As Father's Day approaches, I praise God for my son. He is everything that any father could want in a child. I also give praise for the father that my five older brothers and I had as we grew up. He was everything that a son could want in a father. Both of our parents passed on in 2009, and we still honor them three years later.
Raising six boys
Many people congratulate my parents for raising six boys. Dad often worked multiple jobs to provide for us all. They set their schedules so that we always had at least one of them home with us. We may not have gotten everything we wanted, but Dad made sure that we had everything that we needed whether food, shelter, clothing, or just their attention.
Time for his boys
Even with six boys and two jobs, my father never used the excuse of not having time for us; he made time. He and Mom spent time with each one of us individually and together as a family. They came to our school activities, band concerts, sports, and award ceremonies. Dad coached all six of his boys' baseball teams over the years. He once surprised me by taking an afternoon off work to watch me pitch the final game of my junior year. I got so pumped that I pitched my best game ever.
Raising six boys meant frequent but loving discipline. My father spared no feelings. I once complained to him about my store manager yelling at me for not shaving before work. I expected sympathy. Instead, my father said that since the manager pays me, I need to shut my mouth, do as he says, and shave. There I was at 11:00 at night shaving. Dad made me shave then because I should have before going to work. I learned to respect authority more that night.
Losing a son
In 2005, my second oldest brother passed away very suddenly just a few days after turning 44. Dad never got over it. He spent many nights on the back porch wishing to see his son one more time. He held back the tears when around us, but we all knew the heartache he had; we had it, too. He spent the remainder of his life honoring his son's memory.
My last day with him
As adults with our own homes and families, we always wanted to do for him as he did for us. Just four days before he passed, I got to spend the day with him visiting Mom in the hospital, driving him on errands, and shopping with him. I laughed out loud as I watched him chase the teenage cashier around the front of the store in the electric grocery cart, and I never got tired of hearing the same old jokes that he told everyone he met that day. Later that night, Dad collapsed and went into the hospital for the last time. I praise God that I had that final day with my father. I had a similar day with Mom three weeks later, just before she joined her husband and son in Heaven.
A father to my own son
I learned from the best. My wife and I try to raise our son in the same manner. We give him attention, attend his activities, teach and advise him, and discipline him lovingly as he grows up. I can think of no better way to honor my father in his memory than to raise his grandson the same way that he raised his sons. My brothers do the same. The Fifth Commandment -- "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee" - still applies even though my parents have passed on.
Holy Bible, Exodus 20:12, King James Version.