Happy Father’s Day to the Toughest Man I Know!

My dad just turned 72 or 73 this year (I know it is one of those) and I won’t be able to be with him on Father’s Day. We did spend a week together back in May and we had a blast laughing and sight-seeing and talking and celebrating several special events!  Because tomorrow is Father’s Day, I have been thinking about all the lessons he taught me (or at least tried to teach me!). Here are a few of them:

 My dad taught me to work hard.  He is likely the hardest working man I have ever met.  He taught me “to get up” and “get at it” and to “finish the job” and “to enjoy doing it.”  He taught me that there was something special about “doing a man’s work!” So, I learned to bale and stack hay and split wood and drive a tractor and back a wagon and shovel corn (and other stuff too — we raised cattle lol) and use a chain saw and that sort of thing.  I learned from him that if you will enjoy your work, every day will bring you joy!

Dad also taught me that a job that needed to be done should not be beneath me, especially if I needed to pay bills and take care of my family.  When I entered evangelism with my then “new” wife he told me that if “God didn’t pay the bills I should get a job and pay them myself!” “Work is always available,” he said, “if you are willing to work.”

Dad taught me to be tough! We rarely went to a doctor and then only if it were necessary.  We used “one-liners” instead of doctors! “Hurts don’t it!” was one I remember hearing ocassionally. “Bet you won’t do that again,” was another one I heard from time to time. I also remember one that said “that’ll learn ya!” He used that one after I had been known to do something a bit on the “dumb” side of things, if you catch my drift there.  He was pretty good at the one liners, and once when I saw him hurt himself pretty badly, he looked up at us and said, “Boys, I think I hurt myself!”  I remember thinking, “NO KIDDING!” In fact, the only thing I ever really saw that slowed him down was kidney stones. As a result, it is now one of my life’s goals to never get any! You could pray about that with me if God should lead you to do so.

Dad also taught me, albeit indirectly, that if you keep working at something it can get better and better with time.  I have seen that in his and mom’s marriage.  The older they get the more in love they are and I am happy for them!  Bethlie and I want the same thing in our marriage.

I learned a lot from my dad.  He taught me ride a motorcycle when I was barely tall enough for my feet to touch the ground. He taught me to drive when I was 11 years old. He taught me to use a clutch and to drive with a manual transmission! He taught me how to plant a garden and then how to take care of it and even how to harvest it when it was ready for harvesting. The older I get, the more I realize that one of his spiritual gifts was teaching.  I only wish I had learned more!

I will always remember one lesson in particular. Dad taught me that you reap what you sow.  I loved the corn rows growing in their very neat and parallel lines across the fields and I commented on how good it looked.  Dad reminded me of all the work that had gone into that field and then reminded me that you do reap what you sow.  “Be careful what you plant in your life,” he said, “because it will come up!”  How true that has proven to be and I am thankful for all the blessings that keep growing in my life as a result of that lesson.

So, Happy Father’s Day to the toughest man I have ever met! 

I love you Dad! 

P.S. I won’t tell Charlotte and Mitchell that I am your favorite. Your secret is safe with me!

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