Last Monday, September 14, at the age of 90, my dad went home to heaven where he is experiencing the celebration of a life well lived. Please allow me to share some lessons I learned from him that go beyond just him being my father. Lessons that carry weight and wisdom for living a life that results in a lasting legacy. Lessons not from a man who was perfect, but from a man seeking to honor God in every relationship, be it personal or professional.
- Relentlessly love, honor and respect your spouse. My brothers and I certainly earned our share of discipline growing up, but the quickest way to a spanking was to disrespect our mother. After his relationship with God, his relationship with my mom was priority number one. He knew that what our family needed most was for he and mom to thrive. He took to heart the admonition of Eph. 5:25. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. He was a great example of what a devoted spouse should look like.
- Invest in things that will live on after you do. My dad understood the reality that our life on earth is merely a blip on the radar of eternity. Therefore, he invested time and money in things eternal. Many a Christian minister and missionary was able to serve in part, because of the financial support he and my mother gave. But it wasn’t just money. It was meals, prayers and other assistance offered to help others know the truth of Jesus’ love. I know he is having some special reunions with people he is finally getting to meet, that are in heaven because of the work he helped fuel.
- Memories are more important than money. When I got the news of his passing, I was at a ranch that he and mom first took our family to in 1967. It seemed appropriate since family vacations were a very big deal to him. What a treasure chest of memories we all have because he was willing to put his family ahead of his business. My guess is that he could have had a bit more cash in retirement if we wouldn’t have traveled so much together. I am also certain that he did not regret one single dime spent on all those trips. Want to have an impact on your family? Then let go of some money and spend it making memories with them.
- Believe in the capability of others. When I took over our family business in 1991 it was a big change for him. Yet he gave me the great gift of letting go. He was confident in his identity outside what he did for a living. That allowed him to turn me lose in ways that took advantage of my skills without constantly looking over my shoulder. He wasn’t a big strategist but was smart enough to realize that not letting go was a recipe for frustration and perhaps even failure. What a great leadership lesson for all of us. Are you helping those you lead thrive?
I am striving to allow these lessons to shape my life. I hope they can help shape your life as well. Thanks Dad.
Live this week on purpose,