Both of these were read at my dad’s funeral service. We both could have written much more about what we learned from him, but we would have been there all day. We had a great dad.
Six Things My Dad Taught Me
Written By: His Baby Girl
- The heart of the Father
I don’t know how many times we would be in conversation talking about a need for us or the ministry and my dad instantly would ask how much it was and say that they were going to cover it. We weren’t asking for help. He just saw a need and he wanted to meet it. Because of this, I would pray for God’s provision on bigger things and I would think about my dad. If my earthly father wanted to meet our needs so much and would do whatever he could to make it happen, how much more was our Heavenly father able and willing to meet our needs? He showed me the heart of the Father.
- How to be a friend
My dad was willing to do anything to help someone. He would drive hours to help a friend. He would drop everything he was doing to be with someone who needed him. He would visit people in the hospital, attend funerals for people he didn’t even know to support those he did know, and he would give his time, money, and energy to those around him. If I am half as good of a friend as him, I will feel like I have succeeded. He was just that good of a friend to people.
- The importance of God’s Word
Growing up, I would walk into his room and see him reading his Bible. It was nothing unusual. It was just something I always saw. As I grew older, I realized how special this was. He loved to talk about what he read and would ask questions about the scriptures. He loved the Bible. Even while he was sick in hospice care and had no energy to read, he kept his Bible in his bed with him. It was an honor for me during his last few weeks of life to be able to sit or lay next to him in his bed and read the Bible to him. I knew the memories I was making with Him would last forever.
- How to be a giver
My dad realized that his money wasn’t his own and that was evident in all that he did. God blessed him and He wanted to be a blessing to others. I’m sure there were so many people who received from my dad that we won’t ever even know about. He wasn’t doing it for the attention or for a thank you. He saw a need and he met it. I have always looked up to him in this and wanted to be the kind of person, just like him, with an open heart and open hands.
- To take pride in what we do and in what we had
According to the world’s standards, my dad was probably never the smartest in the room. He had a high school education and never went to college. But my dad had something that not everyone has: a great work ethic. He took pride in what he did and would always make sure that it was done right. He worked for over 30 years at Exxon, learning his trade and he knew how to work with his hands. Around the house, he would always want it to be clean and would do whatever it took to make that happen, even if sometimes I would make that difficult. Sorry for all of the messes, dad. 😉 He knew that material possessions were temporary, but he also realized that they were a gift from God and he took good care of what he was entrusted with. I want to have that mentality in my life.
- The value of integrity.
I sat with him one day during his hospice time and we talked. I was talking about something and he said these three words: “Integrity, Integrity, Integrity”. And if I was to sum up my dad’s life in three words, I could easily say “integrity, integrity, integrity”. He did the right thing whether everyone was watching or no one was watching. That’s just who he was. People at Exxon lovingly and respectfully called him “Preacher” because he was a man of integrity. And he instilled that in Joey and I from a young age. My brother and I are who we are today because of his influence on our lives and his constant teaching and showing us that doing the right thing is the most important thing.
Things My Dad Taught me
My dad taught me so many things growing up…things like how to change a tire, how to drive, how to fish, and most recently- how to fix pretty much anything by watching YouTube videos. I remember a few months ago how proud he was of me when I called him to let him know that I had fixed my broken washing machine for 7 dollars and a YouTube video. I’m pretty sure he was more happy that he didn’t have to drive across town to come fix it himself.
My dad also taught me to be a servant even when no one was looking. My dad wasn’t a fan of the spotlight. He would prefer to do things in the background and not get the credit. He was the type to get to church hours before it started to help set up everything. He’d then stay after to pick up trash and you’d never even know he had been there. He was always uncomfortable when someone would do things for him, but he would jump at the opportunity to help someone else, even if it meant he had to sacrifice. He truly lived the life of putting God first, everyone else second, and himself last.
My dad taught me to have a good work ethic and to have integrity in anything I do. He taught me to not be lazy, and to go above and beyond what is expected, even when it’s difficult. Growing up, there were seasons where he would work 16 hour days for months at a time. Often, as soon as he’d get home, they’d call him back into work. He did it to pay bills, pay for college, and put food on the table. He never complained once, even when he was stressed and completely exhausted. As a child and teen, I didn’t truly grasp the sacrifice he was enduring for the family, but now that I’m a father myself, I understand what he went through and couldn’t be more grateful.
My dad taught me the importance of being there for your family. I remember one time when I was 18, I drove with my cousin to spend the day at Astroworld. As we were about to leave, my car wouldn’t start, so I was forced to call my dad at work from a pay phone to ask for help. When I told him the situation, he didn’t hesitate, he dropped everything and said he’d be there in an hour. He left work, drove from Baytown to the other side of Houston with all of his car tools and jumper cables ready to attempt to get my car running again. When he finally got there, before he took out any tool, he asked me a question that I’ll never forget…he said…”I know it’s a dumb question, but is your car in ‘park’? I looked down and I saw that I had turned off my car while it was still in ‘drive’….In embarrassment I put it in ‘park’ and it started right up. I just knew my dad was going to be furious with me for making him leave work and drive 2 hours round trip for nothing…but instead, he laughed all the way home and never chastised me one time, even with the inconvenience I’d caused him. That’s the type of dad he was. When it came to one of us needing him, he never said he was too busy and we could always count on him being there.
And finally, my dad taught me the importance of forgiveness and letting things go. Life is too short to sweat the little things when time on this earth is temporary.