I ran across this picture of my dad and our daughter Reagan “reading” in our sun room. My parents came here to visit from Missouri and I am sure “Grandpa” was just doing what I have known him to do every morning for as long as I can remember…taking some time to read his Bible. He looks completely unaware that his granddaughter is trying to be just like him.
My dad was a pastor, an electrical engineer, and a farmer. He also raised seven children and has been married for about 150 yrs. I’m sure he tried to teach me things…I am his oldest son. I’m just not sure I learned the things he tried to teach me. Here’s a couple of things I learned from my dad (without even trying.)
“Somebody did it for the first time”. Whenever I would ask my dad if he knew how to do something, whether it was fixing a car or tractor, building a building, or solving a problem, he always had the same answer. “Somebody had to do it for the first time.” Looking back, I’m sure there were times he had no idea what he was doing. Somehow over the years he instilled in me with this one truism (repeated countless times) that anything was possible. I cannot tell you how many times that saying has run through my mind as I contemplated some new endeavor.
“Try again”. I cannot tell you how much I hated learning this one. Whenever I would come to my father and say, I can’t “lift this” ,”figure this out”, ” get this bolt loose”, “get this lawnmower started” etc, before he would help me he would say. “Go try again.” Wow was that irritating! Sometimes he would do it twice or three times before he would help. The surprising thing was is that many times when he sent me back to “try again”, I found that I could actually do whatever task I thought was “impossible” just a few minutes before! Maybe my father was stalling for time, maybe he had so many requests from his seven children that he used this as a method to sort out the serious needs from the silly…I don’t know. I do know that whenever I am tempted to quit in anything, I hear the words “try again” in my head.
So fathers, what are you teaching your children? They are constantly learning, and we are constantly teaching them. Sometimes without even trying…