Lessons I Learned from my Dad
It is Father's Day weekend. For me as a dad, also thinking about my dad and all of the men out there, I am grateful to be a dad and also have the daddy that I do. Truth is, the older I get and the more I walk through being a dad to my 20 year old daughter, the more I love, respect and appreciate my dad.
I learned a lot from my daddy from what he said, how he lived and how he loved. There are many great lessons I have learned. Here are just a few:
Love God and His word with all of your heart. Daddy is a preacher and pastored for most of my childhood. He preached about loving God and His word, but he didn’t just preach it from the pulpit, he lived it before us and continues to do this today. I can still remember seeing him often with a Bible in His lap and going to his prayer ground to call out to God. Even today, when Mark and I ask him questions, he will take us to the Bible and point us to trusting the Lord.
Love your wife. My daddy taught us what it means to love your wife. I can still remember how they held hands, kissed every day when he got home, sat and talked and just had fun together. When she got sick, he showed that love in how he cared for her until God called her home. Then, God brought Mama Tine into our family and once again, daddy shows us all how to love your wife in the way he loves and cares for Mama Tine. You see and feel the love they have for each other.
Love your children. When we were growing up, daddy worked a full time job and pastored at the same time. Yet he always made time to play ball, be at our games and on vacation – he was in the pool and riding the go carts with us. I will never forget those times! He spelled love with his time and with his words and for always being there for us boys. Even now, if I need him for anything, if he is able, he will drop everything to come and help or do what he can. He shows his love to us everyday. Plus, he also shows it in how he loves the grandkids.
Work Hard. I never remember getting to sleep in on Saturday mornings. We would eat breakfast and then there was a project to do. Working in the yard, cutting wood and even planting thousands of little trees all over the yard. Daddy was teaching us to work. He also showed us by his example. Daddy got up every morning and went to work and of the 21 years I lived at home I could count on one hand the times he didn’t go because he was sick. He didn’t just tell us, he lived it in front of us. I can honestly say there were Saturdays when the last thing I wanted to do was work in the yard or bust wood, but now, I would not take anything for this lesson and I am so proud of what we were taught early on.
Have Fun. Daddy to this day, works hard but also knows how to play hard. As long as mama and daddy could, we went on vacation every year. And it was all in time for him. Playing in the pool, riding the go carts and even doing the water slides! Daddy taught us that you can be a man of God and still be a man of fun. I can still remember him waking us up the Christmas we go the go-cart at 4:00 in the morning because he had stood it as long as he could and was the first to show us how to throw it around and make a black mark.
Believe in your children and encourage them to be the best. Daddy encouraged me and Mark to do whatever we did with all we had. He would push us mind you, but not to the point of us hating him or hating what we were doing. But when I tried to do something, he was right there. I can remember on one of our many trips to the Rod Run in Pigeon Forge, it was him who would get up early with me to run every morning so I wouldn’t get out of shape on vacation. Again, he might not remember that, but I do! Today, even as I am older, he encourages me and Mark and all of us in whatever we are doing.
Daddy will always find out. So many times, as a teenager, I would try to hide things I had done or maybe hadn’t done that I should have. Daddy always found out. The time I ran off the road and lost a hubcap and thought I could get up early enough the next morning to find it before he would find out, only to wake up to him calling my name from the carport wanting an explanation of why there was grass in my mirror and I had no hubcap.
Sometimes it is OK to let your child do something, even if mama has said no. It is the right of every father I guess. It was daddy who would buy us the name brand shoes after mama had said no. It was daddy who would let us jump bikes and ride the four wheeler up kudzu hill after mama said no (he rode up with us, just for the record sake.) I will never forget this one. There was a western mini-series (maybe Lonesome Dove) that was coming on TV, but it was coming on late. Mama made me go to bed. I will never forget my dad coming to wake me up to watch it after mama had went to sleep. We turned the volume down so she wouldn’t hear us. He may not remember that, but I sure do!
Help others when in need. So many people that daddy would help in life, as a pastor and that our family would help. Still, he will go out of his way to help someone who is need or to reach out to help.
You don’t have to be perfect to be a great dad. I don’t ever want to portray a picture that my dad was then or now a perfect man. He is human just like us all. He had times that I watched him get mad, get upset or even get frustrated at us, life and just stuff. He wasn’t perfect. But as he showed us then and continues to show us, you do not have to be perfect to be a great dad, just be who you are to the best of your ability and seek to love God and love your family and trust God for the rest.
So much more I could say, but these are the ones that come to my mind today. Bottom line, I am proud to call Donnie Wilkes my dad!