An annual tribute to my father and encouragement to you:
Born in 1917, four years after his parents immigrated from the south of Russia, he spent his early years growing up in Nebraska. The family continued to speak Russian in the home so when it came time to go to school, the young boy was held back a year until he could learn English. Railroad work took his family to Missouri where he proved to be a good worker and strong athlete through school. He joined his dad working in the roundhouse at the railyard until the attack on Pearl Harbor changed the direction of his life. He enlisted in the Navy, completed flight school at Pensacola, Florida, and earned his wings after successfully completing multiple take-offs and landings off a carrier in Lake Superior. He met the woman of his dreams and they were married just before he was deployed to the South Pacific. He flew Hellcats off the USS Wasp until he was discharged in 1944.
Dad struggled mightily after the war with what had not yet been identified as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He was still athletic enough to take up tennis in his forties and became quite passionate about the game. I remember watching a classic Wimbledon match between Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall in the ‘60’s on a black and white television. I enjoyed it thoroughly with color commentary provided by Dad during each point. He went Home in 1994 but this Father’s Day I would like to honor Dad by thanking him for his service as a Navy pilot in WWII, for instilling a good work ethic in me, for passing on a love for the great game of tennis and for being my dad.
Father’s Day is two weeks out. I encourage you to write a letter of thanks to your dad. If you are that one in a thousand dads that has already written a tribute to your dad, I tip my cap to you. If you are like me, it may be one of the hardest things you have tried to do because the relationship was strained or non-existent. It is important to write the letter and send it to your dad. If he is not alive, read the letter to your wife and kids.
“Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” – Ephesians 6:2-3. The middle commandment from Exodus 20:12 is restated here in the New Testament. It is easily overlooked because Jesus summed up the commands with, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”- Matthew 22:37-39. While there is no mention of the middle commandment, Jesus walked it – He honored His Father with ever step He took on this earth. Honor your father today and experience the promise being fulfilled.
Honoring Dad tips leading up to Father’s Day:
- Meet with your dad or a man of his generation in your church and discuss fathering;
- Write a letter of tribute to your dad. If he is not alive, read the letter to your family;
- Initiate an Honor Your Father 3-point Challenge in your church.
Prayer guide: Thank You Lord for the earthly father You blessed me with. Thank You for the promise that as I honor my father, all may go well and I may enjoy long life. I and my family have been blessed as You showed me the significance of the command to honor my father. Equip all fathers and spiritual fathers with full comprehension of the power behind this command to honor for the sake of generations to come. Amen.
A faithful father honors his father with a letter of tribute.