I’ve always struggled with gifts for people. I know a good gift idea when I spot it, but coming up with it is really hard. I have heartily appreciated every gift I have been given, but ultimately gifts aren’t the thing that floats my boat. It is knowing that the person who gave it loves and respects me.
So this year, rather than giving a gift that I’m not even satisfied with, I want to give Dad my thoughts and appreciation toward him. I am making this a public post for two reasons, Firstly we often find it easier to be honest when talking about someone rather than talking to them, and secondly I want my entire social sphere to have at least somewhat of an appreciation for a quiet, Honourable man I am blessed to call my Dad.
Anyone who knows my Dad knows he is a quiet guy. Growing up we always had lots of people over for meals, parties and any other excuse for a get-together. He is always friendly and finds someone to talk to, but he is never the loudest person in the room. He is however the one who built the room and worked hard to put the food on the table that everyone enjoys time and time again.
The more I think about it, the more I realise what a great analogy that is for a good husband and father. They are the ones who set the stage for the family to operate. Without them creating the atmosphere the responsibility falls to others and often families dissipate because of it. I am so grateful that Dad devoted decades of his life, the skin off his knuckles and the countless hardships of a challenging job (That he amazingly still does!) to not only provide for my needs, but the needs of virtually anyone who passed through our family circle. He did this with never a murmur or word of complaint in my hearing.
We had so much fun together, from Wrestling, to playing soccer (and breaking windows) together, riding bikes and having father/son table tennis tournaments in the garage with friends. Dad was always able to fix anything and with a practical intelligence I can still only marvel at, built a solid foundation for me to build on.
Mum was the one who Homeschooled me and taught me so much about life; it has always been easy for me to see the effect that her years of investment in me yielded, but I had no idea just how profound an impact Dad had on me until well into my adult years.
He taught me about attention to detail (mostly because I had none as a kid) I am sure it frustrated him to no end that I couldn’t mow the lawn without missing strips or wash the car without missing large sections. Even with all of that I don’t ever remember him losing his temper with me. Ever.
I don’t know how much was by word and how much was by example, but Dad has a larger supply of patience than almost anyone I have ever met, and while it didn’t rub off in every area, certainly with people, I have learned from my Dad how to be patient and give others the benefit of the doubt.
Being a good Husband
This is where the gravity of the lessons learned from my dad really started to dawn on me. In case you haven’t been there yet Marriage is AMAZING but it is also HARD, especially if your spouse struggles with long-term challenges like Anxiety and Depression. This is a walk that both Dad and I have plenty of experience with. Treading the same path has only served to make Dad more impressive in my eyes because I realise just how much he was going through when all I saw was the ever-competent provider who never prioritised anything above his family.
Through all the challenges that marriage brings it can be really hard to maintain a selfless attitude and pour yourself out for each other, but I am so glad Dad modelled this for me, no matter how dark things may be at any one moment, I have never once questioned my Dad’s commitment to his family and I can say with certainty that I have carried that confidence into my own marriage, that alone is an amazing gift that I have been given.
I often find myself doing things these days and it is almost as if I’m watching a live action replay of Dad. Sarah is coming to the end of our second pregnancy right now and she is in need of a massage to relieve pain and fluid more days than not. Sometimes I’m so tired I am practically nodding off while massaging her trying to get some relief for her. I have seen dad do the same for mum more times than I can count. So when Sarah thanks me and she often expresses her very biased opinion that I am the best husband in the world (yeah right) I can say with great certainty that only a fraction of that was my doing. I believe a big part of it has been Dad’s unspoken example saying to me louder than any words ever could, “When things get hard, just love harder”.
Being a good Dad
Becoming a Dad has given me a better appreciation again, but I think to circle back to my first analogy I realise now that whether Dad did it intentionally or not, he set the stage for our family. Mum taught me the value of hospitality, making people welcome and thinking ahead to meet the needs of travelers and guests. Preparing good food to facilitate a great experience for everyone, but all of that was laid on the foundation that Dad provided. One that I so desperately want to give my family.
Dad is a Mechanic, he is great at his job and has always loved working on cars, tinkering in the shed and breathing life into all kinds of machinery I imagine his desire for this is a lot like God’s Desire to create and breathe life into what was before something useless and inert. The only other main interest I remember from my growing years is Fitness in various forms. As much as he loved to pursue these things in his very limited spare time, he never pushed me toward them. He gave me the freedom to pursue my own dreams, which became creative pursuits, like photography, video and design, but now as I am reaching proficiency in my own pursuits, I am seeing the value in his. I guess this is part of the process of going full circle.
Both Dad and Mum 100% backed every crazy idea I ever had and found a way for me to have so many amazing experiences, from the serious things like what career I would choose through to the things I simply took an interest in: I remember being fascinated at the idea of owning a grappling hook like I had heard of in a story, so what did Dad do? He pulled out the welder and some scrap metal, welded one together, tied a rope to it and gave it to me. I want to be that invested in my family that they will never doubt that they can make a difference and achieve their dreams.
I haven’t reached mine just yet, but thanks to my parents I believe they are possible and am still working on it.
By now I am sure you get the idea that I have great love, respect and admiration for my Dad, and you would be right, I just hope this post communicates to him just how much I love him and hopefully inspires someone else to be the kind of dad I had. It is not for the faint of heart, but it is noble and life-changing.
Happy Fathers day Dad! I love you!