I’ve been wrestling the last few days about how to exactly put this into words. I even missed getting it posted by Father’s Day because of a trip, and well, I’m still narrowing down my thoughts. So, here goes!
In today’s society it is not uncommon to see fathers put down or made fun of as dumb and always failing. One only has to simply flip on the TV to one of today’s popular sitcoms to see classic examples of this. We so often get caught up in what is wrong with fathers that we forget to encourage and honor those who are truly trying to be a good husband and father to their wife and children.
I know of some who have lost their daddy. They talk about the things that really meant something to them that their dad did and who he was. Amazingly, it wasn’t always those big events he went to like graduations or weddings, the things that meant the most were the everyday things. I want to take this opportunity to tell you a little about who my dad is often through everyday things. He is a special, quiet man. Well, that is, he’s rather quiet until you begin talking about cars… 🙂
His name is Samuel though everyone calls him Sam, and those who’ve known him for a long time call him Sammy. He’s not as outgoing as some are, but he’s Dad. It’s amazing how those three letters can come together to mean so much. Here’s a few things that those three special letters put together mean to me:
My dad is a hard worker.
Before I could really remember, my dad lost his job. He had lost jobs before I was born too, but that particular time it was hard from what mom told me. He had six kids still at home and mom had to work for a while until he found another job. It was a tough time for my parents that I didn’t really understand until I grew up. The thing about dad was that he was willing to work any job and do it well in order to earn money to support his family. He delivered pizzas, tiled floors, did repair jobs, any work he could find. He never complained either. Both mom and he taught all of us kids how to work hard and how to do a good job although their tool was household chores and a summer garden.
My dad loves my mom.
My mom and dad married really young. Mom was 18 and Dad was 19. I know some speak negatively of marrying young, and in many cases they’re right, but it was not so with my parents. How did I know as a young child that my dad loved my mom? Well, for one, my dad always came in from work and kissed my mom as soon as he walked inside the kitchen where she was usually preparing dinner. He loves to tease her and make her laugh. Usually you know he’s succeeding when you hear a half-laughing, half-exasperated “Sam!?” from mom.
He honors her and takes care of her. He’s a handy man around the house, so he fixes things and makes improvements on the house as part of taking care of her and providing her with a comfortable home. He’s provided an excellent example of what a husband and father should be for all of us.
My dad is the “Tickle Monster”
You see, my dad loves to laugh. He tells corny jokes and LOVES it if he can find a pun in a sentence. However, one of his favorite ways to laugh when we were kids was to make us laugh. Hence, he would keep us laughing until we could hardly breathe in his role as the Tickle Monster. Even some of my little cousins and nieces and nephews came to call him this. Being a chiropractor, he especially knew the perfect ticklish places in particular about squeezing a place just above the knee which nearly makes you collapse in giggles because it tickles so much. Oh, the little games we invented some Sundays after church waiting for lunch to be ready just playing and laughing with dad as he sat on the couch!
I think my favorite memory of him as the Tickle Monster was one time when my older brother was about 11, I was around 8, and my little brother was probably 5. Dad had been chasing us through the house tickling us, but as he ran down the hall, he knocked a picture off the wall which made a loud *WHACK!* . Mom was instantly at the door of the kitchen wanting to know what just happened. When we were in trouble, we always ran behind this pink recliner that was next to a wall in the living room. The difference this time was that dad was standing with us three kids behind it looking like he knew he was in trouble but was struggling to contain his laughter. Mom thought it was one of us, but Dad just looked at her and grinned.
What was priceless was her change of expression from rather severe to surprise as it became clear who was the real guilty one, and she responded, “Well, Sam! That beats all I’ve ever seen? It was you? You’re like one of the kids! Well! I sure hope it’s not broken!” Thankfully, the picture was unharmed and put back on the wall, and we were off the hook as long as we agreed to not play that game again that day. So, Dad sat on the couch and thus ensued the next game of seeing how close we could get to the Tickle Monster without succumbing to the giggles of being tickled.
My dad plays HORSE!
Dad didn’t always play games with us outside since he didn’t always get off in time to do so and was often tired. But,there were plenty of Saturday afternoons when we’d get a basketball out and play HORSE at the basketball goal. Except for one time as a teenager when I actually beat him just barely, Dad ALWAYS won! This usually had the reaction of:
Me to a brother who’s already out: “Great, now I have H-O-R-S? And, it’s Dad’s turn to shoot…again.”
Me: “Do you think he can make it from there?”
Brother: “He did last time.”
Me: “Well, maybe he won’t this time? Maybe?”
Dad throws the ball, and it bounces around and then goes right in the hoop.
I grab the ball and try to shoot it, and it bounces off of the hoop and out of bounds.
Me and bro: “We call for a rematch! This time let’s shoot from over there…”
I don’t have a picture of us playing HORSE mostly because we were so busy playing, we didn’t always take pictures of such games, but it never ceased to amaze me how Dad could shoot those hoops so well when he rarely ever practiced. As a kid, I just figured that was just one of those things dads just inherently learn to do much like cutting grass and working on cars or some of those other dad jobs.
Actually, Dad’s pretty much good at any game he plays. Most of our family get-togethers involve large card or domino games around the table. This particular picture is of dad and my oldest brother during one of our traditional domino games at Thanksgiving a couple of years ago (My brother’s a dad too, and well, as you can see in the picture, there’s a whole other story there). Well do I remember the many Saturday evenings spent playing cards or Parcheesi. Dad loved Parcheesi and seemed to consistently win that game too.
My dad is there!
The other thing I love about my Dad is that he’s there. If I have a question, a car problem, something I don’t understand, etc, I can always ask Dad. It’s his way of taking care of me. For example, right now, I’m getting ready to move away for graduate school. He’s pretty much taken over planning the road trip, looking up costs of moving vans, and giving me an estimate of how much the gas and truck are going to cost. He started working on this before I’d really completely figured out exactly where I was going to school although by that time, I figured it would very possibly be Indiana.
Sometimes we didn’t have to necessarily talk. When I was a teen still in high school, he and I would often sit in silence in the den just watching a crime investigation show or football game. We’d make comments now and then or laugh at something. Sometimes he’d have to explain some of the rules of football, but we’d usually watch games in which we didn’t particularly care which team won. This was because we were often more just interested in relaxing and seeing how a game would unfold. At other times we just sat at the island in the kitchen sipping coffee on Sunday evenings while he snacked on cereal and cinnamon bread. He always has his one sweetener and ice cube in his coffee. I think I get my like for not too much sugar in my coffee from him actually. By the way, Dad makes the best cinnamon bread a kid could ever want! At least, it’s always been the best to me.
Aside from those practical issues though, Dad is calm. If I’ve ever had a question about something Biblical, he’ll think a minute and then tell me what he knows or what he has studied. He’ll also bring up what he’s heard in sermons, from preachers, or Bible studies to help answer the question. Dad seems quiet, but he has quite a deep understanding of the things of God. It’s good to have him there to answer questions and provide solid advice.
My dad loves my siblings and me!
Being a dad takes time as any good father will tell you. Dad was often busy working, but as I mentioned above, he took time to play games with us as he could. One often hears about love languages and what kind of love language one uses and what kind the other dear ones in your life use. Based on how I know my dad, his way of telling you he loves you is not necessarily verbally but through his actions. I can’t even begin to name the many things he’s fixed around the house, on our cars, or just that little thing that broke that I couldn’t figure out how to fix. I still take things to dad to see if he can fix them, and if he can’t fix it, it probably means you either need a new one or you don’t really need it anyway. In sum, Dad’s way of expressing love to us has been through his acts of service to us. He even was brave and taught the younger three in my family how to drive.
So, maybe I didn’t cover everything I wish I had time to about my dad. I’ve thought of so many things to write over the last few days of working on this post! However, I suppose, the best way to wrap up is to say that I am very thankful for the blessing of having my dad in my life. Each child is given to each parent by God for a reason and a purpose, and I’m so thankful to be able to look back on my young life and see where God has so often molded me and made me who I am to serve Him through my parents.