Appreciating Dads

Appreciating Dads

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With Father's Day just around the corner, I wanted us to take a moment to recognize our dads for all they do. The importance of fatherhood is often downplayed, but I know my life would be drastically different were my dad not around, interacting with me on a daily basis.

Sometimes the little things dads do mean the most and make the best memories. I have all kinds of memories from my childhood, not about learning important life lessons, but of simply spending time with him. Many of my interests and parts of my personality come from my dad and the way I was raised.

He consistently pushed me toward excellence when I was involved in school and sports. He was the go-to person when I needed help in my math classes. When I wanted to play tennis in high school, he took me out on the courts and showed me how to play. 

I have memories of my dad teaching me how to catch a football and swing a baseball bat. In elementary school, sometimes he would meet me after school with my bike, and we would go on an impromptu bike ride home. He introduced me to "Super Mario World" for SNES. On a good day, we can beat the entire game in a little over three hours. 

My dad used to quiz me on the roster for the Green Bay Packers, and he took my family on three road trips to Green Bay, Wis. He made sure we visited all kinds of historic places and monuments along the way. I was 7 years old the first time we took a major trip, and I still remember hiking in Arches National Park and visiting the Grand Canyon.

He taught me how to drive a manual transmission and helped me when I was buying my first car. He was my loan for college so I could go to my dream school, and he supported me when I went to Washington, D.C., for a semester. My dad even let me borrow one of his cars so I could drive to Colorado Springs and intern with Boundless two summers ago.

Our relationship has come a long way since the days he used to play Barbies with me in the living room. Now I ask him about the best route to take when I drive out of town by myself or how to navigate tax forms. While I was growing up, he taught me the importance of accuracy, responsibility and hard work. He taught me to be polite and to have manners. 

What are some things you learned from your dad growing up? What are some fond memories you have from times you spent together? If your dad wasn't really in the picture, what about someone who is a father figure to you?  

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  • --My dad passed away when I was in 7th grade.  Since then, there hasn't really been a man in my life who was a father figure to me, though there have been a couple of men who were available to give advice when I needed to hear something from a Christian man.  

    But I do have fond memories of my dad.  I guess I was sort of a daddy's girl, so I enjoyed doing anything that involved spending time with him.  He taught me to use tools (he was very handy around the house, and even built the house my mom still lives in), ride a bike, throw and hit a baseball, roller skate, etc.  I remember how much he loved using his telescope to look at the stars and moon, and how he'd take me out to watch meteor showers or an eclipse.  I remember how my cat loved to sit in his lap, but wouldn't let anyone else hold her.  I remember how much he loved his family.  He never raised his voice, and had the gift of mercy.  As young as I was, I knew that he was respected at work and church, and that he was a mild-mannered man who also knew how to stand up for what he believed.  

    Even though he's been dead for 18 years, I still miss him.  I wonder how my life would be different if he was still alive.  I wonder what he would think of me.  Would he approve of the woman I've become?  Would he be proud of me?  I hope he would.            

  • --I thought a lot about what my dad has taught me. Most of these things aren't things he told me directly, but things I heard him say or things I learned implicitly and especially by example. This list is in no particular order except for #1 and #2. I do not believe or follow a couple of these, but they're still things I learned from him :)  

    What Dad Taught Me:

    Above all else, always be aware of your surroundings, lock your doors, and be careful, be careful, be careful! There is no such thing as being too careful, especially around men. You should also carry mace and own a shotgun (I don't own either).      

    Read the Bible and pray regularly.

    Be careful who you allow to influence you. Don't believe everything you hear.

    Be honest and be blunt: don't beat around the bush. Stand your ground and don't let people manipulate you or treat you like a doormat.  

    When you disagree with your spouse, have a discussion not a fight.

    Divorce is never an option.

    If you marry someone you have a lot in common with, then it will be easier for you to get along. But having differences is still positive because then you will have different strengths and weaknesses.

    A hug is better than a thousand words. Give your loved ones lots of hugs.

    Long engagements are a bad idea.

    Dress modestly.

    Honor your parents

    The husband and the children need to help out with all domestic chores so that the woman is not overworked.

    Taking walks together is good for your marriage and your health.

    Men don't like to have long conversations but they like to be in the same room with their family/friends. (I know now this is not true for all men)

    Humans were created to work hard, so you will be miserable and cranky if you're unproductive for too long. However, also make plenty of time to relax and recharge in your off-hours.  

    Be generous with your money, but do so wisely because you don't want to enable bad behavior.

    Never stop learning about your field of work. When you stop learning, you become obsolete.

    When you are looking to buy an expensive item, do lots of research online and never buy the most expensive or the cheapest, because the ones in the middle are almost always the best choice.

  • --I learned how to take a beating from my father.  I leanred how if I was raped it was my fault and not the rapist's (if the rapist was a Christian)(.  I leanrned I could swallow my own blood after a beating.  I leanred no one could see my bruises under clothing.  I leanred to tell doctors I "fell down srairs" or "fell off my bed".  

    I learned from my father that non-Christian women deserve no respect or sympathy since they are non-Christians.

    My fondest memories are when I was successful in hiding books from my father so He would not make me burning them as the Bible commands.

  • --My dad was around physically when I was growing up, but there was a lot of discord in my home and he was somewhat emotionally distant. Thus, I don’t have a lot of gushy, sentimental memories with him. I appreciate this post, though, because it reminds me that I did still learn a lot from him.

    He taught me to tithe, even when money is tight.    

    He taught me basic car care (e.g., how to check my tire pressure, change a flat tire, check the oil level).

    He taught me that we aren’t entitled to success, but must work hard to achieve it.

    He taught me to think critically—not to believe “every windy preacher” (as he’d put it), but to do research for myself.

    He taught me to always be prepared. (I carry a big purse not because mom taught me to but because dad did!)

    I’ll have to think of more and share the list with him this weekend!

  • --maheswari test blog comment

  • --The last years of my dad's life were filled with illness, worry, but more importantly a time for reconcilliation.  On the trips to the doctors and back we actually talked.  We had uninterrupted itme back at my parent's home to just be together.  THe early years of my relationship with my dad were on the average not good ones.  He had issues about the way his own dad treated him and his brother, and his mother.  His own father left suddenly with another woman and moved to another state.  He never did speak of him.  His college savings were taken along with his dreams to a real career.  So, naturally it affected his fathering.  But, near the end of his own life he was finally able to express his love for me.  His thankfulness for my presence with him.  I didn't want to see him go through the illness and pain, but I thank God for those ending days.  Days which i will always treasure.  To hear him say"I love you, my daughter" were the most precious gifts I have ever received from anyone.

  • --LeahC - We're so very sorry about your painful memories.  We can feel the hurt you shared and will be touching base with you soon via e-mail.  Praying God's care and comfort for you this weekend, and always. <3

  • --I am blessed to have a Godly dad, he has been a positive influence and I can give him credit for the good choices I have made in my life and the results I see every day. Want to encourage man to be great Dad's in God, it has such a positive effect in your children's life.

  • --LeahC,

    I'm so sorry your father treated you in the horrible way. I'm glad you were able to save some books.

    MissC1,

    I, too, lost my dad--although I was older--a freshman in college. Your questions really resonate with me.

    One of my favorite things my dad taught me was to recognize and enjoy the beauty in God's world. He noticed and pointed out to me things like the dew on fence wires, the multicolored sparkles in snow when the sun shines on it, and the circular wave motion of wind in a field of alfalfa.

    He also taught me it was okay to ask questions about my faith, and that I didn't need to be afraid of pursuing truth even if it meant acknowledging doubt. And he inspired me to become a good whistler. Dad's whistle was probably the most melodic I have ever heard.

  • --Leah, do you ever see anyone here telling you your father was right or your rapist was right to rape you? I don't think you've gotten that response and I don't think you will.

    It sounds like you were in a cult, not a Christian home.

    What's the chapter and verse on the book burning? If I take Paul or Augustine as examples, I'd have to think he wouldn't be for book burning as he'd be interested in learning about the various philosophies of the day in order to argue against them. I could make an exception for burning all known copies of the 50 Shades of Gray trilogy for crimes against literature, though.

    What do you want? What are you expecting to hear from people? Are you looking for something specific? Are you looking for attention?

    Do you just hate Christians? Are you just trying to throw it in everyone's face that people can claim to be Christian and also do bad things? Well, I think you should go to a real bible-believing and bible-preaching church and every Christian there would probably say "uh, yeah, we know".

    I'm not trying to give you a hard time. Honestly, I am just asking what you're hoping to achieve.

  • --One of the big lessons I learned from my dad is not to attribute motives to people's actions or to assume the worst about them.  So many times when we're angry with someone for something he or she did, that person was acting from what he or she believed was right or was not thinking about you at all.  My dad has always championed giving the other person grace and to not to take everything so personal--a key lesson when dealing with church politics.  Note, this does not mean being walked all over or to blindly trust others but to show discretion and making a conscious choice to extend that grace that Christ has shown to us.

  • --Greg,

    LeahC was responding to the post's question about memories of our fathers. I think that is reason enough for her comment. Hopefully boundless blog is a safe community for people to share experiences even when they don't fit in a positive mold.

  • --Greg, LeahC has been through great emotional and physical pain, from someone who had a responsibility to take care of her, and who--apparently--called himself a Christian. Perhaps it is those sorts of people about which the Bible says, "God's name is blasphemed among the nations because of you"

    I was blessed with a good dad. He's not at all emotionally expressive or very physically affectionate--no one is in my stoic Finnish/Czech family, haha--but he is the bulwark of our family. What did I learn from him?

    -you can't call yourself a Christian and then go along with the crowd. My dad served 20 years in the Navy. I never once heard a swear word from his mouth and all the men under him noticed and started cleaning up their speech. We have the saying "swear like a sailor" for a reason and so that story is something!

    -money management. My dad had us doing that whole envelope system as kids, and we could earn money by doing extra chores. There was always a "10%" envelope for tithing. My dad is a saver and only buys quality things he knows will last a long time. But people are always more important. Money can be earned back. Time and relationships can't be.

    -complaining is a sinful behavior. Also, it doesn't make a rainy camping trip any less rainy.

    -calculus. My dad is an engineer and brilliant when it comes to math. I'm decidedly less brilliant. But he seemed to think that because I'm his daughter, I *must* have his brilliance in me somewhere, and he worked so hard to bring it out of me. I'm sorry Dad. The math gene must have skipped me. Thanks to you I passed all my math classes in high school and college, but I'll never be an engineer. :P

  • --ugh Greg....I'm sorry, but I hope you can re-read a few posts I've read lately and really see that sometimes your "typing" comes off as really rude.  

    LeahC  my heart aches for you.  No one should ever have those type of memories.  I'm truly sorry

    My dad is awesome....so awesome that I can't compare my husband to him or any guy because they would just fall short...some things I learned

    Kindness--my dad is very kind towards others

    Be involved in church no matter what age--my dad was a deacon at church and he always had me helping whether it was to clean up the pews after church or help clean up after communion.  I just have a connection to church and helping out because of this

    Pay tithe--my parents were poor but they always gave to the church and God was always good even if we didn't have everything everyone else had

    Leadership--while loans were something my folks didn't want for me, since education was highly important as I was the first to go to college, my dad did the math and made sure he helped me get the classes I needed every semester in college so I graduated in 4 years and didn't waste time or money

    Not to settle for less--my dad didn't beat up my mom, he spent time with me, he was always affectionate with mom in public....so I knew any man I married even if they didn't measure up to my dad, well he had to be loving, and I wouldn't stand for abuse because that was uncalled for......I have to say, my man isn't perfect, I didn't marry til I was 34, but my home is stable, kind, loving, and with no abuse.  

    Thank you Dad.  I love you!!!!!

  • --Ah yes, dad and Super Nintendo make for a winning combination.  My father, while dabbling in other games, including Super Mario World, beat the living daylights out of a much more obscure title, Wario's Woods.  I never got anywhere near his skill in that game.  It took a while to occur to me how funny it was that he held the controller like a piano, his fingers over the top (he's a phenomenal musician, mainly a rock keyboardist, and it's probably no exaggeration to say he's likely the best in our part of the state).

    More seriously, I'd say the thing my dad did best at teaching me was the importance of humor in coping with difficulties in life.  Used tastefully and appropriately, so much awkwardness and stress can be alleviated by taking conversation in a less serious direction. Starting at 12 years old, he made me work for him in his construction business, saying (partly facetiously, here it comes) that the real reason why he did it was to get me to do something else for a living.  I wasn't the most self-motivated or responsible youth, so it was very important for me to see and be made to experience working at a job consistently.

    Another thing I greatly appreciate about him is the depth to which he researches political stories and conspiracy theories.  Even when I don't agree, I have to tip my hat to his will and ability to hound down the bottom of the news and the subtexts of the news.  For better or worse, much of my awareness of current events comes from conversations with him.

    In the end, I always treasure his patience and acceptance, even when I would make significant blunders in school and general life direction, wasting my time or his money.  Nothing could be further from my impression of him than the image of the angrily unforgiving father saying something like "You're not my son, you bum!"  He certainly has his weird traits and quirks, but he is the father God gave me, and I am truly grateful.

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