My father, who passed away 30 years ago at 63, was a quiet and thoughtful man, a person of great integrity and spiritual maturity. As Father’s Day approaches, I think of him and the life lessons he taught me through his strengths—lessons that have served me well as a person and often as a leader.
Daddy loved the Word of God. He never led us in family devotionals, much to my mother’s dismay, but he many nights he read us Bible stories at bedtime. Often when I found him deep in study in his chair, I would ask him what he was reading. He usually responded by taking me in his lap and drawing elaborate pictures or charts in his notebook to explain difficult biblical concepts to me. I not only acquired a strong theological foundation this way, but I also learned the value of noticing and using teachable moments to influence the faith of others.
The value of teachable moments
Grace was Daddy’s favorite theological concept. Because he saw God’s gracious hand in everything, he was truly humble. Instead of taking credit for anything, he deferred it to God. When life was hard, he accepted the bad with the good as all from God. His attitude conveyed great lessons on humility and thankfulness. I wish that I always remembered them!
The awareness of God’s constant grace
Daddy was the most honest person I have ever known. He told the truth, even to his own hurt. When a clerk gave him too much change, he voluntarily gave it back. His integrity meant that he never tried to manipulate others, but spoke truth. He taught me to mean what I say, even if it’s not popular or to my own benefit. Daddy had no place for personal or church politics; he had no guile and never tried to manipulate people. He modeled the kind of integrity that God expects of his people, and that we hope to find in our leaders.
Honesty and integrity
Daddy served as a pilot in the Pacific during WWII. As the 70th D-Day celebration took place last week, I thought about his service. Like others of “the greatest generation,” he believed that he owed something to his country because of the freedom it provided him. He wanted to serve, volunteering right after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Although I gained a strong sense of patriotism from him, that wasn’t the greatest lesson he taught. More importantly, he modeled a sense of duty in any situation where he was given something valuable—family, God, and country. His example taught me to gratefully serve God, who has done so much for me.
A duty to serve
Character is necessary for those who influence and lead others. My father greatly influenced me because of the person he was. His example causes me to grow as a person and a leader.
How has your father influenced you?