Posts in category Your legacy

What children want … and need



Parents have to make a lot of judgment calls on what is best for their children. As the father of seven, I know full well that my kids haven’t always agreed with my choices. I often wonder: If they had the same decisions to make, would they be good ones? What would my children want?

A few years ago, Ombudsman for Children, an Irish advocacy group, decided to find out the answer to that question of what children want in their unprecedented Big Ballot. They identified five key areas of life, then polled Irish children from 21 counties to find out what they identified as the most important between:

  • Education
  • Family & Care
  • Having a Voice
  • Health, Wealth, and Material Well-being
  • Play and Recreation

As might be expected, Education got schooled by the heavy hitters of Play and Having a Voice. Only 12% of kids picked Education as their top choice. Just above Education at the bottom of the list (16%) was Material Well-being. I have to admit that I was a bit surprised that Having a Voice was only a half percentage point higher than those.

what children want

Father’s Day 2008 with my three youngest children and my wife Ellie

So, now we’re down to two: Play and Family. Which do you think topped the children’s list?

Family.

Nearly one third of the children surveyed chose it as their top concern, compared to just a quarter of the ballots for Play and Recreation.

Even when they might not agree with our choices, our children still realize that the family provides them security, protection, enjoyment, love, and counsel. It reminds me of how important a task we have to provide a nurturing environment for our children, and how much they look to us to care for them.

What makes a father proud is to know that his children value the same things that he is trying to provide for them. As long as he’s valuing the right things, it’s almost a slam dunk that his children will want the same things.

What makes children proud — what children want deep down — is to have a father who is an example of integrity and understanding, and who is a source of stability and direction. These are the very things that Scripture speaks of when it addresses the attributes and expectations of a father.

Although it’s not even close to being an exhaustive list, here are a few things children want — and need — from you, straight from the pages of Scripture.

CHILDREN WANT YOU TO TEACH THEM THE RIGHT WAY

Deuteronomy 11:19 — You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

3 John 1:4 —  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

CHILDREN WANT YOU TO CORRECT THEM WHEN THEY’RE WRONG

Proverbs 3:11-12 — My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD Or loathe His reproof, For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.

Hebrews 12:7-11 — It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

CHILDREN WANT YOU TO UNDERSTAND WHO THEY ARE

Colossians 3:21 — Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

Psalms 103:13 — Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.

CHILDREN WANT YOU TO PROVIDE FOR THEIR BIGGEST NEEDS

Matthew 7:9-11 — Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?

CHILDREN WANT YOU TO TREASURE WHO THEY ARE

Psalm 127:3-5 — Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.

Taking dad to the Super Bowl … and beyond



Among the key players in this year’s Super Bowl will be three very different men with one big similarity: They love their dads and are bringing them to the game with them – at least in a sense.  Their names are Manning, Wilson, and Sherman, and they have stories worth sharing.

But first I want to tell a personal story of some other men I met who also took their dad to the Super Bowl. Like most guys, they weren’t going as players but as fans, and I ran into them on my way to Super Bowl XL with my son.

Kolby and I were on our way to Detroit to see my former team, the Seattle Seahawks, play the Pittsburgh Steelers. On the flight, we got into conversation with two rabid Seattle fans, brothers in their late 20s, decked out in full team gear. They explained that their passion for the Seahawks went back to their dad, who had taken them to every game as they grew up. Kolby and I could feel the love they had for their dad in their voices and their passion. But what put these guys over the top was when they gushed about their excitement to take their dad to the Super Bowl to see their beloved Seahawks.

“Where is he?” I asked.

“Oh, he’s up in the overhead compartment. We got his ashes in a blue and green urn up there. We’re so excited!”

After they turned away came the whisper from my wide-eyed 15-year-old, “Dad, that’s weird!”

Yeah, it is. But, hey, I honor those guys for honoring their dad. It’s clear that he made his interest in them – and taking them to football games – a tradition, a memory, and a lasting bond. He must have loved them and they still felt it. They knew how much he would have wanted to see the Seahawks in the Super Bowl with his sons, so they brought him to the Super Bowl.

I love this story and the bond between men, a dad and his sons. And that takes me to this year’s Super Bowl.

The plot and outcome of this year’s game will depend a lot on the play of Russell Wilson, Peyton Manning, and Richard Sherman. Each has something in common with The Urn Brothers in that they are bringing their fathers with them to the game. Not in an urn, but they are representing their fathers’ legacies of love and sacrifice that helped them make it to the big game.

Russell Wilson’s dad went to my alma mater, Dartmouth College, playing football in the four years before I joined the team. He passed away in 2010, but before he died he had built a character of confidence, commitment, and caring into his son. Russell remembers his dad regularly waking him at 5 a.m. and encouraging him to “make it a great day.” From what Dartmouth teammates said about Harrison Wilson and what we see from the hyper-prepared and team-lifting Russell, I think the quarterback is compounding the investments his dad made in him.

Taking Dad Super Bowl

Sons and their dads, from top, Russell and Harrison Wilson, Kevin and Richard Sherman, Peyton and Archie Manning.

Kevin Sherman is a dependable dad who wanted his sons to learn from his mistakes and to make the most of their education so that they could have more doors open for them than he had for himself. Compton, Calif., is a blighted neighborhood with few opportunities and scores of dangers, but Richard Sherman’s mom, dad and family have a winsome bond that was respected by gang members who didn’t want to lure the Sherman kids away from a great family and future.

The tight family is infectiously affirming. Richard swells with respect when speaking of his dad who worked 4 a.m. to 2 p.m. as trash collector for over two decades. From a dad’s dream to Richard’s attending and graduating from Stanford, quite a new legacy emerged in the Sherman family line.

Richard’s preeminent preparation and boiling competitiveness as a top NFL cornerback is mixed with a winsome manner off the field, although his articulate Muhammed Ali-like trash talking on the field is far from my liking, Sherman’s heated post-NFC championship game comments sparked controversy, not for misbehavior or slacking in life, but for venting battle-fueled bad blood between a DB and receiver. (Parents and youth coaches, certainly, let’s teach our kids not to belittle opponents, but let’s also read the whole story as we view others for the content of their character, not the color of a few comments after a heated game.)

Archie and Olivia Manning raised a super-close family that built Hall-of-Fame character, leadership, and humility into high achievers who make their teams eminently better. Archie labored in adversity without championships for the New Orleans Saints, but his greatest achievement was shaping Cooper, Peyton, and Eli Manning. Payton has a dad and brother as fellow epic NFL quarterbacks.

Despite what most think, the Mannings’ football career was not their dad’s focus as they were growing up. “We just tried to raise good kids and have a good family,” Archie says. “I don’t like the perception that … I’ve got these boys and I’m going to mold them into being NFL quarterbacks. Not so. You might can do that, and they might be NFL quarterbacks. I’m not sure you’re going to have a great father-son relationship, and that’s what I wanted.”

No wonder Peyton Manning was recently voted by his NFL peers as the most respected player in the league.

An infectiously intentional ivy-league dad who passed away early, a trash-truck driving, dependable dad from the ‘hood and an iconic pro-bowl quarterback from the Mississippi Delta. Each paved a path leading his son to the Super Bowl, and hopefully to even more important things – like walking in the footsteps of the key man in their life – Dad. And in a different, but similar way, just like the Seahawk-crazed brothers on the flight to the 2006 Super Bowl, these three players are taking their dad (through his legacy) to the game with them.

This all strikes close to home because of my dad’s legacy as a quarterback in the NFL and as a civic servant and leader in the public square. Although Dad and I both came within one game of the Super Bowl as players, we did go to a few games as spectators, and I’ve had the same opportunity with my sons. Most importantly, though, dad and mom loved and shaped me, as my wife and I have aimed to do with our four sons.

Millions of us dads will sit down with our kids on Sunday. So enjoy the game, but devote yourself and your energies each day to what matters most.

Someday each of us will be laid to rest (unless they scatter us in the ocean or take us to the Super Bowl in an overhead compartment).  What will you be remembered for? Riches, fame, and personal success are transient. But a legacy is what passes on to the next generation, and the next, and the next. … That is what endures.

Jeff Kemp and his father, Jack, were the first of six sets of father-son quarterback duos to play in the NFL. 

Make champions on Super Saturday



Super Saturday facemask videoWhile the numbers weren’t anywhere close to the 164 million who watched last year’s Super Bowl, the effect of the 2013 Stepping Up Super Saturday will be felt for years to come.

Last year, at least 23,000 men gathered around the nation and world, not to watch a championship, but to help each other become champions at home. They met in homes, churches, places of business, and on college campuses. They gathered in groups from a handful to a hundred in all 50 states as well as in Hungary, Mexico, and the Cayman Islands.

And on February 1, the day before this Super Bowl, many of those men will be leading new groups of men through FamilyLife’s one-day Stepping Up™ Video Event. They will follow the lead of men from last year who organized events in their own communities — guys like Frank Johnson and Tony Dronkers — who hosted an event in the Washington DC area to help fellow pastors and men’s ministry leaders. That enabled men to jump start their own churches’ ministry to men. And those men are likely to be leading others through the Super Saturday event next month.

One of last year’s events was organized by a 16-year-old named Westley and two of his friends who had been through Stepping Up material with their church small group leader, and now wanted to encourage and equip other teens to step into their new role as young men.  Fifty teens and grown men ended up being impacted by that event.

Our communities need men who understand God’s unique design and calling on a man’s life and want to share that with guys who are in desperate need of vision, teaching, encouragement, and accountability. The one-day Super Saturday event is a way to get men started on a clear path to courageous manhood.

You can be that catalyst for your church, business, or community. Visit the Stepping Up website to find out where there are events near you. Or better yet, host your own event and  invite men in your circle of influence. All the materials you need to put on an event are available through the website (and right now at more than half off). Videos that give guidance and ideas for pulling it off are also available through the site.

If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment or question on this blog, and we’d be glad to help.

May God bless you as you lead in your home and come alongside fellow believers to help them do the same.

Super Saturday: A day before the big game



Experts include Bill Bennett, Tony Dungy, Crawford Loritts, Dennis Rainey and many others

If there was ever a time when men need vision for what it means to be a godly man, this is it. Imagine if we could call men from all walks of life to become courageous, godly leaders in their own lives, marriages, churches, and communities. Well, we can. And it all starts with you.

On the Saturday before the Super Bowl, we’re calling on thousands of churches across America to host a Stepping Up Super Saturday: one life-changing day that could turn the tide for men in your ministry, and across America.

Stepping Up Super Saturday proudly presents the Stepping Up Video Event, a DVD-based kit designed for an all-day event. High quality DVDs deliver dramatic stories, humorous vignettes, man-on-the-street interviews, and expert teaching from the more than two dozen ministry leaders. Watch this video from FamilyLife Vice-President and former NFL quarterback Jeff Kemp to learn more about how you and the other men in your realm can step up on Super Saturday.

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Today’s men are shrinking back when they should be stepping up. Help them tackle the challenges of modern life head on by hosting Stepping Up Super Saturday at your church February 1, 2014. Sign up today, order your Video Event Kit  and….GAME ON!

The lasting impact of a spiritual patriarch



How can I use my gifts to advance the Kingdom of God in my community and in my world?

One of the ways a man steps up to become a patriarch is by beginning to use his experience, and his influence to have an impact beyond his family. He wants to leave a mark on his world.

I want to tell you about a friend of mine: a man who became a mentor, a man who I think of as a spiritual patriarch.

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Have you had someone in your life who you consider a patriarch? Share your story.

Learn more about Dennis’ spiritual patriarch, Bill Bright, one of the world’s most influential Christian leaders.

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.

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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!

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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 »

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