Posts in category Honoring parents

Thank you for choosing to be my dad



Bill Eyster has been executive vice-president of FamilyLife since 2006. That Thanksgiving, he wrote this tribute to his stepfather, Dr. Alvin L. Morris, but felt it would be better to deliver it the following June to honor him on his 80th birthday.

Al Morris passed away October 10, 2013. Since then, Bill has felt led to move his family back to Kentucky so he can care for his mother, Beverly.

choosing to be my dad

Beverly and Al Morris

I know you don’t want a big deal made of your birthday and that speaks to the kind of man that you are, but this is as much for the rest of the family as it is for you. I want them to know …what I have come to know, understand, and appreciate about you.

I think it’s important that the grandchildren recognize the legacy that their grandfather passes on. They need to know the impact you have made on my life. So, Al, please humor me and allow me to tell you how much you mean to me.

Al, you are intentional about everything and when you married my mother you knew what you were stepping into.

At age 13, I had been filling the self-imposed role of “man of the house” for close to four years. When you came on the scene and began to date my mother you were able to see first hand how broken I was.

You saw my anger, my rebelliousness, and my bad choices.  You witnessed crushed tables, all night outings, and other such challenges. But, because of your love for my mother, you chose to marry her and intentionally accepted the responsibility of raising an independent 6-foot-tall, 13 year old boy that was full of anger.

The challenges with me didn’t stop there. I was running hard and a living example of a rebellious “red headed stepchild.” You experienced late nights, bad grades, disrespect, ill gotten speakers, a trashed brand-new RV, “borrowed” cars, unauthorized parties, and a continually bad attitude. It’s not lost to me that you had already raised three great children and yet you accepted the responsibility for raising me.

In the 32 years I have had the privilege of being your son …

  • I have seen what it means to be a man of integrity,
  • I have seen what it means for a man to love his wife,
  • I have seen the importance of family,
  • I have seen hard work and dedication,
  • I have seen a man who loves the Lord,
  • I have felt acceptance … I have felt loved.

As I have gotten older and closer to the age at which you made this choice, I marvel. Through it all you never treated me or made me feel like a stepchild. You set high standards and challenged me to meet them. You selflessly and intentionally accepted me, loved me, and cared for me. You were always there.

As I have grown in my faith, I realize how God put you in my life to play a major part in making me the man, the husband, and the father that I am today. I thank God each day for you and want you to know I am deeply grateful for your love, for your acceptance, and for choosing to be my dad.

— I love you.

Your Son — Bill

_____

If you haven’t written a tribute to your parents, we’d encourage you to do it while you still can. If you need help, check out our free resource The Best Gift You Can Give Your Parents, or get Dennis Rainey’s bookThe Forgotten Commandment.  

If you’ve given your parents a tribute that you’d like to share with the readers of Stepping Up, we’d love to hear about it. Whether it’s something you’ve written or recorded on audio or video, just Contact Us here.

Thanks for commitment and love



In his book, The Forgotten Commandment, Dennis Rainey encourages readers to write a formal tribute to their parents and present it to them during a special occasion (birthday, anniversary, holiday, etc.).  If you want some guidance to do one yourself, check out “The Best Gift You Can Give Your Parents,” or the link above to purchase the book. In the meantime, here’s the tribute one man wrote for his mom.

Tribute to Eileen Butler from her son, Dempsey:

In 1955 providence was giving you an unexpected addition to your ideal sized family of four. You left Florida for your hometown of Boston, so at least one of your kids could be a damn Yankee like you. After nine long months I was born, in the sweltering July heat. You did all that with Dad on deployment. Thanks for commitment and love.

For me, our kitchen was the most secure place in our house … the busiest place in the house, and always the neatest. I remember coming downstairs on Taylor Avenue to the smell of “beggs and acon” in the frying pan. You always tried to send Trudy, Gayle, and me on our way with a hot breakfast and a brown bag lunch (I always hoped for Fritos). It’s the place where you and I frequently reviewed the days events with Chips Ahoy and milk. When you worked the 3-11 shift at Circle Terrace, you made sure I still had snacks! In the summertime there was always a pitcher of presweetened and lemoned iced tea in the fridge … a welcome sight when I’d come home on a hot August day in Alexandria.

You were so generous with your hospitality and love … always having a spare bed and enough food for the lost Midshipman or Naval Aviator who showed up, even at dinnertime. You’d smile and serve them, but we knew the lesson … if we ever showed up at someone else’s home at meal time you’d give us what for.

Between graduate school and the Vietnam War, Dad was gone a lot, from the mid-60s until we moved to Annapolis in 1972. I didn’t know the difficulties you faced raising us while Dad was deployed. Nor did I imagine the stress you were under with all that responsibility and having to deal with the possibility that Dad might not come home. But I was never worried that you didn’t love us or that you wouldn’t be able to find a way to take care of us.

You loved us too much to use Dad’s absence as an excuse for us not being good kids and growing up to be responsible adults. While I really missed Dad too, I also liked being your snuggle buddy under the electric blanket on those quiet nights on Kobe Drive. Remember when all of us would sit down to listen to the 2-inch reel to reel tapes Dad sent us from WESTPAC? I recall the emotion in your voice when you told us how, while on a stopover on your way to Hong Kong to see Dad during a break from Yankee Station, you heard that a D. Butler had been shot down over North Vietnam. It was some time before you knew it wasn’t Dad. It was your faith and trust in God that got you through that time.

I never doubted your strong faith in God. Without it, I don’t know how my life would have turned out. You made sure I attended all those catechism classes and became an altar boy with Father O’Connor when the mass was still said in Latin. (Thanks!) God works in strange ways though. My faith today is much stronger because of what I begrudgingly learned about the basics of a Christian’s faith in classes at St. Edward’s and St. Rita’s.

I always knew you were proud of me, sometimes to the point of embarrassment. That pride you exuded and the love that you showed to me then, has given me the confidence and encouragement to strive for success. I remember visiting you once in Carmel when you took me to lunch at the Beach and Tennis Club. You must have known everyone in the place … and you made sure you introduced your son, the Navy Lieutenant, to each of them … including the busboy. I’m not sure we got around to eating that day.

You taught me responsibility, the value of hard work, compassion, loyalty to friends and family, and the value of saving for the future. I’ve also learned what a great MOM you were. The advice, books, seminars, and tapes on parenting we have today weren’t around in the 1950s. You did what your folks did, the best you could. Dads worked, moms stayed home to raise and train the kids. Now there’s some eternal wisdom. Thanks for placing your nursing career on the back burner when we were young. You knew your skills would slip, but you made it clear your priority was at home with us.

Being a parent for the last seven years has given me a keen appreciation for the task you faced with Dad gone so much, meeting his responsibilities. You did a great job. I’m proud to be Eileen Butler’s son.

Thanks, Mom. I LOVE YOU.

Dempsey

I am who I am because of you



In his book, The Forgotten Commandment, Dennis Rainey encourages readers to write a formal tribute to their parents and present it to them during a special occasion (birthday, anniversary, holiday, etc.).  If you want some guidance to do one yourself, check out “The Best Gift You Can Give Your Parents,” or the link above to purchase the book. In the meantime, here’s what one man did.

Tribute to Alan Nagel from his son, Todd: 

Dad,

Not a day goes by that I don’t thank the Lord for blessing me with a dad like you. There are so many memories that flood my mind and so many godly qualities that I see in you that I desire for my own life, but there are two things that have impacted me the most:

The first one I remember is how I would come downstairs in the morning before school and see you in your chair having your quiet time or on your knees praying. How many boys get to see that? Not many. That is one of my earliest childhood memories and you continue it to this day. I know that has been used in my life to help shape my walk with the Lord.

The second is this: Always hearing how proud you are of me and how much you love me. Those words have enabled me to expand my borders because I always knew there was someone who believed in me.

There are so many other memories with you … fishing, catching passes from you in the backyard as I wore out the grass from running back and forth, throwing the baseball, kicking the soccer ball around, playing basketball, tennis, and golf. Some of my favorite memories are from the golf course.

Although you traveled a lot, I still knew we were a priority and I won’t forget how we would run down the ramp at the terminal gate and jump on you. And then we would get our “present” that consisted of the candy you had bought during your last layover!

When you were in town, which was the majority of the time, you did always make it a point to be at my sporting events. Thank you for being there to watch me play Little League baseball, basketball, and flag football. Then you were there to watch me run cross-country, play soccer, and tennis in high school. And then you made a few trips to watch me play tennis in college. A lot of guys never had their dad there to watch them play, but I did and it meant a lot. Thank you for taking the time to do that.

I also remember our family trips snow skiing, the farm, trips to the beach, Colorado, and the countless other places we’ve been. One trip that stands out in my mind is when we went snow skiing in Switzerland. That’s one of my favorites! Thank you for the sacrifices you made to make those trips happen.

It’s because of you that I am where I am today. You have ingrained many character qualities in me by your patient, insightful, and wise instruction. You taught me how to control my emotions in sports (which has definitely carried over into the real world!), the importance of quality work, to do my best at whatever I’m doing, and how to persevere.

I have had the privilege of being around many incredible Christian leaders, but I have not found one that I think more highly of, respect more as a person or leader, or would rather have as a father, mentor, and friend than you. I am so proud to call you my dad!

There are so many character qualities that I admire about you. Your wisdom, consistency, endurance, patience, sound judgment, inner strength, integrity, knowledge, understanding, self-control, your “get the job done” attitude, doing what is right no matter what the cost, and how you see everything in light of eternity. It is neat to see your natural leadership come through in every situation. You are one of the rare people who live out their Christian faith in every aspect of their life. You always have an encouraging word and a motivating spirit. You have laid a foundation in my life that will take me to heights I never would have been able to reach otherwise.

I am truly blessed beyond what I could ever have hoped for or imagined when it comes to having a dad. Thanks, Dad, for everything!

Your Son,

Todd

Copyright © 2004 by Todd Nagel. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

The Forgotten Commandment



The Forgotten CommandmentHow do you, as an adult, express honor to your parents? Even if it has been a difficult relationship — even if you’ve been estranged — what’s your responsibility to obey and to keep the fifth commandment?

“Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God has given you.”

FamilyLife has released a revised 20th anniversary edition of a book created to help you honor your parents by writing a living tribute to them. The Forgotten Commandment (previously titled The Tribute and the Promise, and The Best Gift You Can Ever Give Your Parents) will be in the warehouse this week.

Last week, FamilyLife Today® devoted two radio broadcasts to tributes guests have made to their parents. You can hear the broadcasts in their entirety by clicking on the links below, but we have included some excerpts.

Medley of Tributes, Part 1 – Featuring Bill McCartney,  Crawford Loritts, Alex Kendrick, Andrew (son of Luis) Palau, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Jani (daughter of Ray and Anne) Ortlund, and Vicky Case.

Medley of Tributes, Part 2 – Robert Lewis, Max Lucado, R.V. Brown, and Sharon Jaynes.

Filmmaker Alex Kendrick to his father, Larry:

“I don’t ever and have never wanted to be anybody else’s son. I’m proud of my dad, Larry Kendrick. You are a gift to me — for teaching me to love God— for demonstrating that yourself … I learned that from you. So, every book that we have written and every movie that we have made would not have been made had you not taught us to walk with the Lord. Thank you, Dad. I’m proud of you, and I love you.”

Former prodigal Andrew Palau, to his world evangelist father, Luis and his mother, Pat:

“Dad and Mom, I love you. I am so grateful that you never gave up on me. I just thank you for persevering through the difficult days — for having the boldness and the love for me to take me for the walk, and to plant that seed, and help me to know the truth that God did love me, and that He had a plan for me, and that He had made a sacrifice on my behalf. I thank you for writing the letters that you wrote to keep that at my attention.”

Evangelist R.V. Brown to his father, Daddy Fish:

“I want to just tell you what an awesome leader you were.  With no education, Dad, you taught me. You educated me on how to love — Dad, thank you for teaching me to farm, to take care of the people, and share whatever I have with all the people. Dad, I’m the kind of man I am today because of who you are, Dad. Thank you for loving Mama. Thank you for the leadership and authority in which you raised us. Thank you for the discipline. Most of all, Father, I want to thank you for that hug, and that kiss, and that rub on my little round head, and saying, ‘You’re going to be okay, son.’ Dad, I love you.”

Men’s Fraternity creator Robert Lewis, to his parents, Thomas and Billie:

“Thanks, Daddy, for saying, “I’m sorry,” when you wrongfully hit me in anger one day. You don’t remember the incident, I know; but I do. It’s deep inside me now, and it comes back to me every time I need to say those words to my children and my wife. Seeing that day in my mind makes that humbling process easier.

I owe you both a thousand ‘Thank Yous.’ 

I guess, if I were offered one wish, it would be for one crisp fall evening, with the smell of burning leaves, and the Bearcat game in the air. I would be outside enjoying the bliss of youthful innocence. Mom, you would be frying those oysters; and Daddy, you would be calling out for my pet dog, Toddy. So here’s to my imperfect family — one that fell short in many respects, but one whose love makes the shortcomings easy to forget. Here’s to the family that never had it all together — but one just perfect enough for me.”

If you haven’t written a tribute to your parents, we’d encourage you to do it while you still can.

If you’ve given your parents a tribute that you’d like to share with the readers of Stepping Up, we’d love to hear about it. Whether it’s something you’ve written or recorded on audio or video, just Contact Us here.

A grandfather’s legacy



I never met my grandfather because he died before I was born.  But his legacy and influence live on because he took the time to write down a blessing to my father in the form of words of advice. This blessing has been passed through my father to me and is now passing on to my sons.

Bible

My grandfather was an amazing man.  He grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, attended the University of Arkansas receiving his law degree while participating in cheerleading for the Arkansas Razorbacks.  After college and law school, he moved to Texas to practice law.  When World War II broke out, he gave up his practice and joined the Army, where he served as chief of staff for then General Eisenhower. After the war, he returned home, became the district attorney in Fort Worth, Texas, and later became a judge.

My dad and his dad didn’t see eye-to-eye on many issues, as Dad was a free and rebellious spirit.  From what I can tell, they had an explosive relationship: the judge and the juvenile delinquent.  It came to a head when my father announced he was going to drop out of high school to pursue a career as a rock and roll drummer.  I understand the argument was ugly; the words from both sides were hurtful and it ended with my grandfather yelling out to my dad as he left, “Son, if you drop out of high school it will kill me.” Dad slammed the door as he left, did what he felt he needed to do, and dropped out of school. When he returned home for lunch, an ambulance was in the driveway and my grandfather was dead from a heart attack.

Dad went on to pursue his rock and roll career, playing drums for stars like Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, Little Richard, and many others throughout the late 50s and early 60s. But, the pain of the broken relationship with his dad haunted him and he became an alcoholic.

He drifted from relationship to relationship with women. Everywhere he went he seemed to hurt those he loved.  This all came home to me when I was 12 years old and learned that Dad had been arrested and charged with murder for hire.  For the next two years, when I wanted to see him I had to do so by going through numerous heavy metal doors with bars to get to the maximum security section of the Tarrant County Jail during his trial.  I have vivid memories of those Saturday morning visitations.  I had to talk to my Dad standing on my tippy toes looking through a 4×7 metal grate built into the door of my Dad’s 4×8 cell.

When he was convicted and sentenced to die in the electric chair I thought I had lost him.  My visits were now held at the Ellis Unit which is the Maximum Security Prison that houses death row for the State of Texas.  At least I could see him through a larger metal grate but there was still no physical  contact.  I really thought I had lost my dad and never knew which visit would be the last.  I had to endure two last-minute stays of execution not knowing if my Dad had been electrocuted or not.

However, shortly after I turned 15, I was surprised to find out that my father’s conviction was overturned and that he would go down in history as the only man to ever walk off of death row as a free man in Texas.  I got my father back, and had a second shot at having a real father-son relationship.

Over the years we did develop a close relationship.  My dad made a lot of mistakes during his life, but the one thing he did right was to make sure that I knew he loved me and was very proud of me. Everywhere I went people would say, “You’re Chip’s son! Your dad is always bragging on you.”  Those words mean a lot to a young boy, and helped my self-esteem as a man.

By the time Dad passed away about 11 years ago, he had been married 15 times to 13 different women. I am, amazingly, the only child he had.  As I was going through his stuff after he died, I ran across an old Bible and in it I found these words written from my grandfather to my father:

To my son Chip, from his dad – with these words of advice:

1. Fear God

2. Be right and fear no man

3. Love the truth and hate a lie

4. Tell the truth regardless of the consequences

5. A thief and a liar are the same, trust neither

6. Once confidence is established, be loyal

7. Be energetic and hunger for knowledge

8. Have compassion for the unfortunate

9. Be prudent but not prideful

10. Always love your mother

11. Build character and respect for your word

12. Try to see all sides and then decide

13. When in doubt do nothing

14. Be tolerant  Be kind

15. Be a square shooter and a good loser

With love for your first birthday,
Dad

Some of these things I remember my father saying to me, some were new.  My boys often hear me quote these same pieces of advice to them.

My grandfather’s legacy is still alive in spite of being tested by a prodigal son because he took the time to write down the values that were important to him.  These words are now being passed from generation to generation and I pray they will be defining characteristics of what it means to be a Whitmore.

What defines your family?  What words of advice and encouragement do you need to pass to the next generation?

 

Tribute to ‘Hook’ Rainey — Dennis Rainey’s tribute to his father



In his book, The Forgotten Commandment, Dennis Rainey encourages readers to write a formal tribute to their parents and present it to them during a special occasion (birthday, anniversary, holiday, etc.).  Following is an example of a tribute — Dennis Rainey’s tribute to his father, “Hook” Rainey.  Click here for more information on honoring your parents and for more tribute examples.

Dennis Rainey | Men Stepping Up 

“Dad’s home,” I used to yell as the back door slammed shut. Our small, two-story frame house would shudder when the back door slammed shut.

The sound of the slamming door was especially loud when one man came through its threshold — my dad. I can recall, as a little boy, playing in my room and hearing that door send a series of quakes that rippled through the walls and rattled the windows. It was my dad’s signature and signal that a day of work was completed and a man was now home. I would yell, “Dad’s home!” and then dash through the hall and kitchen to greet him with a well-deserved hug. I would then follow him like a little puppy to the wash room where he washed his calloused, grimy hands like a “real man.”

Everything about him signaled he was a “real man” — from the gritty Lava soap to the Vitalis hair tonic and Old Spice after shave. My dad was a unique blend of no-nonsense and discipline with a subtle sense of humor. He was a quiet and private man. He was a man of few words who didn’t seem to need many words to get the job done. His countenance commanded respect. In fact, there were several boys who had a personality and discipline transformation when they graduated from the third grade Sunday school class to my dad’s fourth grade class. Miraculously, discipline problems dried up along with dozens of paper spit wads. In the 12 months that followed, paper airplanes were grounded and eight boys sat up straight in their chairs dutifully listening to the lesson.

They used to call him “Hook” Rainey.  The tall lefty got his nickname from his curve ball — a pitch so crooked it mystified batters. I got the feeling he was on his way to becoming a legend in his day. He even pitched a game against Dizzy Dean. Funny thing, but he never could remember the score of that memorable game! I used to accuse him of convenient amnesia!

I recall the easy chair that used to carry the shape of his exhausted form. It was while he was reading the evening paper that I usually planned my assault on him. I’m certain I nearly pestered him to death on more than one occasion by asking my weary dad to play catch. And play catch he did. Night after night, “Hook” taught me how to throw a curve, slider, and knuckle-ball. He used to claim you could count the stitches on his knuckle-ball. And when he threw that patented knuckler, the entire front yard was filled with laughter — his and mine.

I always loved to hear him laugh. Somehow it told me everything was secure. When I was three or so, he went to Colorado hunting and “bagged” a fierce teddy bear. He staged the “action” on film and brought the fierce beast back to me. My kids now play with that worn-out, 35-year-old black and white bear. I watched him look after the needs of his mother. He used to visit his mom three or four times a week. Dad modeled what it meant to “honor one’s parents.” From him I learned about integrity, trust, and how to be a man of my word. His example taught me the importance of perseverance, for he stuck with his job for nearly 45 years. He leaves me an indelible imprint of sinking roots down deep — and living alongside the same people with whom he did business. When I was in high school, I won the magazine sales contest because I introduced myself as Hook Rainey’s son. That was good enough for an instant sale for nearly 100 percent of my “customers.”

My dad had helped so many people that being his son gave me immeasurable credibility. (For a while I actually thought I was a great salesman!) His reputation was untarnished in the community. His funeral was attended by nearly a third of the small, southwest Missouri community. He lived and did his work all within five miles of where he was born. One man was even able to say about my father, “In all my years I never heard a negative word about Hook Rainey.”

He gave me imperishable memories instead of just things: Memories of little league baseball (he was coach); fishing trips where he netted my fish, so small they went through the holes in the net; and a “clipped” collection of all the baseball and basketball scores from my games, of which he never missed one. There are memories of watching him through the frosted window of our old pick-up truck delivering hams at Christmas. Memories of the feel of his whiskers when he wrestled with me on the floor of the living room, and memories of him whispering to me, an extroverted, impetuous boy, not to bother people while they work. And finally, memories of snuggling close to him as we watched the game of the week with Dizzy Dean as the announcer.

As an impressionable young boy, my radar caught more of his life than he ever knew. He was the model and hero I needed during some perilous teenage years–and you know what, he still is. He taught me the importance of hard work and completing a task. I learned about lasting commitment from him–I never feared my parents would divorce. My dad was absolutely committed to my mom. I felt secure and protected. But most importantly he taught me about character. He did what was right, even when no one was looking. I never heard him talk about cheating on taxes — he paid them and didn’t grumble. His integrity was impeccable. I never heard him lie and his eyes always demanded the same truth in return.

The mental snapshot of his character still fuels and energizes my life today. “Dad’s home!” I can still hear the door slam and the house quake.

This morning as I write this, Dad truly is “home” — in heaven. I look forward to seeing him again someday and saying thanks for the legacy he gave me, and mostly for being “my dad.”

But right now, you’ll have to pardon me, I miss him.

Copyright © 2004 by Dennis Rainey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

“Thanks for believing in me Dad”: celebrating dads on Father’s Day 2013



In our previous two blog posts, we’ve shared tributes that sons and a daughter have given to their fathers.

In his book, The Forgotten Commandment, Dennis Rainey encourages readers to write a formal tribute to their parents and present it to them during a special occasion (birthday, anniversary, holiday, etc.).  Click here for more information on honoring your parents and for more tribute examples.  We’ll share one more tribute as an example of how you might be able to do the same thing, especially as we hit the home stretch toward Father’s Day 2013.  In our next post, we’ll share Dennis’ tribute to his father “Hook” Rainey.  You won’t want to miss that one.  Here’s a tribute that Todd gave to his father, Alan.  

 "Thanks for believing in me Dad" - Men Stepping Up | Dennis Rainey | FamilyLife

Dad,

Not a day goes by that I don’t thank the Lord for blessing me with a dad like you. There are so many memories that flood my mind and so many godly qualities that I see in you that I desire for my own life, but there are two things that have impacted me the most:

The first one I remember is how I would come downstairs in the morning before school and see you in your chair having your quiet time, or on your knees praying. How many boys get to see that? Not many. That is one of my earliest childhood memories and you continue it to this day. I know that has been used in my life to help shape my walk with the Lord.

The second is this: always hearing how proud you are of me and how much you love me. Those words have enabled me to expand my borders because I always knew there was someone who believed in me.

There are so many other memories with you … fishing, catching passes from you in the backyard as I wore out the grass from running back and forth, throwing the baseball, kicking the soccer ball around, playing basketball, tennis, and golf. Some of my favorite memories are from the golf course.

Although you traveled a lot, I still knew we were a priority and I won’t forget how we would run down the ramp at the terminal gate and jump on you. And then we would get our “present” that consisted of the candy you had bought during your last layover!

When you were in town, which was the majority of the time, you did always make it a point to be at my sporting events. Thank you for being there to watch me play Little League baseball, basketball and flag football. Then you were there to watch me run cross-country, and play soccer, and tennis in high school. And then you made a few trips to watch me play tennis in college. A lot of guys never had their dad there to watch them play, but I did and it meant a lot. Thank you for taking the time to do that.

I also remember our family trips snow skiing, to the farm, trips to the beach, Colorado, and the countless other places we’ve been. One trip that stands out in my mind is when we went snow skiing in Switzerland. That’s one of my favorites! Thank you for the sacrifices you made to make those trips happen.

It’s because of you that I am where I am today. You have engrained many character qualities in me by your patient, insightful, and wise instruction. You taught me how to control my emotions in sports (which has definitely carried over into the real world!), the importance of quality work, to do my best at whatever I’m doing, and how to persevere.

I have had the privilege of being around many incredible Christian leaders, but I have not found one that I think more highly of, respect more as a person or leader, or would rather have as a father, mentor, and friend than you. I am so proud to call you my dad!

There are so many character qualities that I admire about you. Your wisdom, consistency, endurance, patience, sound judgment, inner strength, integrity, knowledge, understanding, self-control, your “get the job done” attitude, doing what is right no matter what the cost, and how you see everything in light of eternity. It is neat to see your natural leadership come through in every situation. You are one of the rare people who live out their Christian faith in every aspect of their life. You always have an encouraging word and a motivating spirit. You have laid a foundation in my life that will take me to heights I never would have been able to reach otherwise.

I am truly blessed beyond what I could ever have hoped for or imagined when it comes to having a dad. Thanks Dad for everything!

Your Son,

Todd

Copyright © 2004 by Todd Nagel. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Is there a dad (or man who played a significant role in your life) that you need to honor, forgive or at least tell him you love him?  Our days on this earth are limited and we don’t know when they will come to an end.  The best gift you might give your father this Father’s Day is telling him how much he’s meant to you, that you have forgiven him or something he did that made a significant impact on your life.  Share your thoughts about the thought of giving your dad a tribute in our comments section and encourage other men along the way.

Being daddy’s little girl: a daughters tribute



In our 10-day venture to honor father’s, we think you’ll enjoy this tribute from a daughter to her dad.  Look for the various ways she honors her father because of what he has invested in her, probably much of it without being overtly aware of how his actions would leave a lasting impression of him on his daughter.  Imagine the joy of this father reading this tribute from his daughter.  Powerful.

____________________________________________________

woman writing | FamilyLife | Stepping Up - daddy's little girl

Tribute to Bill from his daughter, Jill:

My dear daddy, I want to let you know how very, very much I love and respect you. I know that you know I love you but I wanted to tell you today how very special my life has been having you as my daddy. Thank you that I am and will always be “daddy’s little girl.” Thank you, Daddy, that I have always known that you love me and that you would never leave me. Thank you that you gave me a strong love for my family. That you instilled in me a strong commitment to my family.

I have so many wonderful memories of our relationship. I appreciate so much your sense of humor. It has always been fun to laugh with you. My friends have always loved being with you. Thank you that you have welcomed my friends — even today when I bring friends home!!

Daddy you have unselfishly given to me all my life. Thank you for building furniture so that we could go to Lamar. You never once complained about all the work it took. In fact I never knew you built furniture for the money I honestly thought you did it because you enjoyed it. Although I know you did enjoy making furniture and I thank you for every piece I have in my home. It makes me proud to tell everyone that “my daddy built it all!!”

Thank you also, daddy, for teaching me how to give. I have watched you and mother give to your family, your neighbors, your church, your friends, all my life. Your unselfishness inspires me.

Thank you for standing by me through Lamar, Dustys, Phi Mu, MJC, MSU, and ETSU and even piano lessons!! Thank you also for the beautiful wedding you gave me. I’ll never forget you walking me down the aisle crying — I felt so loved and cherished by you. Thank you that you got upset about me moving so far away and knowing that it still hurts you that we live apart.

Daddy thank you for always putting us first — you attended every school and church activity I was involved in. I loved it when I was growing up and I thought all daddys do this for their little girls. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized that not all daddys do that and how very much my daddy loved me.

Thank you for what a wonderful Papa you are to Riley, Kirby, and Emma. I love that you tell them constantly that they are “Papa’s girl” and Papa’s boy.” Thanks to you and mother for being there for me after all my babies were born. They love y’all so very much. We’ve all loved every piece of candy and every star you’ve drawn on their precious little hands. It is fun to watch you spoil them ’cause I know how much you enjoy it.

Daddy thank you for taking care of Mother. I know it is hard for you to see her in pain. Thank you for seeing that she gets the best care. God knew what he was doing when he put y’all together.

Daddy thank you for being so encouraging of me being on staff with Campus Crusade. I do not know if I could do it without your blessing.

Thank you Daddy for the fun we have had with food over the years. It thrills me to see how much you and mother love to feed us! How fun it was to have steak every Saturday night when I was growing up. Thank you for the pork tenderloins, ribs, and shrimp we now enjoy together. What fun it was as a child, and still today, for you to buy us a watermelon and while cutting it open telling us it was green!! Thank you for roasted and boiled peanuts and all the fun that goes along with making them!!

Daddy, you are a very fun daddy. It seems that I grow to love you more and more each day.

Daddy there are so many more things I could thank you for. I am very proud that you are my daddy. It is a joy to be your daughter. I am very blessed.

Thank you, God, for my daddy.

 

In his book, The Forgotten Commandment. Dennis Rainey encourages readers to write a formal tribute to their parents and present it to them during a special occasion (birthday, anniversary, holiday, etc.).  Click here for more information on honoring your parents and for more tribute examples.

We can do better than TV dads like Homer Simpson



TV Dads | Stepping Up | FamilyLife | Tribute to Dad

Homer Simpson … Peter Griffin … Ted Mosby … Stan Smith … Phil Dunphy … Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor … Cliff Huxtable. What do all these have in common? They are TV dads.  And most of them are not the kind of man who should be left to lead a family. From being dim-witted to overbearing, from conservative values to trying to get their son to have sex for the first time, these dads represent various aspects of what our culture thinks of and imagines when it comes to representing fatherhood in America.  Some of them represented the honorable and virtuous aspects of fatherhood but a majority of them characterized dads as out of touch, less intelligent than their wives, unable to control their children, laughable, and almost a detriment to the family. We also don’t pretend that Father Knows Best is the perfect model for fatherhood either. But, let’s face it, dads haven’t gotten the “good nod” when it comes to on-screen representation.

Unfortunately, the attributes that are hyperbolized in fatherhood are too evident in reality in too many homes around this nation. One thing that can be said about every dad on the list above is that at least they were there, at home with their families. But are these the kinds of characters we want to emulate? No, of course not. Despite television’s attempt to reduce dads to lying, cheating, lazy, harmless, or harmful oafs, we know that there are many, many dads that love and lead (or have loved and led) their families well. Stephen Colbert states it as it is:

“America used to live by the motto “Father Knows Best.” Now we’re lucky if “Father Knows He Has Children.” We’ve become a nation of sperm donors and baby daddies.”
― Stephen ColbertI am America

We are tired of seeing dads beaten down and portrayed as buffoons or, at best, inconsequential. We want to raise up a generation of men who believe that being a man of God, a husband to one wife, a leader of integrity and moral character in his church and community, a great friend to other men and a caring and intentional father is noble and worth pursuing with every ounce of his being.

So, here’s our plan over the next 10 days as we head into Father’s Day on June 16.  We are going to honor dads who have done it well. Not perfectly. Not completely. Not so they would get recognized. We will be sharing a number of tributes that various people have written to their fathers over the past few years and that have been published on FamilyLife.com. And, we’ll share Dennis Rainey’s tribute to his father, “Hook” Rainey on Father’s Day. Also, if you have a tribute that you want to give to your father, would you share it in the comments below or on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mensteppingup.  We’ll collect those and put them into a post as well, and you might be able to share it with your father as a surprise tribute!

___________________________________________________________________

In his book, The Forgotten Commandment, Dennis Rainey encourages readers to write a formal tribute to their parents and present it to them during a special occasion (birthday, anniversary, holiday, etc.). Following are examples of a tribute. Click here for more information on honoring your parents and for more tribute examples.

Tributes to Stanley Overby, Jr., from his sons, Spencer and Steve:

A dad is someone who wants to catch you before you fall but instead picks you up, brushes you off, and lets you try again. A dad is someone who wants to keep you from making mistakes but instead lets you find your own way, even though his heart breaks in silence when you get hurt. A dad is someone who holds you when you cry, scolds you when you break the rules, shines with pride when you succeed, and has faith in you even when you fail … my Dad is everything a dad should be and then some.

Dear Dad,

I believe that something store-bought is not worth half as much as things made from the heart. So for your 75th birthday I sit here and recall all the things you have done for me, and the things we have done together, and I find the list really long.

When I close my eyes, I can still see you caring and taking Tina to the vet shaking, and making popcorn, the family car trips, and you dropping me off at Aunt Gene’s, me throwing up in your new ’66 LTD, and you yelling “get that kid out of my car.” I remember going to work with you at the factory riding in a big truck. Learning how to have a tab and order Shirley Temples. I remember you never spanking me, learning how to play golf as a family, breaking Steve’s black stick horse, sharing anchovy pizza, building slot cars with a broken hand, stripping furniture and finding coins. I remember making furniture in the garage, getting a trash can for Christmas, taking care of your mother, building a fort, ripping up Steve’s new tennis shoes because Mom was crying, picking up all the bats and leaving Little League practice. I remember your going to Promise Keepers with Steve and I and celebrating our Lord together, your being the best man in my wedding and your teaching me that nothing comes between you and your wife. I could go on and on. It’s funny, the older you get the more vivid your childhood memories become. The older I get the more I long for those carefree childhood days when all was good and the only worry was if Dad was going to beat me at cribbage after dinner.

These are abridged excerpts. READ BOTH OF THE ENTIRE TRIBUTES AT FAMILYLIFE.COM   READ MORE »

Leaving and cleaving: How to leave your parents well



During the first year of marriage and for long afterward, it’s not easy to leave your parents while also honoring them.

Leave your parents - Stepping Up | FamilyLife | Dennis Rainey

A few weeks after their wedding, a young man came home to find his wife in tears. She told him that his father had called her and said, “I cannot believe you forgot my wife’s birthday.”  In the father’s mind, it was her responsibility to keep up with occasions like these — even birthdays for her in-laws.

The young man knew what he had to do. First he got on the phone with his mother and said, “Mom, I want to apologize for not sending you a birthday card or present.  I’m really sorry about that.” Then he asked to talk with his father.

“Dad, this is the only time I want to have this conversation with you,” the young man said.  “I never want you to do that to my wife again.  My loyalty now is to her, and if you have a problem with something I have done, then you need to talk to me.”

I wonder how many young husbands would have stepped up with that type of courage in similar circumstances?   What impresses me is that he honored his mother through his apology, but he also did not hesitate to let his father know he had overstepped his boundaries. And in the process, he let his new bride know that she was the new priority in his life.

Honor … and forsake

When we marry, we face a difficult balancing act with our parents.  On one hand, the fifth of the Ten Commandments tells us to “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).  No matter what your age, you should honor your parents by spending time with them, thanking them for what they’ve done well, caring for them as necessary … and, yes, remembering their birthdays!

But then we look at Genesis 2:24, part of the narrative where God creates the institution of marriage.  This verse tells us, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”  The Hebrew word for “leave” means to forsake, to leave behind, to literally let go.  As difficult as it may be, when you marry, you declare to the world, “No other person on earth is more important to me than my spouse.”  Your spouse becomes a higher priority than your parents.

So how do you balance leaving your parents while also honoring them?  Here are a few suggestions:

1. When you marry, determine to set up your own home and family.

This means more than physically living apart from your parents; it also involves setting your own schedule, creating your own family traditions, and establishing your own values and priorities.

Early in marriage, one of the most common points of conflict with in-laws is holidays.  Where will you spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or other occasions?  It is difficult for many to accept the fact that those holidays will never be the same as they were.  Talk with your parents well ahead of these occasions about possibilities.  Be creative and flexible, and urge your parents to do the same.  And in the future, when you have children of your own, there may come a time when you ask your parents to begin coming to your home for these holidays.

2. Pull away from dependence upon your parents.  

One of the most common problems you will face as a newly married couple will be the temptation to allow parents to bail you out of financial difficulty.  I know of one couple that kept turning to the wife’s parents to bail them out after poor financial choices.  As a result, the husband was not forced to step up to his responsibility to provide for his family and to live with the consequences of poor choices.  It undermined his self-respect as a man, and his wife was losing her respect for him as well.

It’s also important to pull away from emotional dependence.  Some couples are so accustomed to consulting their parents, for example, that they feel uncomfortable making decisions on their own.  There’s nothing wrong with getting advice — the problem comes when they doubt their ability to make good decisions independently.  This also means being willing for you or your spouse to make bad decisions and learning from your mistakes … just like your parents did when they were young.

3. Look for opportunities to spend time with your parents.

Remember how difficult it is for them to let you go.  And for single parents, the loss can be even more wrenching. Leaving does not mean withdrawing from them; that’s abandonment, not leaving.

If you live far away from your parents, you will need to make a special effort to visit them on a regular basis during weekends, vacations, etc.  This will involve flexibility and sometimes sacrifice, but that’s part of the commitment you make when you join another family.

4. Don’t allow them to manipulate you.

This is one of the most difficult issues to address.  Your parents know you well, and they know what buttons to push so you will do what they want.  And sometimes they don’t even realize how they are being manipulative.  At times you will need to lovingly confront them to establish your independence.

5.  Protect each other.

Don’t criticize your spouse to your parents, and defend your spouse when your parents are critical.  If you are having a conflict, don’t get advice from them.

I once made the mistake of making a negative comment about Barbara to my mother. It was not a major issue, and I soon forgot it — but she didn’t.  For years she brought up that comment occasionally, and I realized I had not protected Barbara as I should have.

For many of you, the act of leaving your parents will be one of the most difficult steps of your life.  But it’s a vital step in the process of growing up and establishing your own home.

Copyright ©2013 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.