I’m a lot like my dad. I have an affable, steady and easy going personality most days. I’m pretty solid emotionally and it usually takes a lot to ruffle my feathers. I’m slow and plodding when doing tasks, and I find myself getting bogged down in the micro because I get overwhelmed by the macro.
I save every rubber band, every ribbon from every present, every paper clip, cork or piece of tin foil to reuse at some future date. You should see my junk drawer. Mercy! I use up the absolute last bit of toothpaste in the tube and I’ll squeeze that sucker to within an inch of it’s life to get one more day of brushing.
It’s my dad’s Scottish heritage to save and not waste and it’s soaked right into my bones. I don’t like to waste anything. Another way I’m like my dad? I’m an eternal optimist. I see the glass half full and I just know things will turn out OK.
My dad was always a quiet force in my life, the steady balance to my high strung and critical mom. Always faithful, always hardworking. His voice never screamed loudly in my head like my mom’s did yet he was always available to listen and help me during my dark times. And, he believed in me when there was really no good reason to. All of us remember my dad puttering around whistling this little tune under his his breath while he worked. Slow and plodding, faithful and kind, always available. I miss you Phil Brown.
One thing I know for sure about Fathers: they have a big impact on their kids. Whenever I do a radio interview for Growing Great Kids, they invariably ask me why our daughter chose to follow God and go into Christian music when young people are leaving the church and turning away from God in droves. My answer is this:
“Be the same person at home on Monday that you try to convince your friends you are at church on Sunday. Be real, live out the Gospel in the day to day trenches where there is no pretty music and the masks are off. Those pesky little attributes like integrity, honesty, generosity, and humility have to be real in your life and you have to model them in the day to day.
When your kids see you living it out, when you are actually modeling kingdom living even when it costs you, well, it leaves an impression. And they will become what you model. They will study you day by day, year by year and ask themselves if following God is really worth it.”
My husband Mike, Franny’s dad, has been a model of integrity for as long as I’ve known him, even in the years before we committed our lives to Christ. Our daughter grew up seeing him make the hard choices, even when it meant loss for us. But, he did it because it was the right thing to do. She saw him walk in humility and not exalt himself when he had every right to. He was honest when he messed up and he was honest when it cost him.
He has always been generous and never skimped but always gave her the best he could afford. The best lessons, the best guitar, the best vacations, the best whatever. Because he valued her dreams and believed in her future and he wanted to show her he knew she could do anything. And, that she deserved the best he could give.
He might not have been the best about studying the Bible or memorizing scripture but she saw him live it out, one day at a time, imperfect at best but living by this adage: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
His heart is for God and he is an example to me every day of how to work out your own salvation. I’m blessed to have raised a child with him. And she’s blessed to have a dad that lives honestly, flaws and all. Because you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can never, ever fool your children. They will see the real you. And they will ask themselves if the Christian life is really worth it.
Show them that it is.