Turn on the television and chances are good that you’ll find a show with a father who is ignorant, incapable or simply a joke. Hollywood has a knack for making a mockery of one of the most important and influential roles any man can have. And we, as consumers, have quickly adapted and assumed that the men in our lives truly are incapable of most any task and are hardly worth listening to.
It’s sad, really.
We have gone from the adage “Father knows best” to the attitude “Fathers don’t even matter.” We have relegated the role of Father as merely an afterthought. As if the contribution of sperm and a little DNA were all that men have to offer in their role as Parent.
What would happen if we actually paid heed to the wisdom of these men, who’ve provided food, shelter, and clothing to us? What would happen if we stopped to reflect on the messages they’ve sent us, often without any words at all? What would happen if we, for a brief moment, paused to listen to their silence, to hear what they hear?
This week, Matt and I sat down and shared some of the lessons our dads have each taught us. My own dad has been gone now for over 20 years, taken by a sudden heart attack in the middle of the night. We lived a couple states away at the time and the phone call I received from my mom at 3:00 a.m. is one I won’t soon forget. My dad’s death shook me to my core and honestly, nothing’s quite been the same ever since.
I only had 23 years with my dad. But those 23 years counted because he made them count. He invested in my brother and I and the boys he led in Scouts. He invested in the kids he taught at our high school and in our church’s Sunday School. He invested in his wife, my mom. He invested in his relationship with the God who saved him. And he lived that all out in front of us every day. He sometimes fell, but he was never too proud to admit his own shortcomings.
I could spend hundreds of pages writing down the lessons he taught me in those short years. He was a good, flawed, passionate man who loved God, his wife, and his kids.
Matt’s dad is still around, for which we are super grateful!
He, too, has loved God and his wife and kids well. He has shown himself to be loyal and disciplined and compassionate, a rock in the storm. And while he’s been a good model for Matt to look to, he’s also been a second dad to me. He’s shown his grace and love in a million ways over the years.
Matt and I recognize that we are exceedingly fortunate to have both been raised by godly, loving men, who were committed to their families. We understand that not everyone is that fortunate.
That being said, because we were both blessed to have a couple of good eggs for dads, we wanted to share with you some of the wisdom they shared with us.
Here’s a little glimpse:
- Slow down and enjoy the process
- Set your priorities
- Belly laugh
- Dream big and chase those dreams
- If you’re going to do a thing, do it well
- Say you’re sorry
Of course, the list could go on and on. This is just a fraction of the lessons our dads have taught us over the years. And I’m sure, as we continue to reflect on the men who helped raise and shape us and the ways they impacted our lives, more and more lessons will reveal themselves.
Driving home from dance class with my daughter tonight, we were talking about the importance of valuing people in our lives. She’s worried that she takes us, her mom, dad, and brother, for granted. She does. We all do. That’s what happens when you have someone in your life who’s just always there. They start to blend in with your surroundings. You don’t always notice the ways they add value to your life on a daily basis.
Until they’re gone.
Suddenly, those smiles, the hugs, the laughter, the sage advice, and the off-color jokes, all crystalize and you understand how valuable and sacred that love is. It all comes into super sharp focus and all you want is one more chance to say “I love you.”
As you listen to this week’s episode, I trust that you will not only be challenged by some of the lessons we’re passing on, but also that you would consider the men in your own life, whether they’re your father or a father-figure, and the ways they have shaped and molded you. Would you take the time to put into words the value they’ve added to your life? Would you share that with them?
Dads are really important. And not just because they’re the best at telling Dad Jokes. Dads have a lot to offer if we give them half a chance.
Tell your dad you love him. I know he’d like to hear it.
Me (Brandy) on my first pony ride with my mom and dad on either side. Circa 1975.