Psalm 103:13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him”
If my dad had lived beyond his 61st birthday, he’d be 99 today. As I come near my 77th, I can’t help but wonder what he would’ve thought about the state of our nation today. Dad was very opinionated – kind of an Archie Bunker type, without all the racism. He loved to start arguments, especially with the boys my sister and I dated in high school. He did so to stir a conversation with the poor unsuspecting lad who most likely thought they were getting the second degree.
Though he wasn’t an educated man, he had a mind like a steel trap. He read volumes and knew a lot about everything. His schooling was completed when he graduated from high school, but his education came from having to become a father figure at age 7 and a bread winner as well. His own dad left the family of four children and a young wife when my dad was just a child. Eventually the family moved to Wisconsin and was raised in part by their grandparents.
In thirty eight years so much has changed. There was no internet, no wi-fi or email. Women were beginning to flood the work place, but wouldn’t earn the same as men. The race riots of the 60s had begun to heal. Cars have since become more efficient. Children respected their parents and teachers, because their parents didn’t always go to bat for them. Lessons were learned the hard way – through experience. The 1980s had given way to a sexual revolution with an anything goes mentality. There was still patriotism and love of the flag and all it stood for.
In his lifetime, he knew about two world wars, the Korean conflict, The Cuban Missile Crisis, Viet Nam and the beginnings of Middle Eastern conflicts. He never served in the military. He saw abortion legitimized through Roe vs. Wade. During his life he knew of 13 presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Ronald Reagan. He witnessed the assassination of John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King. He was well read on all of it and had strong opinions about the same.
I have grown to idolize this man. Unfortunately I’ve waited far too long to do so. He was a strict disciplinarian. His moods were often unpredictable because he liked to drink – a lot. He expected a lot of my sister and me, gave out little or no praise. I realize his methods, though leaving a lot to be desired, were that of a normal parent trying to do the best he could. At the time, I didn’t think that way. He never laid a hand on us, but we knew he could if he had to. He could do more damage with his words. Maybe as we begin our own families and go through the tough task of parenting, we can more readily understand what our parents had to endure.
For a long time, I was afraid of God, because I was told He was like a father to us. My dad scared the heck out of me at times, but down deep, I knew he loved me. It took me a long time to look at God as compassionate and loving, but when I did, I could understand that my dad’s actions were motivated by love.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!