A couple of weeks ago was the 3rd anniversary of my dad’s passing. He was 60 years old and died very unexpectedly. It was a tragedy to say the least. And, although I hear that it gets easier over time, I am finding that the weight of his absence increases with each year that passes. There are questions I want to ask, stories I want to share, successes I want to celebrate, and mentoring that I want to receive.
But those aren’t possible. I am finding ways to live with this void in my life. I know that I’ll see him again one day…but I find myself discovering paths to include him in my every day.
One of the biggest ways that I do this is by honoring his legacy. His legacy is especially important to me with my own kids. Here are 3 lessons that I learned from my dad that I want to pass on to my own children:
1. Do better. My dad grew up poor and spent time in a foster home. It was not the childhood that he would have picked for himself, although I know he would quickly point to the fact that it made him who he was as an adult. But, as my father, he always strived to do better. He worked hard to create a life for us that was better than the one he had. And, although my childhood wasn’t bad, I want to do better for my kids. I also expect that they will pick up on that mindset and want to do better with their children than I did with them.
2. Faith matters. My dad was a pastor. But, more importantly, he lived out his faith. He cared deeply for people and had a profound impact on the people that he came in contact with. He experienced a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ and he wanted everyone else to realize that same transformation for their own lives. Being a pastor wasn’t just something he did, it was something that he was. And I want to do the same. I want my kids to see in me a faith that matters. I don’t want them to simply hear about my faith, but I want them to see it in action.
3. Laughter helps. My dad was a joke teller. He was always either laughing or making others laugh. He had the kind of laugh that would embarrass us in the movie theater. The amazing thing about this idea of laughter was that he could make us laugh no matter the circumstance. This ability to find laughter in the difficult moments has created in me an ability to not take things so seriously. I regularly find humor in moments when others are stressed, annoyed, or frustrated. And this leads me to a calmer way of life. I want to pass that on to my kids so that they can laugh at the parts of life that trip so many people up.
There they are. 3 ways I hope to pass on the legacy of my father to my kids. What’s your reaction to this list? Are there things that you’ve learned from someone significant in your life that you want to pass on to your kiddos? Comment below and let us know…