I remember one significant time in my life when my dad said that I love you.
It was the day after the football grand final in my home town. This was significant not because of the fooball but because it was the first time that I got publicly drunk. And, I was very drunk. I was about 16.
I made a complete ass of myself. Not once but right throughout the day. This in a small country town was bound to get back to my parents. Especially because they are good church people and a lot of people took great pleasure in letting them know how bad their son was. The phone calls began early the day after, mostly from church people saying how sorry they were about what I had done.
This for my parents who are very private people was deeply shameful.
That afternoon dad picked me up from work. He said, “that was a very stupid thing that you did yesterday, Chris. But, we still love you very much.”
That day has stood out to me for 25 years because in the midst of all these other people thinking I was an idiot (they were right) my dad still loved me. I hope that I can be like him.
These are some of the key things I have learned from my dad:
1. Work hard – he is 71 and works three jobs not because he has to but because he enjoys himself. I admire his work ethic.
2. Don’t just say I love you – live it. In the story that I told at the beginning of this post what Dad said to me meant a lot but I know that everything Dad has done is an expression of his love for me. More than saying it he has lived it faithfully.
3. Be faithful to your wife – They have been married for over 40 years
4. Be interested in everything – Dad has his nose in everything. If he doesn’t know he will find out. Sometimes it drives you crazy but it keeps him alive
5. Keep learning – Dad is still willing to have a go at many things even starting a new career at 70. He hasn’t stopped learning yet
The things we say and do can have a profound effect on those closest to us. An impressive legacy is when the person who is responsible for bringing you into the world has also had one of the biggest positive impacts on who you are today. I am my own person now with my own family yet they are able to reap the benefits of the sort of Dad my dad is. My life is a testimony to the quality of his parenting.