From the Pulpit: Lessons from my father

Today is Father’s Day. It’s a day I like to give thanks for my kids – Ryan and Kelle – who aren’t kids anymore. Both are in their thirties. I also remember my dad, who departed this life in 1972 at the age of 60. I was 24 and still in seminary.

It seems there are hundreds of ways he still influences me. And while we didn’t always see eye-to-eye when I was a teenager, I have to admit that when it came to making wise decisions, he was almost always right.

Take for example when I was a college student. I was having the time of my life: taking classes, forming new friendships, getting my first taste of “freedom,” playing music as a dee-jay on the campus radio station. It was great. My grades were good.

Soon I realized I needed to have a car. It just wasn’t “cool” to have to get a ride from someone else all the time. Dad helped me buy that first car – a 1967 Chevy Malibu – mint green with a black vinyl top. Dad warned me about the dangers of having a car on campus. But I knew better. “Don’t sweat it, dad.” I assured him. But when the next semester’s grades arrived, they were almost too embarrassing to reveal.

Now it was serious lecture time. “Son, if those grades don’t come back up next period, you go back to school and the car stays home!” He meant it. There was no mistake.

You would be amazed how my grades came up. There was enough incentive that it was “honors or bust!”

Dad didn’t have to say “I told you so,” or anything like that. The lesson learned was very clear. That’s the way it was with him. He was strict. He always let me know what he expected. I would simply do it – or be prepared to face the consequences.

The world today is more complex. I don’t know if dad would have coped very well with how different things are now. But I’ll always be grateful for his simple, direct approach to life: love God, work hard, take care of your family, stay out of trouble and always do your best. Do the right thing!

That’s the message I’d like to pass along to all the dads today who might be reading this column. Be a good dad!

Happy Father’s Day!

(“From the Pulpit” is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)