This week, Kay, my wife and a fourth grade teacher, gave her students a writing assignment. It was entitled, ‘My Favorite Memory with My Dad.’
Kay’s class is one of those rare classes where all the kids have their dads living with them at home. She said the one statement that was in so many of the memories was a statement by dad. ‘Good Job!’
Two words…so easy to say….yet so powerful that they form the goblet within which ‘my favorite memory’ is stored on the top of my dresser.
Yesterday I drove to see my dad in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. It was his 92nd birthday. You would not know he has Alzheimer’s if in casual conversation, until the same question is asked with the same interest and inflection for the second or third time. He wanted to know about my kids and grandkids, so I gave him a 15 minute summary of the family and I recorded it on his phone so that he could revisit it later. Then we spent over an hour looking at the pictures and videos on my phone. I will never forget the joy on his face as he watched Kay playing Winter Wonderland on the piano with our two year old, Mar Mar, banging out enthusiastic emphasis on the high notes. The achievements of father and son fade from view at 92. They just are not what is important that close to eternity. What remains are simple experiences that are bathed in and built upon relationship.
I was sitting behind a grandfather and his grandson in Church on Sunday. Yes I allowed my mind to wonder during worship. Here is the picture I saw and therefore took. It says it all. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
I was talking to a group of boys about their fathers. Each boy took their turn to share. One boy told us he had a psycho-dad. Then he lifted his shirt to show an iron shaped burn and follow up with several cigarette burns on his arms and legs. The next boy said the following: No disrespect to you, but I would rather have a psycho-dad than one who never stopped in to even see how I look. The pain of fatherlessness runs deep. Yet, the Father of the fatherless longs to heal and fill that void.