My father has always been a formative influence on me. I’m fortunate and thankful for it. I want to share some stuff that I learned from my father and have carried with me as an adult. Some of this was taught, while other things were “caught.” It’s difficult to summarize all the important things that I learned from dad, so consider this a condensed version of 20some years in his home. I’m 31 today and I hope that the things my dad gave me, will be something I pass on to my children. (not listed in any order of importance)
1. “I never had an original thought”
I can remember my dad saying this on a number of occasions, and it stuck with me as way to honor the fact that everything we’ve received, we’ve received as a gift or perhaps, an inheritance from those who have gone before us. There is a certain amount of humility that ought to flow from this awareness that we whatever we have, we were given. Nobody is born an expert on anything. Which brings me to #2…
2. “Everybody puts their pants on one leg at a time.”
The great common denominator in a world of status, fame and icons… We are all human beings. We are all people with fears, insecurities, hopes, dreams, and everybody’s poop stinks. Some folks are really good at masking their humanity, the good, the bad, and the ugly, but remember that “everyone puts their pants on, one leg at a time!”
3. Everyone walks around with a sign on them that reads, ‘make me feel significant’.
You can’t see the sign. It’s invisible, but it’s there. In the heart of every person is a drive for significance… that they are loved and they matter. Never forget that everyone shares this, no one is exempt from this, and that we are called to recognize this reality, and treat people in a way that shows them that God ascribes unsurpassable worth to them.
4. You teach people how to treat you.
We bump into a lot of different personalities throughout our days, and to some degree, they will initially treat you in way that flows from their personality and ‘natural’ disposition toward everyone, but over time, and through relationship, YOU teach people how to interact with you. You may not think that you do… you may not be aware of it, but you do. This could be a whole blog post, but we’ll leave it at that.
5. The Church is central.
My parents lived out the reality that ‘the Church is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the Church.’ As long as I can remember, we have served in a local church. My dad has always given of his life to the Church. From the days of keep up a 17 acre property (on what I refer to as the “hippy farm” growing up), to the days of showing up at 7AM to set up the entire room of a community center, to all the various ways that dad gave time, money and energy to the mission of the church, dad modeled that the reality that the body of Christ is central. It’s central to the mission of God in the world, and therefore, it’s central to our family.
There’s so much more than that! but for the sake of brevity…