November 3rd, 2014 by Zac
My Dad turned 90 this past August. So, I traveled back to Arkansas (alone) to bring attention to this amazing man whose shadow I have grown up under for almost 50 years. As I reflect on this occasion, I realize how much I still don’t know about my dad. He is a multifaceted man with seemingly limitless experiences and stories that span 90 years. (click here to listen to my Dad sing a favorite song from his childhood)
However, there is one thing that I know for sure. He has influenced my life like no one else! Dad’s have that special place in the lives of sons.
As I was flying home for the celebration, and idea crossed my mind. What if I tried to write down 90 things that I learned from my Dad. I wasn’t sure how it would go, but I got our my phone and started jotting down the first thoughts that came to my mind. After the first 20, I thought this would never work. Ideas were coming too slowly. But each time I returned to the task, there seemed to be a new burst of inspiration and a new category of influence to mine. So, soon I had 40, then 60 then 90. I’m confident I could have kept going, but 90 was sufficient to make me realize that Dad had made a more significant mark on my life than any other.
I’m not expecting that everyone will read my whole list. But it does stand as a tribute to the fabric of who I am.
I love you Dad!
1. For working at marriage and not giving up
2. For loving mom
3. Choosing to stay in our small town (ElDorado) instead of looking for bigger and better
4. Not pressuring me to be a preacher
5. Following your dream of Victory Bible Camp
6. Being optimistic
7. Taking vacations as a family
8. Saving money
9. Winning people to Christ
10. Taking off work to take me to school and basketball practice and baseball games and band practice.
11. Teaching me to sing
12. Being missions minded and missions active
13. Being a faithful pastor
14. Standing up for black people in the church
15. Teaching me to say “I’m sorry” to Mom
16. Giving up your lawn so I could have a garden
17. Loaning me your shotgun
18. Driving me to places to hunt and fish
19. Encouraging me to raise chickens
20. Telling us jokes to make us laugh
21. Cooking breakfast all those years
22. Keeping the oyster stew and boiled clustered traditions alive.
23. Making church fun
24. Teaching me the songs “bloody war” and “my gals a corker” and “down by the old mill stream”
25. Loving a real fire place
26. Helping us to appreciate antiques
27. Teaching me to appreciate classical music
28. Passing on the legacy of good bible teaching
29. Fighting for accurate biblical theology
30. Not retiring after retirement
31. Teaching me how to charcoal grill
32. Teaching me how to play tennis
33. Being committed to youth ministry in the church
34. Introducing us to Panama City beach
35. Loving flowers
36. Being a firm disciplinarian
37. Obeying the law
38. Taking us to see the fishing boats that came in at Venture Out
39. For having enough humility to retire from the pastorate when you did
40. For living an example of daily time in the Word and prayer
41. Encouraging me to work from an early age
42. For promoting me and standing behind me as youth pastor, camp director and missionary
43. For being the youth pastor, children’s pastor and the adult pastor for all those years
44. Teaching me how to drive
45. Teaching me how to teach
46. Teaching me how to make a fire
47. Teaching me how to play the ucalaly
48. Teaching me how to lead the “singin”
49. For being bold enough to start Real Life club and teach me how to have a youth club.
50. Showing me how to “go to Paris”
51. Reading Miss Minerva
52. Following God’s leading to Arkansas
53. Choosing to invest in the study of Gods word in college and seminary
54. Sharing your chocolates
55. Investing in the lives of people
56. Teaching me how to enjoy fried eggs
57. Teaching us the family history
58. Inviting Aunt Fan to be a part of our lives
59. Keeping the clock wound
60. Putting the wallpaper on the ceiling
61. For not swatting the nats
62. Teaching me to not lie
63. Teaching me not to steal
64. Teaching me how to love people who are hard to love
65. For “plowing around the stumps”
66. Bringing me gifts when you traveled
67. Embracing technology even in your later years
68. For teaching in the black seminary
69. For teaching us to care about the way we look
70. For teaching me not to overrate what people think about me
71. To never give up on people
72. To never give up on God
73. To believe that people (including me) can change by the power of God
74. That God is a present, living reality
75. For pursuing some lost people – sometimes for their whole lives
76. That God answers prayer.
77. That God uses even the small things that we have to do great things.
78. That serious people can have fun too.
79. That faithfulness + time = deep impact.
80. How to eat pressure for lunch.
81. How to mobilize people for a task.
82. How to have fun and get work done at the same time.
83. How to tell a story
84. How to make an illustration.
85. That the Kingdom of God is more important than money.
86. Teaching me Bible stories
87. For leading me to saving faith Jesus Christ.
88. For praying at every meal
89. Teaching me to pray in hard times.
90. To not be afraid if death.