I have seven children who all loved their dad.
Even though he had MS for 15 years before his passing, which meant he couldn’t do a lot of things most “normal” dads can do–throw a football around, teach a child how to ride a bike, walk on the beach, or go hiking–each one of my kids knew their dad loved them.
It’s because he saw his role as a dad as an opportunity to make an investment. A lot of men know about investing; they know how to participate in the stock market, real estate, and other opportunities to wisely plan for their family’s future.
We have always lived pretty frugally, saving what we can, having no debt except our home mortgage, and trying to give generously. Even still, my late husband Chris knew almost nothing about investing in a monetary sense.
What he did know, however, was how to invest in his children’s lives. The time, spiritual leading, listening, playing, and prayer he gave them not only has made then “rich” in several ways, it has helped shape who my children have become.
Chris’s investment has yielded some great returns. and it continues to inspire my children–to be strong, honest, hard-working, creative, loving and to do great things to the glory of God.
Dads, you may not know much about Wall Street, but you have a treasure you can pass on to your children. It’s you. Investing your life, love, and leadership in your kids’ lives will bring a great ROI…guaranteed!
PS – To encourage you dads out there in just how much your love can mean to your child, here is something my oldest daughter Bethany recently wrote about her dad, in celebrating his life and love on four years now after his passing:
Remembering My Daddy…
Time is a funny thing. When you long for something in the future, it seems to creep by. When you pray for something to never end, it rushes with by with the speed of an express train. And when all that remains are memories, it distorts and dims the past until it fades into oblivion.
A graveyard full of crumbling tombstones is a testament to the passage of Time. Once, those stones were new, the lettering clear, the flowers fresh, the tears and visits frequent. Now, slumping markers with faded writing are left alone, the flowers long since withered and blown away by the changing seasons, the names not even memories anymore. Surrounding by bustling streets, busy neighborhoods, and the faint chatter of people walking by, I stand by a gravestone. The edges are straight and sharp, the writing still clear. It’s been four years since that stone was placed…“only” four years, compared to the weathered markers on the graves nearby, but four long years to me.
Memories cloud my mind, tears cloud my eyes as I let my thoughts wander and savor the memories as they come….
…getting up while the sun was still just a glow right beneath the horizon, and grabbing a ziplock bag full of trail mix. He held the paddles and the tackle box, I juggled the fishing poles, the tiny New Testament, and the trail mix as we tramped through the grass wet with dew. The canoe stuck, slid, stuck, then floated free as we clambered in and deposited ourselves and our gear to our satisfaction and glided out onto the water, shattering its smooth-as-glass surface with the ripples from our boat. I listened to him read the Bible as we slowly paddled around the lake, the poles wedged in the back, fishing lures trailing behind us. He challenged me, advised me, corrected me, taught me in those early morning jaunts before he had to leave for work, or, best days of all, the Saturday mornings when our trip lasted as long as our two selves wanted it to last. We were the only people in the whole world on those mornings….until the others who had been left behind ran down to the end of the yard and hollered for us to come home “ ‘cuz Mommy has breakfast readdddyyyyyy!!!!!!!!”
…snuggling next to him and the other kids as he read the story of the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The story came to life with his expressive voice that changed as he ready Lucy’s lines, Mr. Beaver’s lines, Aslan’s lines. Better yet, when he turned the lights out and we lay in our beds in the dark and listened to him tell a story made up on the spot. Transported to the time of the Civil War, the heights of Mount Everest, the swamps of the south, the wilds of Africa, we were borne away by his imagination into worlds that for me have never faded. Sometimes, now, when I’m home alone and missing him, I’ll open the cassette player and slip in a “Daddy Tape.” And I’m transported once again, my heart aching and warming to the memories at the same time.
…hiding in the dark living room with the kids, stifling our giggles while the good smell of cooking drifts from the kitchen. “Hmm, these woods sure are dark! I hope there aren’t any wolves in here,” says Daddy, the “hunter,” still in his work clothes as he slowly walks into the living room. We snicker in the dark under the piano bench, behind the chair, in the dark corner next to the couch. One of us howls and Daddy pauses in mock fear before we all charge at him from different directions and we’re one rolling, wrestling ball on the floor. We try to pin him, but we never completely can, and then someone gets hurt (inevitably) or Mom calls us to dinner, and we troop, out of breath, disheveled, and laughing into the kitchen and crowd around the dinner table. It’s always a competition to see which one of the seven kids gets to say the blessing, but Daddy forestalls the clamor by saying the blessing himself tonight. We hold hands, and his warm voice prays a benediction over the food, and over each of us.
One of my friends, at his mother’s passing, wrote, “You never realize how precious memories are, until memories are all you have left.” Thank God, for the Christian, it will not always just be memories! For so many, the fading, aging gravestones are the end of the journey, a place to go to remember lost loved ones until they, too, are laid to rest with a stone marking their wooden casket. And the memories fade along with the gravestones until all that remains is a weathered lump of rock and unreadable names and dates.
For Daddy, though, that gravestone is only a door that marked the passage from a life of happiness, pains, sorrows, hopes, dreams, laughter, and tears to a heavenly Home where Time no longer reigned. Where the ache of life was shattered in the everlasting joy of being in the presence of the One he loved. Where the clinging chains of a failing earthly body were broken and the freedom and delight of a perfect heavenly body were given him. Where a weakening voice and heavy hands were replaced with never-ending songs of praise and hands held high in worship to his beloved Savior.
I am sure in that beautiful city the joyous throng before the throne became a little louder, the laughter became a little more frequent, and the sound of feet running down the golden streets echoed a little more often when my Dad walked through those heavenly gates. I remain with the memories, marking the passage of Time, with my eyes turned towards the future and the day I will once again hear his voice and be clasped in his arms.
Happy Anniversary, Dad, even though I’m sure it feels like you only just arrived! I’ll be there soon!