I remember my dad’s encouraging words throughout my life, “You can do this. Keep trying.” I remember how he encouraged me for hours while I practiced my free throws –– hoping to make the basketball team.
I remember Thursday night church visitation. A group always gathered at church for prayer and then visited those they felt God had put on their heart. I learned from Dad the importance of crying out to my Heavenly Father on behalf of others.
My dad was a fixer. He could fix anything that had a motor. He would tinker for hours on one of his old tractors.
I learned how to drive one of those tractors under his tutelage. It was great fun until the day that I hit the house coming around the corner a little too fast. Obviously, he was better at fixing the tractor than teaching me how to drive it. My dad instilled within me the need to be a fixer –– whatever the problem.
My dad was a builder. He and my uncle built the house my family lived in for more than 60 years. He taught me the importance of building up people. He was an encourager to all who knew him.
I remember at his funeral, people kept telling me about how Mom and Dad had been a friend to them and helped them.
My dad was a teacher. I remember sitting at the dining room table the night before
I began my first job. I would be operating a cash register and I worried that if I did not count the money back to the customer correctly that by the end of the day my boss would not be happy with me. Dad sat with me as I went over every combination of change I might give to a customer. My dad taught me to teach by example –– no matter what the lesson.
My dad was a musician. He had a song in his heart and shared it through music. He was so gifted. He played the guitar, the bass and the piano. He also sang –– he had a beautiful voice. I remember whenever we traveled in the car, we would sing.
My mother also has a beautiful voice. As a young child I sang loud and terribly off key. As I listened and learned from my Dad and Mom, my voice changed. I was taught a new song. I was given a new voice. One of joy and hope. Today, I still sing loud, but hopefully on key.
When learning to swim, Dad was there holding me up. I remember every time he let go, I would feel like I was sinking. But he was there. My Dad was my lifeguard and, often times, my lifeline throughout our life together.
As summer approaches, many of our children will make their way to the pool. I can almost hear their giggles as they splash around in the water. I see our lifeguard there to keep watch over them. For them, the pool water is cool, refreshing and lots of fun. As adults, we know there are also dangers.
Too many of the children in our care have experienced the dangerous side of life.
No one watched over them or protected them. There were no lifeguards against the physical and sexual abuse, neglect, or the perils of the opioid epidemic. There were no lifeguards to keep them off the street. There were no lifeguards to keep them from harm or throw them a lifeline.
Many of our children have not known their fathers –– fathers who would protect them or care for them. Their earthly fathers have not been spiritual guides, fixers, builders, teachers, singers of hope, or lifelines.
Father’s Day is June 16. In honor or in memory of your dad, take the opportunity this Father’s Day to remember him in a way that provides a lifeline to a child in need. All honor and memorial gifts given between April 1 and July 1 will be listed in our August issue of Charity & Children. We are printing the names of those honored and of those who gave. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to honor your father this Father’s Day.
For those who have been builders, teachers, fixers, singers of hope, and lifeguards –– thank you! For those who have loved, prayed, nurtured, mentored, and supported –– thank you! When children are struggling to stay afloat, when they feel as if they are swimming against the current of despair and hopelessness, you are there. Thank you, for helping us throw out the lifeline of Christ’s love to children and families. Thank you for helping us to be fathers to the fatherless while pointing them to our Heavenly Father!
To make a gift in honor or in memory of your father, visit www.bchfamily.org/momanddad. For more information on how you can make a difference in the life of a child, call me at 336-689-4442.
Worthwhile Investments is written by Brenda Gray, BCH Executive Vice President of Development & Communications