A father gives life…
perhaps biologically, through forgiveness, by welcome acceptance, with love beyond reason
A father tunes in to a person…
similar, different, unique, valuable
A father recognises…
passions, fears, dreams, realities, potential, capacity
A father teaches…
The 3 R’s, repentance, responsibility, shoe laces, no training wheels, boundaries, honesty
A father models…
excellence, reliability, growth, consistency, faithfulness, sacrifice, generosity, trust, respect, integrity
A father needs…
his children, his grandchildren – those from himself, and those who came (or were brought) to himself
A father loves…
My father has been all of these things. Some done well; others falteringly; still others because of the nature of his relationship with my mother; there were those that stemmed from his design or own experience; and some of the most precious were those he learned, both deliberately and incidentally.
One of the greatest gifts in my life has been my father. But I’m luckier than most as my dad was also father and grandfather to others beside myself, and those I call mine.
Dad taught me to install a new gearbox and mix concrete by hand (though these were so long ago, I’m up for re-learning). I know how to use a shovel, spade and crow bar (including standing it in the ground so it doesn’t get too hot to hold in the Australian sun). With my dad, I have raised sheds (many a family bonding/dividing occurred during shed-raising), erected swimming pools and dug sewer trenches.
Dad taught me to fill in forms correctly, complete my own tax return, save money, and give it generously. I learned to drive with my dad beside me (and not to wreck his tires on rough edges!). I learned how to check my oil and water (even though I blew up an engine twice), and change a tyre – on EVERY car. I built airplanes, and drank beer from shot glasses in my dad’s shed.
I learned to search out information, truth and lies for myself – and what to do if I needed to find outside assistance. I learned I can surrender to and challenge authority when necessary, and that I will be recognised (and even heeded) when I do so.
I learned that even the unhealthiest of my choices will be respected, and I will always be welcome – even when I have rejected, betrayed and taken my dad’s love for granted. I learned that love has boundaries to protect it, and those that love has brought together.
I’ve watched my dad father those who were not of his own, but were his own just the same.
He has held their children, showed them how to grow to be men, walked them to their waiting life partner, comforted them while they waited for hospital care, helped them uncover some value in life when they could see none, showed them what a loving family looks like, given them a home, presented their funeral farewell, challenged their darkness, led them to light.
I don’t know who will read this, but for many of you he shared his food, gave up his sleep, shared his food, gave his time, shared his food, laughed with you, shared his food, provided his home, shared his food. Did I mention that he shared his food?
My father’s not perfect, but he has been perfectly wonderful for me. And I am exceptionally grateful.
I love you Dad!