Dad. Bug killer and so much more!

Let’s talk about Arthropods for a minute.  Hold on, it will make sense in a minute.  I know, this is the weekend.  Why the organism classification lesson?  I’ll explain but first, here’s the definition.

Arthropod  [ ˈärTHrəˌpäd ]  noun: arthropod · plural noun: arthropods.   An invertebrate animal of the large phylum Arthropoda, such as an insect, spider, or crustacean.     Powered by OxfordDictionaries · © Oxford University Press.

Arthropod comes from the Greek and it literally means “joint-footed”.  It’s a phylum classification right under Kingdom in the seven levels of organism classification.  Pretty interesting right?  Why do I bring this up?  Because this phylum falls under the area of my boot.  These are all of the things that as a dad, it’s my job to kill.  I am the last line, nay, sometimes the only line of defense against the vile creepy crawly things that make the girls in my house shriek and climb on furniture.  Have mercy! If I’m not home when a “Bug Event” happens, I get to hear all about it when I do get home; every detail right down to a vivid description of the sound of the crunch.  Things have only gotten worse since we’ve moved to a state where the spiders grow big.  It doesn’t help much that we live out of town a little and there are fields, livestock and green areas nearby.  We don’t leave the porch light on too long because it will summon so many bugs that you will undoubtedly let several in with you when you come in the house.   These are things that I don’t mind though.  I’m dad.  Most of the time, I love being the place where the buck stops and I certainly don’t have a problem with my conscience while murdering Arthropods.


One time, several years ago, our Boxer, his name was Hobbs, ate a dryer sheet or something like that.  We didn’t know about it until he went out to do his big business.  What ever it was that he ate didn’t have enough substance for his body to handle efficiently.  We looked out the back door to see our dog running around the yard with several inches of something hanging out of his nether regions. It didn’t seem to be bothering him a bit.  He wanted to come inside.  I don’t think so buddy!  After all the “Ew! Gross!” it became apparent that this was another job for the last line of defense.  Dad.  The bottom line.  The place where the buck stopped!  My first thought was, “Which pair of pliers are the cheapest and most disposable? And where are they?”  Needless to say, we got it taken care of and everyone laughs about it today.

When one has not had a good father, one must create one.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

There are lots of icky, disgusting things that will happen in a family, with pets, children and maybe even both at the same time.  If dad is there, these things will very often be his job to deal with.  And while these are important, there are some far more important things that dad should be bringing to the table.

  1. Be an example of an honest man to your family.  I can’t stress this enough.  Your children need to know that you are telling them the truth.  They will not be able to trust you and have confidence in your word if you are in the habit of lying to them.  The reason we can trust our Heavenly Father is because His Word doesn’t break down.  He’s behind it making it come to pass.  Like God, we as fathers should be willing to do what ever it takes and to go to extraordinary lengths in order to make our word stand up.  A man and his word are inseparable.  Also, your children will model what you do more than what you say.  If you don’t want your children to be dishonest, you need to get dishonesty out of you.
  2. Be an example of integrity to your family.  The simplest definition of integrity is “Undivided” and “Whole”.  If a man has integrity, that means that he’s undivided.  He’s not moving in two directions.  He’s not a hypocrite.  He is not presenting himself one way but behind the scenes, he’s doing something else.  Integrity falls in close to honesty.  A father with integrity is an open book.
  3. Be an example of humility to your family.  I don’t think most people fully understand what humility is.  I think most people equate being humble with being weak.  This is not the truth.  True humility is being completely honest about yourself.  The bible cautions us not to think more highly of ourselves that we aught to think (Rom 12:3 KJV), but to think soberly (Greek – sophroneo = right mind).  Humility is to have a very real, undiluted understanding of who you really are, what you really can do, and what you are really responsible for.  The Bible doesn’t say that you can’t think highly of yourself, it says not to think more highly than you aught.  A man of humility will have an honest look at himself and discern what is “of himself” and what is “the grace of God”.  When we realize that our very next breath and heartbeat comes from God, we get perspective about how much of our life is only possible because of His grace & mercy.  This mindset is true humility.
  4. Be an example of submission and authority to your family.  Your family needs to see you submitting to a higher authority.  It may be how you relate and respond to your own parents, your pastor or your boss.  It helps your children have an understanding that things need to have an order, and just as you stand in submission in certain areas of your life, in others you stand in authority.  Your example in these areas will teach your children that both are necessary.  People who struggle in submitting to authority will be severely handicapped in life and work. They will be held back by their own stubbornness and arrogance.
  5. Be an example of a faithful man to your family.  Are you worthy to have others put faith in you?  A few years back I served in church with someone that would sometimes not show up.  I used to get a little frustrated because when I went to rely on them, it was a gamble as to whether they would be there or not.  They were unfaithful.  Unfaithfulness doesn’t mean that you’re not there; it means that you are not consistent and therefore can’t be fully trusted with the heavy lifting in a relationship; whether it be personal or professional.  What this person didn’t realize was that by being unfaithful, they undermined their own trustworthiness and reputation.  Even though I like them as people and enjoy fellowshipping with them, when the chips are down, I don’t call them.  Faithfulness to your family should mean that their hearts SAFELY trust in you.  Proverbs 25:19 says that confidence in an unfaithful man in a time of trouble is like a broken tooth or a foot out of joint.  In either case, you will suffer when you put pressure on them.

My dad wasn’t there to teach these things to me, but if my example shows you anything, it’s that if you trust God, you will not be deficient.  He will see to it that you get what you need.

What other things can you add to my list?  Join the conversation by leaving a comment.  Also, if this has helped you in any way and you think it might help someone else, please share it.  Also, consider signing up to my mailing list.  You can receive these posts by email and not miss one.

Fathers and Firsts and the things Moms didn’t find out about.

Gwen's pics of Dad1 cropped.

Photo courtesy of Gwen McClellan

As I was running an errand this morning, I passed a 1965 Ford Galaxie 500.  My mind immediately went back to our Ford Galaxie.  This car had a real history with our family.  I remember a day when I was in fourth grade. I was helping my dad work in our back yard when he suddenly handed me the keys to our Ford Galaxie and told me to move it.  He gave me very specific instructions; “Put the key in the ignition, lightly pump the gas pedal once or twice & turn the key forward until the starter engages, then let off the key right away as soon as you hear the engine start.  Next, put your foot on the brake & pull the gear shift lever into reverse, turn & look where you’re going, let off the brake & slowly give it just a little gas. Back the car down the driveway & stop when you’re in front of the house. Put the car in park & shut it off”.  This was my very first time behind the wheel where I was in complete control & he wasn’t even in the car.  I did everything to the letter until it came time to give it some gas.  I didn’t have a feel for how hard to push the pedal so my version of lightly was about 3 inches.  I threw driveway gravel all over the place.  Even though he scolded me, it was a big day for me.  I had driven a car.  It might have only been 20 feet but still, for a fourth grader it was huge.

I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom. ~Umberto Eco

So many of my “Firsts” happened with my dad.  He gave me my first taste of beer. He taught me how to fish, tell time & build a car out of two wooden blocks and some bottle caps. He threw me my first fast ball (with real heat). I thought my fingers were broken.  He used to let me hand him tools when he was working on the car. He let me tear up an old tarp so that I could make a make-shift poncho. I needed something to “fling back” behind my pistols when me and my cousin would have gun fights in the driveway.  Because of him I still know the words to a few Marty Robbins songs. Dad & me christmas 1971Without knowing it, he taught me how to think as well as judge situations and empathize with people.  He always seemed to know when something was bothering me.  I remember him specifically instructing me and my sister that nothing should ever be put in front of our relationship with God, especially when it came to choices in music or friends.  I remember him getting me out of bed late in the night in order for he, my mom, my aunt and my uncle to pray for me.  One time when I was in third grade he woke me up so they could pray over me and when he took me back to tuck me back into bed, he opened his bible to psalm 71:17 & 18 and read it to me.  He then looked me right in the eye and said “This is yours.  You confess it every night before you go to bed“.  I have done it my whole life and it has had an immeasurable influence on me.

Psa 71:17 O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. 18 Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.

Dad, Lula & Me at Grandma Gordon'sDad gave me my first guitar.  It was a Teisco Tulip guitar.  I never played it.  I think I might have learned 3 open chords but it hurt my fingers so I didn’t play it.  Dad ended up giving it to my cousin David, who didn’t play it either so my uncle Chuck gave it back.  I used to be convinced that it was the world’s biggest piece of junk but now I see how much they are selling for on Craigslist.  Wow!  Wish I still had it.  I do play guitar now though and my love of music came from dad. I have had the privilege of knowing some great men I my life.  Many of them have been strong examples, mentors & friends for me but NONE of them will ever get the honor that is reserved for him.  To my dad I would say this: You’ve started me off right.  I am forever grateful.  I honor you with every breath and every heartbeat.

My daddy, he was somewhere between God and John Wayne. ~Hank Williams, Jr

Let’s talk about Dads.  What’s special about yours?