Meet Our Dads

4w_monblog600x400_b061013In honor of Fathers Day this coming weekend, some members of the 4word team would like to share our Fathers with you!




Amy & Daryl ::

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe older I get, the more I realize how blessed I am to have a dad like mine. The metaphor of God as our Heavenly Father has always been meaningful to me, because my earthly father is such a strong, caring, godly man. He has been a source of support, provision, humor and camaraderie for me for as long as I can remember.

Looking back now, I appreciate that he was always so involved in mine and my sisters’ lives. He taught us to play tennis when we were little, he helped coach my soccer team in elementary school, and he came to all of our piano and dance recitals through middle and high school. Now that I’m older, our favorite shared activity is hitting the trail on a new hike.

One memory of my dad that really sticks out to me is from my senior year of high school. I was so disappointed that I didn’t get a leading role in our high school musical, because I’d been hoping for it for years. My dad took me out to dinner that week and told me a story from his own senior year of high school, how he’d wanted to be drum major but didn’t make it. Yes, I was still disappointed, but the fact that he cared enough about my hopes and my feelings to  plan a special evening with me meant so much to me.

They say that girls always end up marrying men like their dads. If that is true, then I am going to be a very lucky woman someday, because my dad is one of the best men out there.

Richelle and DadRichelle & John ::

My Dad is strong, kind, and faithful. He’s the kind of guy who is not quite comfortable without some sort of work to do, and so he’s always finding something to make or fix or clean. Dad is an incredible athlete (we’re talking Olympic-caliber swimmer), but you’d never hear that from him. He never, ever brags, unless he’s talking about his kids, or his wife, or now his grandkids. He loves God and his family, and he loves nature, and golf, and helping people.

One of things I admire most about my Dad is the way he studies God’s word. I don’t think Dad would mind me telling you that he isn’t the most scholarly guy. No one would ever describe him as “bookish.” But for as long as I can remember, no matter how early in the morning I got up and walked downstairs, I would find Dad in his office, sipping a cup of coffee (the first of many on any given day), his thick trifocal glasses riding low on his nose, a worn Bible open in front of him. Dad is a straightforward, steady kind of guy, and his faith is that way too. That’s what this picture of him will always represent for me.

As a young parent now myself, I find myself worrying a lot about the “right things” to say to my kids. They’re still very young (the oldest is only two), but there’s so much I want to teach them about life and faith, I worry that I won’t have the words to express what I need to. But when I think about my Dad, I’m reminded that what you say to your kids isn’t nearly as important as what you show them. Dad wasn’t big on lectures or instructions. And yet, without saying much, he taught me huge lessons about faith and humility and service. Thanks Dad, I love you.

Diane and DadDiane & Roger ::

My Dad (and his Dad before him) operated a large farm and orchard in Harrisburg, Oregon. As part of the farm he ran a retail stand where customers could shop for fresh produce. My first job was there at the stand, and that experience had a huge impact on me. It was there at the stand where Dad taught me about serving customers, and really about serving people.

My Dad passed away around this time last year, and I was deeply touched by the many friends of mine who traveled to Harrisburg to attend his memorial service. One of those friends, Rick Dancer, wrote this about Dad afterwards, and I think it captures him beautifully:

Roger’s life was good and he lived it on a little farm outside of Harrisburg. Roger understood simplicity and his community showed the impact a simple life has on those around you. He didn’t need a pulpit to preach from or fine words to “wow” the crowds. Roger’s platform was his life, a farm, doing what he loved and quietly making an impact on people. Roger gave so much food to the food banks and so many free apples and peaches to people but never knew the impact such giving would have on his community. He wasn’t a preacher or a guy who wore his faith on a billboard or in the public eye. He was a man who lived it as best he could.

To me, this aspect of Dad’s life represents what Christ wants for all of us. Last September I shared that thought, along with portions of Rick’s essay as part of a devotional at a Salvation Army National Advisory Board meeting. I happened to be sitting near Former First Lady Laura Bush, and when I returned to my seat she said, “That was beautiful. You must have had a very special Dad.” I had to smile, because my Dad is special, and because I think he would be quite tickled to hear Laura Bush say so!

betsy-and-dadBetsy & Skip ::

My dad married my mom in 1962, 51 years ago, and he’s been a rock for my entire life.

If I called Dad right now, he’d be able to tell me: 1. What the weather will be like in each city my siblings live in, including my own; 2. How many days he’s been married to my mom, posted on the refrigerator and updated every day; and 3. How my two sisters’s lawns are doing since his weekly drive 60 miles away to mow them.  I’d also find wisdom on how to separate branches of a bush that’s overgrown, or what to do about the plastic cap on my dishwasher detergent that melted itself around the heating unit of my dishwasher.

Though his chosen career in civil service for the Wage and Hour division of the U.S. Labor Department required uprooting our family of eight to move up and down the east coast every four years, every new assignment was presented as a new adventure. We lived in Orlando as Walt Disney World was being built, moved to Mountaintop, Pennsylvania during a freak April snowstorm in the middle of a school year, and caught every Buffalo Sabres hockey game when a transferred player neighbor gave us their premium family seats.

Dad came home for dinner almost every day by 6, always upbeat and proud of what his team had accomplished that day. If he didn’t, we knew he was up to something exciting – interviewing migrant farm laborers in the field in Spanish, which he learned to accurately assess whether they were being paid fairly when supervisors couldn’t be counted on for the truth; or seizing records from a white collar criminal who’d been circumventing wage laws. He didn’t pursue a lucrative line of work, but he has always loved the mission of his calling, returning to service after counting down to a 30-year retirement to put his experience to work in an innovative state department with great success. A man who is happy in his work has been a great example to all my siblings.