Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Good stuff from Dad

One of my Dad's good friends sent me an e-mail last week. In it, he said that he enjoyed reading the blog, and that by reading it he could tell that "the apple didn't fall far from the tree". That got me to thinking about some of the things I have inherited from my Dad. I had a conversation with a guy I graduated high school with several months ago and he said , "I graduated from college, got a job, got married, had kids, and I woke up one morning and realized I had turned into my Dad." Whether we like it or not we received a bunch of stuff from our parents and we will pass just as much on to our own kids. Here's some cool stuff that my Dad gave me:

- A big smile. I don't smile with just my mouth. When I smile, my cheeks move up, the area around my eyes wrinkles up, and most significantly my eyes disappear. Those disappearing eyes earned me the nickname "Squint" in college, and led my friend Jeff Caldwell to ask me when we were kids if I could see when I smiled. My Dad's eyes do the same thing. The other thing My Dad gave me concerning smiles is that we both have a hard time not doing it. That's generally good, but there have been times when a smile would be inappropriate, and I do it anyway. If something strikes me as funny I'm going to smile.

- A love of laughter. This kind of goes along with the whole smiling thing, but thanks to my Dad I grew up in a house with lots of laughter. He laughed a lot, and he created situations that we all laughed at. There's not much I enjoy more than sitting around listening to and telling stories that make me laugh. Laughter goes well with just about everything.

- An ability not to take myself too seriously. This is something that is vital for anyone in ministry, and anytime I'm able to do it I realize that I learned it from watching Dad. My Dad is one of the wisest men I know, but he doesn't come across as a guy who thinks he has all the answers. He's always willing to learn from someone else, and he can admit when he makes a mistake. The best part of all is that he can laugh at himself.

- An example of how to treat my wife. I learned from Dad that a wife should be treated with special respect, and that respect should be given to her by the children as well. Over the years of doing ministry I have unfortunately seen the inside of a lot of bad marriages. Every time I do I am thankful that my Dad loved my Mom, and that it showed. I'm not a perfect husband, but I know that so much of the things I get right in marriage I saw lived out in my house everyday growing up.

The list could go on, but that's the things that came to mind today. What are you passing on to to your kids? What have you inherited from your parents?


Jeanne said...

I love that your eyes disappear when you smile! So do Garett's and we call them sunshines eyes! I am trying to pass on to my children the ability to choose JOY each and every morning. Some mornings are rough, but we always choose it before Reece and Garett get out of the car at school. Ask one of them to sing their JOY song for you on Sunday!

Mark H. Johnson said...

Thanks for sharing Cliff and Jeanne, you had me laughing and smiling too.

Let's see...

>the LOVE of ice cream (Dad and Mom)

>Bull-headedness to the extreme (Dad)

>the gift of conversation (Mom)

>Faith in the power of Jesus (Mom and Dad in that order)

>Orange blood...Go Tigers (Dad)

I left out most of the ones I am trying to overcome or compensate for most days. I hope I am passing the right ones on to Miles and Dylan. Next month is 1 year since my Dad passed, it's still amazing how often I dream about him. Sometimes good and sometimes painful but it is always so real. I often tell them that I hate they got to know him as a weak, sick old man. I was once so scared of him, physically and emotionally. I hope to continue to teach them the good things he showed me and tell the stories about how much he accomplished and what he did that was good. Thanks for sharing!

See ya!

Anonymous said...

All those things are fabulous and true. And I would like to give a big hooray to your parents. They are all you said and more. Thank the good Lord for them. You , my friend have much to be thankful for. The great part about all this is you know it!!