Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Father's Instruction

Proverbs 4:1--4:1
"Listen, children, to a father's instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight."

I don't want to write a long sloshy post in honor of my father, but I do want to acknowledge this wonderful man.

First, it is a privilege and a wonder that I still have him in my life. He just celebrated his 88th birthday on June 14. I do not take lightly his longevity. It is a marvel and a blessing.

Second, it bears mentioning that he (and my mother ) are the wellsprings of my life (naturally) and of my values and my faith. There are so many aspects of my life that derive directly from the father that I have.

Here are some of the things I remember that I know shaped my life as a child growing up.

My dad taught me how to ride a bicycle. Of course, many dads do that, but mine taught me by walking along behind me, holding the bike (in the absence of training wheels), urging me to peddle, steadying the bike. Then when I got the bike going nicely along, he let go. Of course, I didn't know it, but I was peddling on my own. When I looked back, I wobbled and crashed, but a couple repeats--and I had learned to ride.

My dad always had time for me to crawl up on his lap. And he always had hugs for me (and my brother and sister, too).

When I was a small girl, my dad let me play with his hair. When he was tired in the evenings, he would sit down, and lean back. His eyes shut, he let me (perhaps even encouraged me) to comb his hair every which way. I had lots of fun, and I suspect he enjoyed the relaxation.

My dad let me play his 45 rpm records of classical recordings. He had a set of Beethoven's string quartets, and I asked to play them. My dad said--go ahead. That experience, along with some others, encouraged my love of classical music. My dad could have said--no, those records are too valuable. But he said--go ahead, and encouraged a musical taste in me.

My dad allowed me to make my own way. I remember a specific episode--we were on board ship crossing back to America, and the entertainment was a kind of gambling. Another passenger offered to let me play with $5--I asked my dad what to do. My dad said "you know what your mother and I think, but you decide for yourself." The message was--we don't approve of gambling, but you decide. Well, I did decide to use the money to play. And I didn't feel any regret, but the important thing was that my dad said--you decide.

My dad continues to love me even though as I have grown, I have continued to go my own way. We differ on many things--views in politics, for example--but he still loves me and respects me.

So, Happy Father's Day--Daddy!


Ruth said...

Your father is a remarkable man and you are proof of that too. It can be difficult to let our children make choices we would not make and still love and respect them. Thank you for a post about a man who has aged with grace.

Mary said...

He has a very kind expression.

He must be a great man - after all, look at his offspring!

dguzman said...

Happy father's day to your father!

Anvilcloud said...

He sounds and looksn. like a fine ma

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Donna.
I pray for you all everyday. Love, Father "C".

Pam said...

What a kind and open face. Who he is shines through and you are most fortunate. Lovely tribute.

Elaine Cougler Author said...

You are blessed to have such wonderful memories of a great dad, and we are blessed that you write so well in expressing them. These ARE the best things in life--people we love and respect who help us grow.

dmmgmfm said...

He looks like such a lovely man.

Beth said...

Beautiful, honoring post and photo!

Cathy said...

A wonderful man, indeed. You are blessed to have this good decent man in your life.

I smiled over the hair-combing ritual. My grandfather paid my mother a nickel to massage his scalp. If I had a grandchild, I'd pay 'em a buck! As it is - I try not to fall asleep at my hair-dressers whom I pay a great deal more :0)