.”
“When you do something, do it right the first time, so you don’t have to go back to correct your mistakes.”
“Don’t be a respecter of persons. Everyone is valuable, whether you think they are or not.”
And finally: “[We] don’t start fights. People bring fights to us, and we finish them.”
My father established his role as the earthly head of our family without drawing any attention to himself. He made sure that every person knew how important his or her role was, and admonished us for stepping out of line. When I was younger, I’d get annoyed when mom said, “You’re just like your father!” Now I’m proud of it. Being just like my father means I have a calmness in the middle of a storm. I pay an equal measure of respect to all, regardless of title or position. It means working hard, and having the ability to laugh at oneself. But most of all, it means that I recognize that I am the vessel through which the gifts of God flow rather than the source of the gifts. Thank you, Dad for being all that you are in my life, and in our family.
I am truly blessed to have him in my life.
Blessings to all men, everywhere, whether you are a father or not.