Ten Reasons I’m Glad Dad’s My Dad

Aug 09th 2009

This last Wednesday — August 5th — was my Dad’s 70th birthday.  I remember when I was a kid, the only relatives we had in town were Oscar, Anna and Clara — three old Norwegians who were my grandpa’s siblings.  In my mind they are stuck somewhere around 75 and that seemed so old.  But now that I’m 46, 70 seems positively young.  A couple of years ago, my mom did a retirement party for dad.  I went, prepared to say a few words about my dad, but then he didn’t want any words, so I didn’t speak.  But today (Sunday) mom is doing a surprise party for dad, and I can’t be there so I figured I would get my words out now.

So I’m going to share 10 reasons why I’m glad dad is my dad.  I have more reasons but the next appropriate title would be “70 Reasons I’m Glad Dad’s My Dad” and that would make the blog way to long.  So here they are:  Top 10

10)  Growing up dad was easy to satisfy, but hard to please. What I mean by that is that he wasn’t a hard taskmaster.  He wasn’t a coach who never celebrated your wins, but he had expectations that were reasonably difficult to meet.  In other words, he helped me stretch.  Whether it was in sports, academics, or relationship with God, he wouldn’t let me settle.  He pushed me.

9) He had an alcoholic father who wasn’t always there for his family, but dad broke the cycle. I can’t even begin to know how important this was to my life.  There are probably few greater gifts that a father can give his son than to break difficult generational cycles and start a new generation of blessing.  My dad got alcohol abuse out of the system and was always there for us.

8) He had fun. Whether it was wrestling in the living room, riding a beat up old snowmobile, cooking breakfast by a river in Yellowstone, going swimming at Brandt Lake, or tricking me into touching an electric fence when I was young, there are so many memories that bring a smile to my face — (Haircuts at Hef’s is not one of those memories.)

7) He walked with me through rites of passage. Hunting.  Building a fire.  Working on the International pick-up.   Giving me a job.  Talking to me about girls.  I don’t even know if we/he knew that’s what they were at the time, but I know they were steps in my journey to becoming a man.

6) He taught me how to work. My dad had an incredible work ethic.  It wasn’t just about working long hours, it was also about taking pride in whatever you did, even if it was scooping pig poop out of the pig pen.  It was about giving more than you got paid for…and it was about doing well.  I can’t think of a single job my dad had where he didn’t succeed.

5) He loved my mom more than he loved his mom. I loved my grandma, but she had a habit of thinking that her kids spouses were not quite good enough for her kids.  On a number of times my dad’s example in dealing with this, showed me more about marriage than most books I’ve read.  When he said “I do,” he meant it and lived it.

4) He was a generous man. When I was young, the thought never crossed my mind — we are poor.  And we weren’t but we didn’t have a lot of stuff.  We didn’t have a big house or the nicest cars, didn’t go out to eat a lot — (I tell my kids it was once a month, either McDonald’s or Dairy Queen) or go on fancy vacations.  But I’ll never forget as a kid learning that my parents were the most generous givers in our church.  Our church gave everyone a secret number and then publicly posted what each number gave and one year I discovered our number.  My parents shaped my heart for generosity and as a result God has blessed my family richly.

3) He was involved in my life. I guess this one is similar to 8 and 9, but it bears repeating.  He didn’t miss many games of my sports career, even when they involved travel while I played at Bethel.  His voice was the one voice I could always hear at a game.  In fact there was a time or two when maybe his voice was all the refs could hear at my games.  :)  But it wasn’t just sports, it was hunting, it was work, it was school, it was snow days, it was vacations, and it was my life with God.  From birth till now, his fingerprints are all over my life.

2) He was a man of wisdom and integrity. My dad was not a man of many words, but when he spoke his words had value, because they were backed up by His time in the Bible and His life.  If he ever told a lie, he did it so well that no one — except maybe mom — ever found out!  A promise-keeper before the word was fashionable and a great love for the Word of God.  Perhaps the best thing I could say as an illustration is that If he lived near me, he would be the first person I would ask to be on my church leadership team.

1) If you were to say, “I see your father in you,” it would be a great compliment. Far too often I find myself seeing or hearing my dad in me.  It might be the way I stand, or walk — (especially when my body is sore, I’ve got that same hobble) and of course some of the things I hear myself say to my kids — and the thought goes through my mind, that wasn’t me, that was my dad!  Some of those things — I told myself when I was a kid that I would never say that to my kids!  :)   But in a far greater way, he helped to shape my heart for God, family and the church.  I don’t know if I can put the other 9 reasons in order of importance, but there is no doubt that I put this one number one.  It’s all about values and priorities.  When it comes to values my dad’s life always made it clear that God came first, mom came second — followed by us kids as 2a’s — and then came the church.  Even when dad worked long hours, I wouldn’t question the importance of those three in his life.   Besides my mom — there is no other single person who is more responsible for me being a Jesus-follower, a family-man, and a pastor.

I realize that my top 10 list primarily uses past-tense verbs.  My dad is very much alive, but as I was writing this, I was thinking backward with gratitude, not forward with hope.  But when I think forward —

Dad, it is my hope that when I turn 70, my kids will feel the same way about me, that I feel about you.  It is my hope that you have many more years to pass on to your grandkids, what you passed on to your kids. It is my hope that you know that God has worked through you in great ways through the years and still has a plan to do so in the years to come.  It is my hope that God opens the windows of heaven to pour his blessings on you because of your generosity through the years.  It is my hope that you have many more hunts left in your life and even a few fishing excursions.  It is my hope that you still find that occasional thrill of finding something new in God’s Word.   It is my hope that your time with mom will continue to be a great model for Lynn and I. 

And it’s my hope that you know that I am glad that God saw fit to make you my dad.

Love, Danny.

(And to the 5 or 6 of you who read my blog — don’t get any ideas — no one else calls me Danny.)