Learning From My Dad


A memorial service for my Dad happened on Saturday, June  28 at the Church I grew up in, Blythfield Christian Reformed Church in Rockford, Michigan. There was a time for family to offer spoken memories of my Dad during the service.  I spoke what I’ve printed here, and two of my nieces spoke of their memories.

While standing in line at Union Station in Chicago, waiting to board the train to Michigan, I heard a little girl call out “Dad, what was that?” Then I saw them, she walking her quick, small steps, hanging on to the hand of her father. Her call and question made me think of my Dad and how many times I asked him my questions and he answered, sometimes with patience. Dad often said that he graduated from the “School of Hard Knocks.” He knew about a lot of things and tried to teach all of his kids what he knew, what he believed is right and good. I received my love of education from my Dad. He attended all of my graduations (about six of them I think!), all of my piano recitals, some college football games, to church to hear me preach, and to many school programs. He taught me how to drive a stick-shift (that was one of the less patient times, I was not very good at it) and how to plant and pick sweet peas, sweet corn, cucumbers, potatoes, and beans.

My Dad read Scripture and prayed after every family meal. He was a strict teacher and did not allow any goofing off. I was not always the best student; I sometimes did not receive what Dad had to give, but he never gave up on me. He taught me how to be responsible. He taught me how to strive for the best, how to practice whatever I preach, how to work hard, and how to be faithful to God, to Church, and to family. Dad was a quiet man, not quick to give comments, especially praise, yet I know he was proud of me and each one of his children and kept each one of us in his heart and in his daily prayers. That legacy now lives on in my spirit and for that I am grateful.

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