In honor of Father’s Day, this week’s column is one I wrote a few years ago about the importance of Fathers and Father’s day.
“I am not the Bank of Frank” was one of the sayings my Daddy would half-jokingly say to me and my sisters when we would ask him for money when we were younger. The funny thing is that while he would be fussing about us asking him for money and him not being a money tree, he would be reaching for his wallet complaining all while counting out the money. However, he was more than an ATM giving us money when we asked. He also made deposits into the lives of me, my sisters as well as others.
With so much talk lately about the victims of police violence being fathers and leaving behind grieving children, I’ve thought quite a bit lately about the deposits that fathers make into their children’s lives, even when they may not realize it. It could be as simple as George Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter Gianna stating, “Daddy changed the world.” Regardless of the circumstances of her Daddy’s death, Gianna will hopefully cherish the many good times that she had with him.
For those of us who were blessed to have fathers that were an active part of our lives we can also say that our Dads changed the world but maybe not on the global level of Floyd’s raising awareness about police violence. For example, when we were going through insurance papers of my late father, we found a treasure trove including military records, resumes, and performance evaluations that he kept from his jobs for over 40 years in a baby blue Samsonite briefcase.
What I was most struck by was a simple thank you note written to him in the early 1970’s for the kindness he showed when a co-worker had a death in the family. The fact that my father still had it was a big surprise. But what was even more amazing was that the kindness that was described by the co-worker was the same kindness I’d seen my father show to others over the years. Even more importantly, it makes me realize that my desire to show kindness to others is one of the deposits that my father made in my life. Seeing this nearly 50-year-old thank you note made me realize that he’s the reason why I also love to keep thank you notes!
But what about those who didn’t grow up with a father or didn’t like the one you grew up with? You may have still learned lessons from them on what kind of person you choose not to be. Proverbs 4:1 says “Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.” In this case, the lesson is taught by watching people, realizing we don’t want to be like them and avoiding their behavior.
This Father’s Day weekend, I encourage you to take the time to honor your fathers (natural, spiritual, Godfathers, etc.) and the deposits they’ve made in your life. Keep this in mind: Our Heavenly Father loves us and wants the best for us…that’s the best deposit that we can make in the lives of others. Happy Father’s Day!