Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise.” Ephesians 6:1-2
This Sunday is Father’s Day, and it causes me to remember. These days, I think it happens somewhere around a person’s 11th birthday. But back when I was a boy about to become a young man, it happened when I was 13 or 14. When you are younger it seems you notice more of the things that Daddy and Momma’s do. You appreciate the fact that that they do the ordinary things…the everyday things.
Things like washing clothes and cooking supper. Things like ironing your shirts and cleaning the house. Things like taking you fishing after a long day at work and teaching you the value of work. Things like providing a place for you to sleep at night and knowing you were safe. And, yes, things like showing you what two married people are supposed to look like…live like.
However, right before you take the leap into your teen years, something happens. Suddenly enough is not enough. Suddenly you know more—especially more than your parents. Then you spend more than a few years not being appreciative, but rather telling them and anyone who would listen how hard things are “where I live.” The fact that it was the sixties and seventies didn’t help. It seemed that everyone around me was doing their own thing but all I could do was my Daddy’s thing. Whatever he said, went, and that’s just the way it was. And yes, what Momma said went too.
When I was eighteen and stepped onto a plane to fly to basic training in the Air Force something began to click. The things that Daddy taught me began to make sense. All those “yes, sirs” and “yes, ma’am’s” that the Air Force required came easy for me because that’s the way I was raised. When the call came to “get up, get up,” well that came easy too because I had a Daddy and a Momma who thought I didn’t need to lay in bed all day. And going to work…second nature. My Daddy demonstrated that year after year and by example taught me a strong work ethic.
Largely because of the times they said, “Because I said so” and set boundaries and enforced them, well, I’ve never woke up with a hangover, never spent a night (or an hour) in jail and have never been fired from a job. As I look back from my six and a half decades viewpoint (uh, plus three for good measure), I realize that my two incredible parents were right after all. And I may, no I didn’t, appreciate it at the time but they saved me from a lot of regrets and consequences.
It is safe to say that time changes our viewpoint and as I sit here today mashing keys and writing, I realize just how blessed I have been. My Daddy was quite the ordinary guy, but that is exactly what made him extraordinary. He wasn’t perfect and gratefully he didn’t expect me to be either, but he did teach me respect for him and for others. For 46 years I have respected the woman I am married to because he taught me to respect my Momma. He (with a lot of help from God) helped me be the man I am today and for that I will be eternally grateful.
God chose to take my Daddy to heaven when I was only twenty years old…before he could meet my wife, my kids, and their kids. I remember the summer Sunday morning we found him in bed. Sometime in the early, early morning he had slipped away from us and made the trek to heaven. I’m glad I will see him again someday. I’m not sure how all of this works but maybe, just maybe I will get to introduce him to my sweet wife and family. What a day that will be for sure.
So, thanks Daddy, and Momma, for all you did for me…for the love and the sacrifices you made for me and the rest of the tribe. And Grits family, remember to honor your father and mother, just like God says in His word. It’s the first command with a promise and I promise you won’t regret it. And, if you find that hard because of some very difficult memories and scars left from actions best not done, or words best not spoken, try and reach into God’s grace bucket and sling some around. If you are a Jesus follower, your Dearest Daddy in heaven would like that and He’s even willing to help. As always, He’s got that…and this. Bro. Dewayne