Thanks Dad…for all of it…

My Dad is 53…I’m 33. It’s unique that a father and son get to enjoy a long season where neither of them are in diapers (metaphorically) but me and my Dad have enjoyed just that and it’s been really…really good.

In human terms, we’ve both had better days from the standpoint of material wealth and evidence of success by conventional standards. In a sense, we are both starting from scratch on those fronts. I suppose it’s this “starting over” that grabbed me when I looked at this photo today. There he is at age 23, standing next to his co-pilot (uncle Greg), on the eve of everything that was about to happen in and through his life. The picture moves me so much because I’ve had the unique opportunity to be aware of what happened next. When he posed for that picture, he had no idea what his life was going to amount to. Surely he had dreams and convictions, but no actual knowledge of what the future would hold.

Dad on the right (age 23) and Uncle Greg in the middle (age 20). Don't know the other guy, he was a printing plate salesman.

Little did he know that he would be a person of such impact.

Little did he know that his dedication to family and integrity would be such a huge part of the legacy he would build.

Little did he know that God was going to use him to point others toward the Gospel.

Little did he know that he would be charged with setting a good example for hundreds of employees over a span of more than 25 years.

Little did he know that his then young son, was going to watch every move he made and emulate his character both positively and negatively.

Little did he know that the bond between he and my mother would grow immeasurably as they grew older.

Little did he know that he was going to start and then lead one of the most remarkable companies the economy as ever seen and then loose it in the blink of an eye.

Little did he know that in his 53rd year of life, he would be so keenly aware of the fact that in his weakness, God is strong!

Little did he know that 33 years in the future his son (me), would consider it among the great blessings of his life to be able to claim him as his Father and Friend.

And now…

Little does he know…what the rest of the story will look like…

When I came across the photo today, it really resonated in me and caused me to well up with joy and thanksgiving for the life he’s had the courage to live in front me. His influence has effected the way I approach every relationship, every situation, every trial, every opportunity. Nobody is perfect or above reproach and I’m not saying he is any exception. I suppose what I’m saying is that he’s been man enough to win and loose right in front of me, and he’s taken time along the way to try and understand the reasons for different outcomes in his life. Most of all, he’s been willing to talk to me about all of it without holding back for the sake of my feelings or his. Lot’s of people are left to wonder about what really drives their fathers at the core and I’m simply saying I don’t have to wonder because he’s been talking to me about it since I was a small boy. This is among the great lessons that I already imitate in my relationship with Eli. He will never be left to wonder what drives the passion that’s in his Daddy, because we talk about it as part of our daily language at home.

At the core of my burden is a desire to pay forward things I’ve learned from my Dad. The reality is…many people live lives of zero impact, largely because they’ve had zero leadership in their own lives. I’m not one of these people so I have no excuses, and I have have my dad to thank for that.

Dad has never heard of John Maxwell (famous leadership author) but he’s written far more than “21 irrefutable laws of leadership”on my heart and the hearts of many others.

Dad doesn’t read blogs (probably cuz the word blog is weird) but in any case, he’s been on my heart lately so I thought it best to get some of my thoughts down on paper and out to you in order to cement them.

Dad teaching Eli some important stuff about operating a fork lift...

5 thoughts on “Thanks Dad…for all of it…

  1. Wow! This is a great story and even brings back memories of the past working for your dad and the good times we had when we were young. Reading this blog really turned on a light bulb for me and encourages me to think about the areas I could do better as a dad myself and what areas I have neglected. Thanks for the great blog!

  2. Amazing picture and story John. Your Mom and Dad have been friends of mine and Robin’s for a few years. Just 40 or so…. But they are Brother’s and Sister’s in Christ . Your Dad and Mom were there when I needed them the most and if I can do anything at all for Him or your family just ask…

    Mike and Robin Heaton

  3. You are definitely NOT one of those people who has had no leadership displayed. So, get your ass in gear…Your dad is one in a million. Even his presence commands respect. Truly one of the most unforgettable dudes in my life. Now Adam on the other hand, he’s pretty forgettable. In fact, who’s Adam?

  4. John: Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about your dad. This will make a good Father’s Day idea for all whose father is still with them. I am so glad to have been associated with Jeff and your mom. They continue to be dear friends.
    Pastor Hawkins

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