Fathers and father figures play a key role in forming and developing a family. In the best case scenario, they provide, protect, prepare the next generation for life, and bring stability to a healthy family environment. When God decided to organize the humanity he created, he chose the family as the basic building block for all societies since the beginning of time.
Unfortunately, not everyone has a positive role model, such as a father or fatherly figure.
Although holidays like this can be difficult for many, I like to reflect on the men in my life who made me who I am today. I've had key men pass along wisdom that continues to mold and shape me - that same wisdom I passed down to my sons.
My father, who is now with the Lord, used to boil wisdom down into memorable sayings like: “Think positive.” He was a salesman for part of his career. He said, “You are not looking for the 'no,' you are looking for the yes, so think positive."
He had a sense of humor too. He used to say, “It’s hard to be humble when you are as great as I am.” He worked hard to instill a sense of self-esteem in his three sons, but not too much. Another saying was “A man is only as good as the word he keeps.” He encouraged us to do what we said we would do and never back out or become a “no show.” He taught me to treat everyone with respect, regardless of their situation. He also taught me that every person deserved basic human dignity.
One of the most enduring bits of wisdom my dad conveyed to me was to remember my roots. He told me stories of how he grew up picking cotton in West Texas, eating beans and tortillas three times a day, and living in the back of a pickup truck. He worked hard and sacrificed together with my mother so his sons might have better opportunities. I will never forget his serious look into my eyes when he said, “When you get your education, titles, and positions in life, don’t ever forget where you came from and remember our humble beginnings. When you see other people struggling in life, remember, that was us.”
When I struggled with a vocational decision about ministry, I asked my dad if he would be disappointed if I dropped out of seminary and remained in business? I could make a lot of money and then give it to the church or to support pastors who need help. I will never forget his words to me that day.
He said, “Son, all I expect you to do in life is to love the Lord and your family and serve people. After that, anything you do for work is fine with me.”
Those words empowered me with a sense of freedom. I stuck with the plan and finished seminary. To this day I do my best to love the Lord, love my family, and serve others. The words of fathers and father figures can bless the next generation. What kind of wisdom did a fatherly figure leave with you?
Written by Dr. Albert Reyes, president and CEO of Buckner International.