My dad has been gone now for many years, and yet there are moments in my day when I see or hear or experience something and my first thought is that I need to share this with Daddy. There are moments when I look up and out across an expanse of open land, and I expect to see him come striding steadily toward me with his easy smile, a rifle held loosely in the crook of his arm. He was the most important human influence in my life and on who I am today. He is the standard I hold up for other fathers and, unfortunately, no one else matches up.
I don´t know what other fathers teach their little girls, but I doubt that there are very many who are taught the lessons mine taught me. My dad taught me to hunt and fish. He taught me how to trap muskrat, beaver, and fox. He taught me how to set a deadfall. He taught me to read sign in the forest. He taught me to live off the land. He taught me how to move quietly and how to be cautious. He taught me how to dig gingseng and goldenseal and may apple. He taught me how to be independent and take care of myself. He taught me how to think for myself. He taught me to love poetry and books. He taught me to enjoy art and all the beauty in this world around us. He taught me to be in awe of the glories of God as we studied the night skies. He taught me to have a deep respect for the land and for life and for the God of the universe we live in.
I never saw my dad get angry or heard him raise his voice. I never heard him belittle or ridicule another person. He was always calm, quiet, and humble. He was a man who loved his family and his country. He was a man with a strong sense of right and wrong, and of juctice. He saw things in black and white, never in shades of grey.
I can clearly remember the few times he disciplined me. He spanked me only once and I vividly remember the ocassion. He had told me not to throw rocks in the direction of the house and cars. I didn´t listen and one of my rocks broke out the tail lights on the car. He popped me once on my backside. It lifted me completely off the ground and it HURT. But the disappointment in his expression hurt far more. My rock throwing days were over. As I got older my wrong doing earned me talking-tos as Daddy called them. He would sit me down and then seat himself. He would calmly and quietly tell me how disappointed he was in my choice of actions, and how it hurt him to know that I would willfully disobey him and break his rules. The more he talked the smaller I felt until I must have been microscopic. I would rather have had a beating than one of Daddy´s talking-tos.
In life God has given fathers a tremendous responsibility. A father is God´s representative in the life of his child. A father is to show that child God´s love and character. So often in my Christian life my concepts of God are colored by the memories of my dad. For me God is the calm, quiet, loving person Who wants the very best for me, who shows me how to live rightly through lessons that are not always easy, and who loves me despite all my faults and mistakes. The memory of that look of disappointment and hurt on my dad´s face when I did wrong is the same look I know is on the face of my loving heavenly Father whenever I displease Him, and it is that memory that helps me to pause and take a close look at my intentions and thoughts before I act on them.
On this day when we remember our fathers I dedicate this to you, Daddy. I love you and I miss you so much. How I wish every child could grow up under the influence and compassion of such a father as you were to me. Thank you for always having time for me, for listening, for seeing my potential, and for caring enough about me to discipline me. I love you.