Those of us who are fathers may understand how important our father really is or was. It is very difficult to have a family without a father. There are things expected of a father that no other person cannot take care of.
Father’s Day, as we know it in America, had its beginning in 1925 in Spokane, Washington, when Mrs. John Bruce sat in a Mother’s Day service and thought about how important her dad had been.
My dad was the most important man in my life. Kitty’s dad, Luke Harshbarger, was a successful businessman in Springfield, Ohio, a choir director, Sunday School teacher and Board Chairman of the Maiden Lane Church of God. My dad was a church treasurer, an usher and on the board of trustees of my home church.
I learned so much from those two great men and my Grandpa Perry. I never knew Grandpa Ellis – he died when my dad was nine years old. I wish I could have known him. My uncles were also very important to me.
George Herbert said, “One father is worth more than a hundred schoolmasters.” No argument from me. Following is a baker’s dozen I learned from my Dad.
Read the story in Luke, chapter two, of Joseph and Mary losing Jesus in Jerusalem at the Feast of the Passover when He was 12 years old. After three days, they found Him in the temple. They asked, “Son, why have You done this to us?” “And he said to them, ‘Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ ” (Luke 2:48-49).
The business of a father, if he is a good steward of his important position, may be about these things.
1. Education. When I was in the fourth grade, my Dad said very emphatically to me, “You are going to college. You are not working in the coal mines.” He did. That settled it.
2. Food. He taught me never to complain about the food I had and to eat all I put on my plate.
3. Obedience. I was to obey my parents and did.
4. Habits. They were expected to always be good. Never ever should I use tobacco, alcohol, drugs, gambling, fighting, cursing – all always forbidden.
5. Physically. I was to take care of my body with proper exercise, sleep, food, drink and strength.
6. Tools. Dad always had tools. I learned to use them.
7. Guns. He taught me how to use a gun safely, to respect its power.
8. Physical Labor. Dad worked long strenuous hours. He expected me to work.
9. Language. Never ever should I utter even one word of profanity or crude slang.
10. Sports. My dad always wanted me participating in organized and pick-up games. He would practice with me.
11. Behavior. I was expected to be a gentleman at all times. Never sass my mother or any teacher.
12. Dress. I was expected to “dress up” anytime I went to church or school. Sloppiness was not tolerated.
13. Spiritual Life. I was the first in my family to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord then Mom, Marie, Whitey and Dad made that same decision. He always encouraged and instructed me in my spiritual pursuits as he did many other men and boys.
I have known many great men, but never one greater than my Dad and father-in-law who lived the Christian life as well as any men I have ever known. He was one tremendous father in whom I found no fault. I love him dearly and fully expect to be with him in heaven some day. That is a blessed hope.
Dr. William “Bill” Ellis of Scott Depot is a weekly syndicated columnist who writes on a wide variety of subjects. Ellis has spent 25 years as a radio and television broadcaster and as a guest speaker and teacher on college campuses.