After writing about things my mother taught me, I need to be fair and balanced and write about things my father taught me. Fortunately this won’t be hard because my father taught me just as much as my mother.
The first thing my father taught me – and the most important – is to be faithful. Whether it is loving my mom or loving God, my father is the most faithful person I know. When I drove away every Sunday school teacher, my father ended up being my teacher for many years. He taught me to love God with my whole heart, no matter what the cost. He served on just about every committee at church because it was a way to serve God. As I think about my father’s faith, I always remember Proverbs 3:3: “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.”
Another thing my father taught me is sticking to a decision and not turning back. My dad struggled to pay his way through college and medical school. Although his parents were supportive, they couldn’t help him much financially. But Dad never doubted he could become the doctor he had always wanted to be. When Dad makes a decision about something, he never turns back and never wavers. Because of this, when Dad gives his word, you know it is golden. People trust Dad and know they can rely on him. I want to be this kind of a person too. Letting my yes be a yes and my no be a no (James 5:12).
A third thing my father taught is me recruiting a team to do things. Well, maybe recruiting is the wrong word. It was more like Dad decided for us as a family. For instance, when Dad bought a sailboat, we all learned to sail. And all us kids went with him when he went out on the boat – whether we wanted to or not. When Dad wanted to golf, we all learned to golf. But Dad was right: when we do it all together, anything is more fun. Although Dad could have done things on his own, the team – the family – was more important.
A fourth thing my father taught me is to keep going. About ten years ago I thought Dad was dying. He had a heart attack, then bypass surgery, then a stroke, then he tore his Achilles’s tendon during rehab. It took a long time to get his medications balanced and he was tired and depressed. But Dad didn’t stop living and resign himself to the recliner. He kept working and working until he got better. He can’t walk as far or fast as he used to, but he keeps going. Down on St. Simons Island, he rides his bike everywhere. He may wobble as he starts out, but he is strong and steady once he gets going.
One final thing my father taught me: indulge your sweet tooth. I think I get my sweet tooth from Dad because he is always up for dessert. And he doesn’t skimp with a small – when he indulges he goes for it and doesn’t feel guilty. We have to remember to savor the sweet things in life. Time marches on and we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. So, if you can find some sweetness – indulge and enjoy!
I am so blessed to still have both my parents. I am enjoying retirement more because they are making themselves a part of it. My father has taught me so much and I hope to have many more years of learning from him.
How about you? What did your father teach you?