My dad was raised on a farm outside Regina, Saskatchewan, by his German parents. While there was always food on the table, there was not much else. Everyone worked hard to make the farm successful. My grandparents were devout Christians, and raised their children to love and serve God.
School was a one-room schoolhouse in the middle of the prairie. My dad and his brothers and sisters rode to school in a one-horse sleigh, often picking the teacher up on the way. For several years he was the only child in his grade.
His parents hoped that the children would take over the family farm when they grew up, but my dad had other dreams. He decided to become a preacher. He pursued going to college even though money was tight.
After serving for several years as the pastor of a small church, and then for several years as a professor, he became pastor of a large church in Chicago in 1980. I was eight years old. My sisters and I lived our formative years in the spotlight, with many expectations for what a pastor’s daughter should be.
As the oldest in the family, and with a strong-willed and outspoken personality, the pressure on me seemed especially intense. But it was always outside pressure. My parents both gave me the freedom to be myself without making me feel like I had to do things the way other people expected.
No matter what house we lived in, my dad always had an “office”, even if it meant his daughters shared a room. The door to his office was almost always open, and he made sure we knew that if we ever needed to talk to him, we could. Many times I would go in his office, sit down, share my problems, and feel a weight lift as he gave me thoughtful advice.
My sisters and I watched closely to see if my dad practiced in real life what he preached in the pulpit, and he did. We knew we could trust him.
When I think about my dad, these things stand out:
- He is a good listener
- He gives great advice
- He prays for me every day
- He loves me unconditionally
Without these four things, I’m convinced that I would not be the happy, successful person that I am today.
This picture of me and my dad is one of my all-time favorites. I was about nine months old, and according to my mom, I had been very sick with a high fever. They had been up most of the night taking care of me. I’ve always liked it because my dad looks tired but he’s holding me so sweetly.
Dad, I love you and thank you for the excellent job you did in providing for our family and guiding us. I am proud to be your daughter! Happy Father’s Day!
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there who work so hard for their families. We salute you!