Thursday, June 12, 2014

17 things my dad always did that I'm making traditions with my kids!

Father's day takes on a whole new meaning when you become a dad. When I was a kid, Father's Day was mostly about remembering to wish my dad a happy Father's Day, and ask my mom which of the gifts she bought was supposed to be from me. And at some point, my school or church teacher would force the class to sit down and think of some thankful things to write on poorly crafted construction paper cards. I would dubiously make my dad a card. But when I actually gave it to him, I was like Here Father. I have forged this card out of my deep and undying gratitude. You're welcome.

Then a few years ago I became a father myself. It changed everything about father's day.

I noticed the radio playing songs like 'Lead Me' by Sanctus Reel and 'Courageous' by Casting Crowns. Pastor's were preaching about leaving a legacy through your children. Suddenly, what seemed like a 'b list' holiday, felt more like a call to action. And that's okay, because guys are built like that. Challenge is often the best thing for us.

In a lot of ways, being a man is about answering one question - do I have what it takes? Most men ask this of themselves daily.

Do I have what it takes...
to finish school?
to remain valuable to my company?
to love a woman?
to be a godly man?

and for me Father's Day has become evaluating
Do I have what it takes to be a good father? 

This year, that question led me to reflect on my own dad, who received a lot half-hearted gifts from me in the past. And, at the same time, I've realized that he created some sizable daddy shoes to fill. This year, perhaps more than ever, I can appreciate the things that my dad did. They're the things that I'm doing with my kids to continue my father's legacy.

To this day, my dad has never stopped his personal pursuit of godliness. It's as regular as the sunrise. And if he could tell the world just one thing about himself, this would be it.

He always told me I could be whatever I wanted, even when I told him I wanted to grow up to be a professional musician. Most parents would have either laughed or cried their children out of the room with a dream like that. Not him. He even paid for my music degree.

My dad threw me up in the air, in the entry way of our home, when I was about the age Silas is now. I even remember my mom warning him not to drop me. I don't have a ton of childhood memories, but that one is crystal clear.

When I was in college, he encouraged me to read the Bible and pray every single time we said 'good bye' on the phone. Even when I was annoyed by it, I had to admire his persistence.

He helped me set up a Roth IRA when I was 16. I was the only kid in my school who even knew what that was.

He was a spiritual leader for my family. He prayed for and with us regularly. Even when it was inconvenient, he helped us make time for the Bible together.

My dad made sure to find time to spend with just me. When I was younger, he took me camping. When I got a little older, he took me on business trips to California, and we'd go to Disneyland.

He allows himself, even to this day, to be teachable, even by me. We love to have theological debates. And even sweeter than hearing him tell me I'm right, is his humility to admit he might be wrong.

He told me he loved me all the time, in public. When I was a teenager, I was all like Dad, you're making it awkward. As a father, I've discovered that this one is really about how much fun it is to embarrass your kids.

When I was a teenager, he told me he understood what I was going through. I hated that. But I do that to Alura all the time. I've come to realize that the beauty of it lays in the fact that she'll eventually learn that I'm right. But by the time she realizes that, her kids will be telling her she doesn't know anything. Justice.

He kept me from making some highly regrettable decisions. One evening, in my teen years, I wanted to go to my girlfriends house because... well, you know. And I think he knew too, because he calmly said no even when I was very persistent. I hated him that night. But I love him for it today.

He led me to believe that if I didn't finish college, my life on this earth would end.

My dad supports me, even when I do stuff that's not necessarily comfortable for a parent. Like telling everyone on the internet about my recovery from sex addiction.

He supported my dreams in word and action. When I wanted to start playing music, he got me my first bass guitar.

He gave me one of my first nicknames. He called me T. I've never mentioned this, but it made me feel special.

He used all the super uncomfortable bodily terms when he gave me 'the talk'. Like penis and vagina and penetration. I still shutter to think of it, but have an equally uncomfortable talk planned for Silas.

He exasperated me by telling me that I was his favorite son, even though I knew that I was his only son. The Bible says not to exasperate your kids, but... I get it now.

Happy Father's Day Dad!

Question: What's the most solid thing your dad did for you, or that you've seen a dad do for his kids?

Please leave your comment in the section below.


  1. My father used to many sweet names for me like: baby girl, short stack and #1 daughter (his only one). His legacy is and will be a long one. He went home to be with our Lord 3yrs ago and I miss him daily.

    1. Isn't it amazing how something as small as a nickname can mean so much? Thanks for sharing.