My father retired about a year ago from the same job he worked at for some 35 years. He was a statistics professor for the same small university in West Texas. And though he and my mom are now considering a move, they still own the same house I was raised in – the same home they have had for those three plus decades. He has never owned a sports car, a jeep, or a truck, instead opting for various models of Toyotas and then suburbans to haul all the kids around when we were still at home, and now back to a Toyota.
He was a dad (now granddad) of short-sleeved shirts with ties, tall athletic socks with shorts, and a ball point pen in the pocket at the ready. He found a shirt he liked and bought four of the same kind in different colors, and wore v-neck white t-shirts around the house before v-necks were cool.
My dad never took his sons out into the woods for a weekend survival class. Nor did he ever perform some “entrance into manhood” ceremony in which he knighted us with a sword. We never rafted the white waters of a river or rappelled down a sheer cliff face.
I never learned how to stalk wild game in the wilderness. And I didn’t ever see my dad give an inspirational TED style talk before hundreds of people. He never signed an autograph in my presence, and we never went on a father / son bonding experience to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. My dad was, and I believe he would freely admit, sort of boring.
And to all the boring fathers like him, with Father’s Day approaching, I’d like to say “thank you.”
Because even though I didn’t experience all the latest and greatest adventures of young manhood with my father, here is what I did experience:
I never once questioned the stability of my home.
I saw the quiet faithfulness of a man who taught Sunday School and served as a deacon for years in the local church.
I saw time and time again generosity extended to family and friends without any fanfare.
I learned how to be financially responsible and not live for the things of this world.
I never was witness to a conversation of jealousy toward those who had more power, prestige, or possessions.
And never, ever, ever did I even sense that my dad felt as though he was missing out on some unfulfilled notion, dream or ambition he had sacrificed for the sake of his family. His family was not a burden to him. Perhaps that’s the reason that I have had the wonderful blessing of never struggling to accept that God is my father. It’s because I know my earthly father. My “boring” dad has shown me a shadow of my heavenly one.
Perhaps you can relate. Maybe you had a boring father as well. Or perhaps you are on the verge of becoming one. I can only say for myself that I would do well for my family to be as boring as my own dad. May it be so, Lord. May it be that we as fathers live quiet lives of faithfulness that raise up sons and daughters who know the value of doing the same.
So to all the “boring” dads out there this Father’s Day, including my own…
“The greatest among you will be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matt. 23:11-12).