Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:9-11
The older I get, the more I respect my dad. The years provide a perspective I didn’t have when I was younger.
Dad grew up during the depression in the inner city of Fort Wayne, Indiana. He was the third of four sons in his family. Money was tight. While he was still in school, he contributed to the support of his family.
He met my mother in Sunday school when they were elementary students. It was his mother, not his father, who provided spiritual direction for him. His father had nothing spiritually to offer. My parents married young against the counsel of mom’s parents. They were just 19 and 18. But they worked hard at their marriage.
When I was young, we all were active in church. But dad didn’t verbalize his faith much. I probably talked enough for all of us. I read the Bible voraciously and had a prodigious faith when I was young. I think maybe dad didn’t know what to do with me.
He certainly tried to build into his children’s lives in ways his own dad, my grandfather, hadn’t been able to do. His dad died about 60 years ago. I never knew my grandfather.
Dad tried to teach me to play ball, but I was a terrible athlete. They tell me I used to stand in right field with my back to the plate. Dad tried to teach me how to work on the family car. There was only one car back then, of course. He had once taken a car apart and put it back together. But I wasn’t the least bit interested in learning mechanics. Dad is an accomplished woodworker. He built beautiful wooden toys and fine furniture such as shelves and tables and chairs. He even made each of us sturdy wagons to haul our kids around at the fair, and later our grand-kids. More than once someone has offered to buy our wagon. It’s not for sale.
Dad was a stern disciplinarian. When we were kids, we didn’t think he was always fair. He had a bit of temper when we were younger. He has matured. So have we. In hindsight, I can see how hard he tried. And I respect him for that.