3 Life Lessons From My Father

Father’s Day 2016. I snapped the below picture as my Dad, his Dad (Papa Carroll), uncle Jim, and I were about to tee off for a Father’s Day round of golf. None of us knew it but that was Papa Carroll’s final trip to the golf course.

Pilot Knob Park – Father’s Day 2016

The Event

Papa Carroll passed away later that year. Subsequently, my parents, all 13 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren made the trip to Spartanburg, SC to place his body in its final home. My father delivered the message at his funeral service. As he shared his memories of days gone by, he pointed out the life lessons that were passed to him. Respect of things sacred, discipline, & hard work.

These were the gifts given to my dad that informed his way of raising us.

The Realization

I have a three-year old son. Liam. It’s now my turn to provide a life foundation to shape his future & character. Who I am and the things I do, will provide a framework he builds his life upon.

The Lessons

Faith Matters: Twice on Sunday and once on Wednesday night. Church attendance was a major deal in our household. We bucked, complained, and fought, but we were always there.

Faith was a subject constantly at the forefront. I remember every night, he would herd all of us into the living room for “story time.” These evening events of him enthusiastically acting out Bible stories while we acted too cool for school are the reason today, I have a fairly comprehensive knowledge of the Old Testament.

No matter what career success or promotion I’ve experienced, he always asked if I’m living in God’s will. While I’m still uncertain of the depth of that question, it keeps an active check on my motives.

Work Matters: I will never forget the first Christmas break I returned home from college. After 4 days of chillin’ with my buddies, he came home from work and said to me, “You know you can’t just be here and not do anything for 3 weeks. You need to find a way to pull your weight. You need to work.” I tried to rebut that no one hires anyone for 3 weeks. He suggested that I try. The next day I was at the mall turning in an application at every store looking for work.

After that experience, I never again returned home for a break. Until I completed school, I stayed in Georgia to work full-time during every break and summer.

Work ethic. It means something.

Selflessness Matters: Father of 13. Husband. Pastor. Machinist. Repairman. These are all the hats he wore growing up. For most of his adult life, he awoke around 4am to read, pray, and get ready for his day.

Left the house by 6:30.

Worked all day, to return home to chores and the multitude of items needing to be done. During those times, I never recall any time complaints of not having enough “me time.

With one exception, he always shared whatever he had. Christmas of 2010. I was working in Philadelphia that December and brought him a basket of various cheeses, meats, and other treats from the Italian Market. I’ve never seen him retreat to the basement so quickly to put it under lock and key to protect from prying hands! That image still makes me laugh.

What Every Parent Can Do

The result of the above lessons leave me with an understanding that; what you leave IN your children is far more valuable than what you leave for them.

Happy Father’s Day.

Question – What has your Dad taught you?