On Mother’s Day, I wrote about the 6 important women in my life. The life expectancy for men was much shorter when I was a child. Consequently, I only knew my maternal grandfather and my own dad. After I married Jerry, I had the good fortune to have a third father figure in my life.
I adored my granddaddy and when we went to visit my grandparents, it was not unusual for me to ask if I could spend the night with them. I would use one of granddaddy’s undershirts for a gown and sleep on a pallet of blankets on the floor. What I did not know until I was an adult, was that he was an alcoholic. Just months after the birth of his first two grandchildren, he admitted himself to a hospital and never drank again. It was important to him to be his best self for his grandchildren. The love he had for my grandmother and for the rest of his family was without measure. I learned from him that loving others can be the first step in learning to love one’s self.
My dad had to grow up faster than most of his peers. My paternal grandfather was killed in a car accident when dad was 15. Dad continued to stay in school, but worked during his free hours to help support his mother and younger sister. Then when the war began, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. Instead of developing an addiction to cigarettes, he sold the ones issued to him so he could increase the amount of money he could send home to his mother. I learned from him that putting others’ needs first can strengthen a person, especially when adversity occurs.
In his youth and throughout his entire life, Dad had a love for nature and included all three of his children in some of his hunting and fishing trips. He had a keen eye and could see things that others would overlook. And so from him I also learned that being a good steward of God’s creation helps insure that the next generation will have the opportunity to marvel at one of the greatest examples of God’s power.
I only knew my father-in-law for 8 years and yet when I met him, it was clear that he dearly loved his wife. My hope was that Jerry would love me in the same way. After almost 49 years of marriage, I can say with confidence that having good role models can positively influence our relationships with others.
And so what have you learned from the fathers in your life? And what are your children learning from you? I hope that you will take a few minutes today to reflect on both questions. And, if you have not already done so, find a way to fully express your love to those men who unselfishly give of themselves to you.
Happy Father’s Day.
Cindy La Porte
Head of School