I can never walk into the lumber section of a big box hardware store without thinking of my dad, mainly because the aroma of aftershave and sawdust call to mind so many of my fondest childhood memories. (more…)
I’ve enjoyed sharing a variety of common interests with my dad throughout my life. One of my favorite bonds has been related to music and singing. It started at a very early age. My parents tell a story of a time when dad was practicing a solo he had coming up at church, which was a common occurrence in our home. This particular instance, though, included my 2-year-old-self mimicking him throughout the house, singing “Jesus, Jesus, the sweetest name I know.” It was the beginning of me wanting to be like my dad.
For many years, I’ve referred to dad as my hero and role model. While other kids idolized sports heroes and movie stars, I chose to look closer to home for my inspiration. In dad, I found a man worth learning from and being like. As the years passed, I realized how fortunate I was to have a dad like mine because many people didn’t. It was this realization that opened my eyes to something very important: my kids are always watching me and wanting to be like me…because I wanted to be like my dad.
I am because He Was
I sang because he sang.
I played basketball because he played basketball.
I worked hard because he worked hard.
I loved God because he loved God.
One of the guys who wrote parts of the Bible, named Paul, encouraged his readers to imitate him a number of times. He lived his life in a way that taught them how to live as Christ-followers not matter that cost to himself. Why? Because he cared about them. He understood the challenges of his spiritual children would encounter, so he committed to showing them a path to follow until they were able to figure it out for themselves.
Like Paul, my dad lived in a manner that invited me to imitate him. He lived his life in a way that taught me how to be a man, a father, and a Christ-follower. His commitment to God is strong in my memory. He sang at church, taught Sunday School classes and bible studies, and encouraged others in their faith. He was generous with the blessings God has given him, often paying it forward to missionaries, family, and those in need. His love for his family was evident in how often he was involved in the things that mattered to us. Dad rarely missed one of my high school basketball games, even though I rode the bench most of the season. He heard every note of every concert. And he made himself available so I could talk about what mattered to me at the time.
No Man Is Perfect
Dad wasn’t perfect. No man is. But he modeled a way for me…a way for me to follow until I was old enough, strong enough, and mature enough to begin figuring it out for myself. And he’s always been nearby to help me when times became hard. He stood by me and encouraged me as my world fell apart during divorce. He has listened to me spew anger and pour tears. I can’t fathom the heartache he experienced as he watched me suffer, but I know one thing is for certain. He modeled yet again a way for me to follow if the day comes for one of my own children to suffer so deeply.
I know there’s no such thing as the perfect father, and to aspire to perfection is foolish and unrealistic. But, I want to live my life in a manner that invites my kids to imitate me because that is exactly how my dad lived his life.
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My father passed away in 2012. He was young and healthy. His death was sudden and totally unexpected. His absence left a huge hole in my life and our family.
My dad was not a perfect man. But he was great man and model of what a husband and father should look like: faithful husband of 33 years, father of 5 boys, pastor and mentor to many other men. Not a day goes without me wishing he was still here with us.
In honor of him, I want to share with you 25 things I learned from my father on how to be a husband, father and all around decent human being.
1. Follow Jesus.
If there was only one thing he could have taught his children, this would have been it.
2. Always tell the truth, even when it hurts.
Proverbs 12:19 – Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
3. Your integrity is the most valuable thing you possess.
Proverbs 22:1 – A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.
4. Finish what you start.
Luke 9:62 – Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
5. Be quick to repent and confess your sin.
James 5:16 – Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
6. When you’re done with something, put it away.
My dad hated messes. And with 5 boys in the house, there were plenty of opportunities for messes to appear. He taught us to clean up (take responsibility for) our own messes.
Proverbs 18:9 – Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.
7. Guard your heart.
Whenever I would fall into sin, my dad never condemned me for my actions. Instead he always asked me what was going on in my heart. Of course there was penalties for wrong behavior, but he always started by helping me examine my heart issues that lead to my actions.
Proverbs 4:2 – Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
8. Never be alone with a woman.
This was a non-negotiable rule in our house. Even into our twenties, my dad wouldn’t allow us to be alone with girls. To this day I hold this as a personal standard for myself.
1 Thessalonians 5:22 – Abstain from all appearance of evil.
9. Never hit a woman.
1 Peter 3:7 – Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
10. Be a one woman man. Marriage is for life.
Proverbs 6:32, 33 – He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away.
11. Never talk back to your mom.
Matthew 15:4 For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’
12. Don’t put people on a pedestal.
13. The Christian life is the only way to live.
14. You’re a champion.
1 John 5:4 – For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
15. Your words have power. Speak life not death.
Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
16. Put God 1st.
Matthew 22:37 – Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
17. Next to your relationship with Jesus, your family is the highest priority.
I saw my dad model this on a daily basis.
1 Timothy 5:8 – But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
18. He modeled unconditional love.
19. He modeled unconditional commitment.
20. Always included us in his life.
He would often include me and my brothers in whatever task he was doing. It was more important that we were with him, that the job getting done perfectly.
Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
21. It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. You do what’s right.
22. Responsibility is not something to run from, but should be embraced.
23. True riches aren’t found in money and possessions.
Luke 12:15 – And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
24. The world is an evil place full of wicked men.
This might not sound like the most positive outlook. But my dad taught me to be on guard against those who would try and abuse and take advantage of me. As a father and husband, it’s now my God given calling to do that for my wife and children.
Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
25. God is our perfect father who sent us his perfect son.
John 3:16, 17 – For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
I know that I have been blessed beyond measure to have had Dave Bell as my father. Most of the things I learned from my dad were taken straight from God’s Word. By God’s grace, I hope to continue in the things I have been taught and impart God’s Word into the hearts of my own children.
Thanks for reading!
If you want to know more about Matt Bell, here are some links that will surely bless your socks off!
It seems that for most of my life, I’ve had to fight for things, and this stems from my father. He stood for what was right for three hearing impaired children in a public school. Even though the school was not adequately equipped to handle disabled children, Dad fought for us to remain and face the challenges that lie ahead.
His involvement, along with my mother’s, instilled a quit in me that has never ceased. I hear his word echo in my ears, “How are these kids going to learn in the real world, if we send them to a deaf and hard of hearing school? They need to learn to deal with their hearing loss and face challenges.” Boy, was he right on with the challenges part. With speech therapy and hearing aids, I dealt with everyday circumstances like climbing a mountain. And even today, with visual loss, I continue to advocate for my rights. It has truly been a journey, but thanks to Dad, and God, I am an over-comer!
Dad Cried Once
I only witnessed one time when my Dad cried. It was when his father passed away. Yet Mom tells me that Dad cried every night for his children. He would have given us his ears and eyes instead of us going deaf and blind. However, he did give us what my sister calls, “back-bone”, for we are not shy in speaking out for what is right. Although we can’t see or hear very well, it does not mean that we’re invisible.
Paul states in 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith.” Yes, we will face trouble in this world, but with Christ we can overcome (John 16:33). And overcome is exactly what I do because of what Dad exemplified for me. It is like the old saying. “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I have not let my disability stop me for being effective for the Kingdom. Regardless of my limitations, God has none. He is faithful and I continue to soar with the eagles!
Rev. Whick D. Turner is a licensed minister, author, worship drummer, songwriter, loving husband and father. Residing in San Antonio, Texas and a member of Destiny Church, Whick travels to minister and share his words of encouragement to motivate others to reach their fullest potential in God. Visit www.ontopofmymountain.org for more information and to reach Whick. D. Turner. G L O R Y !
What I Learned from My Dad
Remembering Dad’s Sacrifices for Me
My Dad, Herbert Holland, went to work at the Viscose in Parkersburg, West Virginia in February of 1942. The company manufactured rayon and employed about three-thousand people during World War II. I was very happy Dad got the job. He had been working for the WPA building roads. (more…)
I don’t know if my Dad liked baseball all that much, but I know he loved me. My fondest memories as a boy were when my dad would take time in the evenings to play baseball with us. We lived a mile out of town surrounded by cornfields. We had a nice yard for playing baseball with a row of evergreen trees that served well as an outfield wall. Some of them were overgrown and occasionally we would lose a ball in the trees or even in the field beyond it if the corn was tall.
My dad spent his days working at the bank in town accepting and rejecting loan requests, mostly to local farmers. He enjoyed spending evenings in the yard mowing or tending to the apple orchard. He would have us kids, there were three of us, help with yard work if something needed to be done. If it was still light out when the chores were done and if I begged hard enough, he usually had time to play some baseball.
Did you ever see the movie, TheRookie (2002), with Dennis Quaid as Jim Morris? I loved baseball about as much as he loved baseball, except, I had a dad who would play baseball with me.
My dad would often come home during his lunch hour and, in the summer, when I was home from school, would play catch with me for ten or fifteen minutes after he ate before he had to go back to work.
My dad was always willing to invest in us in pursuit of our interests. For example, when I joined the Boy Scouts, my dad participated as an adult leader of our troop. In only five years in scouting, I had earned my Eagle Scout award. Most boys, if they even get there, take seven or eight years to get it. It wasn’t easy and my dad encouraged me to stick with it when I got tired of it. Earning my Eagle Scout helped set the pace for me in life in pursuing other longer term goals.
This was what I was most proud of as a boy and my dad was there to help me get it. He was a great example to me in this way. I was fortunate to have a dad who cared so much and loved me so much. Dads are important. Not only to their kids but to their community and to their country. God created man to lead a family and He designed families to build nations. Don’t forget how important you are dad.
Where’s my glove? I need to go out and play catch with my son!