My dad gave advice. I would say good advice, though sometimes the advice did not come in the form of words. Sometimes my dad’s advice came in the way he lived his life and the way he interacted with others. He is, like me, a bit on the geeky/nerdy side of the spectrum. We enjoy learning, science fiction, history, and exploring the universe around us. We know facts about strange things that other people find odd, but we find endlessly fascinating. But, I know my dad can lift his end of a dresser and can load and unload a truck with the best of them. He can create a spectacular yard and maintain it with determination and willpower. But through everything I learned watching my dad, I learned that I could be myself.
I tried nearly everything, much like my dad. I tried sports – football and wrestling – before realizing that those activities were not for me. I enjoyed watching them, but not so much being in the middle of the crush of bodies. I took a leaf from my dad’s book and joined the band. He had played clarinet, and I stayed in the woodwind family, but I sprang for the saxophone. I enjoyed the slightly brassy, fairly brash sound of the saxophone, although I have come to appreciate the subtler mellow call of the clarinet. I followed in my dad’s footsteps when it came to marching band as well, doing a stint as a drum major. We would often jokingly comment on the fact that female drum majors tended to get better scores at competitions, which didn’t quite seem fair, since we didn’t look as good in tight pants or skirts. Regardless, finding my place in the band was finding a second home during middle and high school, and I am glad to share that history with my dad.
My dad also has a desire to make sure that my brother and I have a sustainable life. He started training me to save when I was very young and only receiving a few dollars a week allowance. Some would always go to offering, as thanks to God, and some would always go into savings. By the time I graduated high school, I had a fairly sizable savings cache. Later, dad advised me to begin saving for retirement. It sure does seem like a long way until that day (or maybe never) but I know my dad has my best interest in mind. He keeps tabs on stocks and the economy, that being his primary degree. I can remember most days walking into my dad’s office to see one of the economics channels on in the background while he worked on his computer.
My dad has modeled a life that is kind and giving, and I see that especially when he is around his two year olds. He helps to teach a small group of young ones every Sunday morning, and the way those little ones’ eyes light up when they see him shows me that his kindness continues to this day. I have the kind of dad who would drop everything to help us out or pick us up at midnight after a conference or band trip. He showed me what a life of service to others looks like, and I am doing my best to follow in his footsteps. And I follow in my dad’s footsteps because I know the he is following in Jesus’ footsteps, and that makes all the difference.