You probably remember from my recent post, “Shout Out to Moms!” that I love audience participation and would love to hear from YOU. This time, I would love to hear about fathers – step-fathers, adoptive fathers, God the Father, your father, your children’s father, someone else’s father, any and ALL! Make it short and sweet or long and languishing, but let us know what makes dads so great!
Here were the rules we followed before, and everyone did great!:
A few rules for shouting-out:
- No jealousy allowed. If you see someone singing the praise of someone you know, quietly tell God thank you for those two lifting each other, and get your mind off yourself! God knows 🙂 .
- Comments on this blog stay with this letter and increase page ranking (Comments count like votes for online searches on the topic.)– which is nice for future onlookers, so they can see some positive things you say about a dad. Comments about this blog put onto Facebook, Twitter, etc disappear within days and are not connected here for others to read. (I learned this when I did the letter on Family Traditions; all of the comments on FB were fantastic, but were gone into the depths of archives before Christmas.)
- No negative. This is a general rule for shout-outs. You can’t start with “He drives me crazy, but…” No buts about it, shout-outs are positive! Write the negative in sand, and write the positive in stone – on a comment.
- I don’t mind long shout-outs, so say it like you mean it!! You can copy this link and send it to the dad on Fathers’ Day as a special blessing.
My prayers are with those who wish to be dads and are not, or those who spend this weekend mourning the loss of their father. May you rest knowing that your Heavenly Father is the best Protector and Listener you could ask for. He is the One who knows your tomorrows. May you worship Him this Father’s Day.
My first shout-out goes to my father-in-law, Jim Brady, of Flint, MI. No top engineering school could produce an engineer as fine as he – the self-taught – solutions king. “Love of grandchildren” defines him, as he wakes my kids to enjoy “Papa’s midnight snack” with him during visits. I remember 20 years ago when I recognized that he loves to simply watch others have fun; he would drive the boat in circles around Upper Silver Lake, teaching me how to slalom waterski, even though he himself had never done it.
When we lived in Michigan, I can remember many times being home with toddlers alone while Chris traveled, and I would think, “What if my car broke down right now?” or other negative “What if’s” and the thoughts always seemed to loop around to “Well, Chris’s dad would come and solve the problem.”
Heart disease runs deeply in his family, taking both of his parents before I could meet them, as well as riddling his siblings with multiple bi-pass surgeries. He did not escape that fate, yet puts the timing of his life in God’s hands. Despite grim reports from doctors after his first quadruple bi-pass at age 49, and several more major surgeries since, he continues to fight on. His self-discipline in walking daily has created capillary growth that continues to get kudos from the doctors even now that he has hit 70 (and still looks 40).
It is hard to condense my favorite part of my father-in-law, but I believe the one thing that stands high above the norm, is “I pity the fool who is not in his court.” OK, I just can’t express in words, but he will fight to the ends for any part of his family. When his wife battled cancer (and won), he stood by her side, doing EVERYTHING he could, while keeping her dignity. When his son has had various battles, I have seen Chris’s dad lose more sleep than we did. When a grandchild is hurting, or questionably treated, the offender will have to deal with Jim Brady – and it will be memorable. A shout-out to Jim Brady, Chris’s dad!!
My next shout-out goes to my own father, Ron Estes of Ft. Collins, CO. This amazing man is truly an example of who I want to be and Whose child I am. He is an incredible supporter and encourager. I don’t know how he keeps silent, but I wish I had inherited his listening ears!
“Good luck, saxy lady!” he would sign my saxophone reed each time I went to a competition in high school. I can remember times of practicing my saxophone for hours on end in my bedroom, and he would come knocking. As I answered the door, he entered to simply sit on my bed. Why? Because he wanted to listen. To me. My practice had never been so fervent as when I thought someone cared to listen. Who could ask for more than a father who wants to just sit and listen to his children?
“Serving others” is his real name. I have never had to wonder what “selfless living” is, because my dad lives it daily. After any meal, you will find him hand washing dishes. He just knows it is going to need to be done, and doesn’t wait for someone to ask him to do it. He will NEVER leave a grocery cart in the middle of the parking lot, because he knows it is going to need to go back to the building. When I had small toddlers, I can remember what a blessing it was for him to visit. He would get up hours earlier than everyone else- not so he could lounge around in PJ’s (like me!) but so he could get completely ready before anyone else needed help. On church mornings, he would be standing in the kitchen with a full suit on, ready to greet pajama’d grandkids to see if he could fix them breakfast.
A particular memory that changed me, was a “bad” day when I was a teen. I had
wanted to give my brothers a special treat of peanut butter cookies. (It didn’t hurt that they were my favorite, too.) I prepared the dough and put the cookies in the oven, while I went to kill the 8-minutes of cooking time, playing the piano. The piano must have been louder than the kitchen timer, because the cookies ended up burning. I had put too many in the oven, too, so most of the batch was instantly ruined. Of course, my brothers came into the kitchen at that moment, as the stench of the burn wafted throughout the house. They laughed, asking if I was using the smoke detector as my timer again. One grabbed a cookie and headed outside, saying he was going to play hockey with it – “anyone want to join me?” he yelled back. It was then that my father returned from work. I sat, dejected, ready to hear the words of shock from him too, as I lamented my error. My father (silently of course) walked over to the cookie trays which were still cooling on the counter, grabbed a cookie and stated, “Great! Someone made cookies just the way I like them!” and he proceeded to eat burnt cookies one after another as my face softened to a grin. I don’t know what kind of day my dad had had at work that day, but I know what kind of day he helped me to have. He claims he doesn’t remember this story. It’s just who he is. And it’s who I want to be: someone willing to happily eat burnt cookies, taking seen and unseen burdens off of someone else. That’s my DAD!!
Of course, this major shout-out goes to my own husband, Chris Brady, the wonderful father of our four children, now 15, 12, 8 and 7. A provider extraordinaire, he understands living for a purpose and chooses to live by it daily. His book, Rascal, probably describes him best as “making a difference in the lives of others by being an original character.” Being a rebel with a cause encourages his children to keep their original characters, and stand strong for the Lord, living His intended purpose.
“Brady’s play hurt!” he egged our oldest to keep wrestling with him despite a little bump earlier. The toughness that Chris has developed in these boys shines on the soccer field, and I pray in their lives. We enjoy laughing about the time that 4-yr-old Casey jumped on Chris’s abdomen when Chris was taking a rare nap on the couch. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” Chris yelled as he awoke in pain. Casey quickly retorted, “Come on! Bradys play hurt, Dad!”
One of our boys inherited Chris’s strong choleric personality. Going head-to-head with me is not a rarity for this young man, but it has made it all the more impressive to watch Chris handle him. “Bud, you are going to be a force. It is your choice whether you will be a force for good or for bad. But you WILL be a force, so choose wisely.”
Navigating Italy with four children for a month could seem to rob a man of his dream to take a sabbatical, (described delectably in his new book, A Month of Italy: Rediscovering the Art of Vacation, which comes out in July), but Chris holds strong that the family IS the dream. His inner historian comes out as he teaches all of us (me included!) the value of history, its place in our lives, and how we are writing history as we live. I think it would be easy for a father to get complacent, sit back and yell at the kids to hope they do something with their lives. But Chris is far from complacent. He won’t settle for less than excellence, and his guiding love shows that in each of our children.
Nothing melts a heart more than watching a father with his daughter. Christine (his namesake) has spent hours coloring next to Chris, or writing books with him. (They each take a chapter and pass it back and forth.)When she was two, she would climb up into his lap for her daily “freckle counting” time. I must admit there have been many times in our marriage when Chris has shocked me by stopping and listening to a small child on his or her level, while I busily hadn’t even noticed the din.
Being as talented as my husband must be a difficult gift – how does he prioritize? I have no doubt in my heart that he has it right. He writes books as if they were pamphlets; he starts companies like they are lemonade stands. Photography, art, jeeps, motorcycles, the list goes on. Yet as their #1 fan, he juggles 2 boys’ soccer game schedules, attends boy scouts with the 7-yr-old and even won special favor with his daughter by allowing the puppy purchase this year. All the while, his love for the Lord precedes his waking; he gets that right so he will be worthy of being followed. My children (and I) are blessed indeed!
Happy Fathers Day, Babe!
Please attach a comment letting me know about a father about whom you SHOUT!