My Dad Sure Learned a Lot
Sunday - June 21st
Scripture to Read for Today's Devotional: Proverbs 23:22-25
Today's Selection from our Sermon on the Mount Reading Plan: Matthew 5:1-12
Listen to your father, who gave you life...
"When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years." Mark Twain's comments about how much his father had learned over the years echo how I felt about my Dad. The first time I heard this quote, I fully got what he was saying. It was the same way I felt about my Dad as I left adolescence and headed into adulthood.
As a young teenager, you think your Dad is a good guy, but he just doesn't get it. He does not understand the way the world works now. My Dad would harp on us that when we were paying the bills one day, we would turn off the lights when we left an empty room at our house to save on the electric bill. He used to say we would take care of things like his tools if they were ours. I could go on and on about these kinds of comments during my formative years. Dad's comments like these even prompted me to quote him and explain to my grandmother (his mother) how irritating he was with these statements.
After owning my own car, having my own place, and actually paying bills, in my early twenties, I found myself seeing my Dad more and more as a man who had grown and learned a lot in recent years. Of course, the humor in Twain's quote is just how much we project the learning on our Dads and ignore how much we have grown up. The longer I live, the wiser my Dad gets.
The Book of Proverbs provides a collection of wise statements to help us live life successfully in a practical way. Many scholars believe the collection was put together by King Solomon of Israel to be shared with his sons. Proverbs 23:22-25 explains the blessing our parents can be in our lives. It boldly declares, "Listen to your father, who gave you life..." (v.22). My Dad isn't perfect, and I have not always followed his advice, but he has much more wisdom than I realized during my teen years.
On this Father's Day, if you can speak with your father, thank him for the wisdom he did share with you as you were growing up. If you can't talk to your Dad anymore, share with someone else in your family something wise your Dad shared with you when you were young - maybe you didn't even think it was wise at the time. It might be something good to share with your own kids.
It helps strengthen our relationships with our kids and grandkids when they hear us referencing growth in our own lives or the lives of those before us. If you had a difficult or painful childhood, and your Dad was a part of making it that way, you may struggle to share something positive. In that case, share with others the kind of wisdom you hope to share with the next generation.
Happy Father's Day, Dad! Like Twain said about his Dad, you indeed learned a lot from the time I was 14 until I was 21!
Most of us realize that when we were growing up, we did not give our Dad's credit for the wisdom they shared with us. Thank God for Dads!