Happy Father's Day
By Robert (Bob) W. Jones
My dad probably copied it from somebody else. But that’s OK. There’s nothing new under the sun and didn’t someone say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?
On the leading edge of making a pivotal life decision, my dad laid out a process for how to think through a choice. It was genius. Because of it I stayed in University, got a degree, learned the value of perseverance, found a career and soon there’ll be peace in the Middle East.
(OK, it wasn’t that good.)
I’ve used the process ever since and shared it with many people facing the same kind of decision-point in their experiences. I give my dad the credit.
My dad gets the credit for a lot of things in my life – the good and not so good.
1. Dads are risk takers. No dad ever gets everything right. Parenting is a risk. No child survives a child-father relationship without some form of a scar. The one on my palm is from when I fell and sliced my hand open. I was running up the stairs carrying a glass bottle of nails, eager to help my dad in the garage. The one on my heart is when my dad doubted my wisdom in becoming a Pentecostal pastor.
As a pastor I’ve heard countless adults refer to their reluctance to embrace God as “Father” because their own father experience was hurtful. Dads aren’t perfect. Some are far from it. Forgiveness is a good gift from God the Father. Use it liberally, especially with dad.
2. Dads are memory makers. Becoming a father is about biology. Being a dad is about proximity. A dad is present. He’s in the lives of his offspring. He shows up at hockey games, parent-teacher interviews, graduations, birthday parties, and sleepless nights because of bad dreams.
My dad was absent more often than not from important moments – football games, band concerts, homework help. It was the 60’s and work was #1. He was an executive with Kodak, Canada. He was often away in Dallas, New York, or Rochester – work destinations that took him away from family life. In no way do I hold that against him, but I am beholden to him for a corollary lesson.
As a dad, being present at our two sons’ sports events, (and resultant emergency room visits), concerts, birthdays, and school events was a priority. I’m not familiar with touristy places in our area but I can lead you to almost every football field in northern Alberta and across Canada. Now that our sons are dads it’s pleasing to see them making memories with my grandchildren.
3. Dads are paragons. A dad is someone you look up to no matter how tall you grow.
My dad was the sports hero I looked up to. He was the best at hockey, golf, bowling, volleyball, and tennis. Dad was a 1st reserve for the 1940 Canadian Davis Cup tennis team. He used a Paragon tennis racquet. I still have it.
Sports success led dad away from church. I didn’t know until later in life that he was the black sheep of the Jones family. His dad was an elder in the church. So was his grandfather. In my formative years dad sent me to church with my mum – not the shiniest example. His re-commitment would pave the way for my own decision to follow Jesus.
Risk taker. Memory maker. Paragon of faith. I’m copying that from you.
About this Contributor:
Robert (Bob) W. Jones is a recovering perfectionist, who collects Coca-Cola memorabilia and drinks Iced Tea. His office walls are adorned with his sons’ framed football jerseys, and his library shelves, with soul food. He has served as a pastor for 36 years and has enjoyed the past 26 years in leadership at North Pointe Community Church in Edmonton, Alberta.
Connect with Bob:
North Pointe Blog