No Way He’s 70!

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 2:12 PM

I remember him as the man standing on the sidelines cheering me on when I played pee-wee football. He sat in the heat and rarely missed a baseball game, one of my biggest fans. I can never forget the hottest summer of my life spent in the back of a moving van with this man working harder than I had ever worked and would ever worked again. Looking back on it I am amazed we both made it through that summer.

Fishing, not my favorite thing to do but some of my favorite nights were spent sitting on a bridge listening to a baseball game on the radio with this man and waiting for the fish to bite. I will never forget the day me and this guy saw a snake while fishing at night and we both broke the land world speed record running back to camp.

Memories, more memories; of going to work with him and getting to stay up all night when he worked the night shift, of picking up political signs on the night of the election together, Saturday afternoons at the State Fair and sitting in the end zone at SMU football games. He introduced me to music of all kinds, Shakespeare in the park, nachos and Fletchers corny dogs. To say the least he is a champion of gathering as many different experiences as one can.

He is more emotional now and really it has been a joy to watch him age. My kids love to be around him and they laugh when he says something is ‘neat’. When life has thrown my family a curve no one jumped in with more of a willing heart and helping hand.

This man shaped the course of my life more than anyone else. He set my life in the proper direction and gave me every chance to succeed possible. Today my father turns 70 and I can hardly believe it.

Dad taught me to love everyone and that each and every person was special. He taught me to be color blind and was a champion of the underdog. The helpless, the hopeless, the underprivileged the oppressed he taught me not to just pull for them but to find a way to help them. My father taught me not to be an activist but to be active.

His life was not easy nor is it a picture of perfection. Looking back on my childhood as an adult I can see those imperfections but can easily look past them as I see the effort and love afforded me by this man, I call dad. Love was showed in actions and encouragement more than shared in words.

Married young, lots of kids, and not the highest of education yet some fifty something years later he and my mother have beat the odds. He taught me to laugh and have fun in life. He taught me the value of having good friends. Though our house was not the largest it was made into a home. One where love, joy, discipline and direction could be given freely, I love that house. Not the brick and mortar but the care and purpose delivered there.

My father, well it is his last several years that have really been the most impressive. On New Years Eve 2000 he suffered a stroke. I remember driving home on snowy Texas roads wondering how this would affect this very important man in my life.

I should have known it would be inspiring and impressive. Though the stroke affected the speed in which he gets things done it has not effected what he gets done. Meals on Wheels, mentoring children in school, spending time just listening to children who have suffered horrible tragedy’s in life, helping immigrants become citizens, politically active, rarely missing a grandchild’s event and there are many more. All of these activities really just scratch the surface of what he does with his time; while others are retiring he’s catching his second wind. Always and I mean always looking for the good to do.

Knowing my father the way I do he never set out to be a great inspiration. He was just doing what he was supposed to do. Taking care of his family and the children God blessed him with. Nothing fancy or flashy just getting things done.

If this devotional sounds like a tribute to my father well in part it is but we can all use a reminder of how important our lives are to our children and grandchildren. My father’s influence is profound in my life and for me it is a daily reminder of how critical being the best parent we can be is.

Know this no one and I mean no one will influence your kids more than you. Not rock stars or super star athletes no, it is you. How you treat your wife, what your priorities are in life, how you love and serve your God, how you work and how you play it is all being watched and will some day more than likely be mirrored. It is our task, no our honor to shape the course of the future. What a great opportunity we have to lead our children to God, to shape a course of loving and caring for others, of being givers not takers.

It does not take a high education or someone who has read every child rearing book by all the best authors. No it takes someone willing to be honest, real, loving and shaped by God themselves.

Somewhere out there, parents, grandparents I assure you some very important people are in need of shaping. I pray we are up to it. Let us mirror the effort of those who went before us while learning from their mistakes and growing from their wisdom.

The most important man in my life turns 70 today and I can not imagine in what direction my life would have sailed without him. Thanks dad, God speed and keep finishing strong.

Scripture: Proverbs 23:22, “Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.”

Proverbs 14:26, “He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.”

Proverbs 17:6, “Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.”

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for the people you place in our life that influence us greatly; we praise your name for the faith and love of those who came before us. Help us to live our lives as you would have us to, catch us before we fall and guide is in your wisdom in all we do. We humbly acknowledge that we can not do it without you and so we seek your help. We ask these things in the name of Christ, Amen.

* I acknowledge that as some of you read this you have little good or perhaps even little knowledge of your parents. There is little positive example for you to go by. I pray that God will bless your heart and as you lean on Him you will understand more than ever that the best Father of all is the Heavenly Father, who is perfect in all ways and loving to all He created. May God bless you and send you comfort on this day.

all simple/truths are written by richard harris

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