Making sense of life is sometimes best done by looking back at it. It is after looking at the events and the impact of the people involved, you can get a clearer picture of the why and the how it all fits together.
I think this is true as it applies to my memories of Father’s Day. When I was a little boy Father’s Day meant buying gifts for this giant of a man in my life who wanted little and gave a lot. One of the hardest tasks was looking for something unique to give my Dad. Unlike other men, my Dad was not into cars or clothes or cultural trends. This didn’t mean he didn’t have good taste; he knew and appreciated fine things. His focus was on people. He loved to talk to people, helping people, studying people.
His early childhood was molded by the “Great Depression”, where those on the TOP of the financial ladder where hit hard, but the people on the Bottom were rolled over a couple of times in the dust of financial waste.
Because of the financial hardships of his time and a number of other factors he was not able to finish High School. Later in life he did obtain his GED. In spite of his educational setbacks, my dad was a strong believer in higher education. He held his children accountable for homework, class attendance and behavior and most of all preparing for college.
Dad also had a major impact on my relationship with my wife Phyllis. Dad made sure early in our marriage that Phyllis understood she was more than welcomed in our family and it was my responsibility to honor and take care of her. His words and actions made her feel like she was a Queen in the Kingdom of Jenkins. He never interfered with our marriage and if he had he would have probably sided with her.
It took me a while to figure out what Dad was doing. He was setting the template for his firstborn on how to love and care for his wife. Dad was sharing with me the painful lessons he learned from his failed marriage to my mom.
The lessons he wanted me to learn were:
- If you want to be treated like a King by your wife, treat her like a Queen.
- People are important but people shouldn’t run or interfere with your marriage.
- Words impact your marriage so chose your words carefully (ouch, still learning this one).
- Help your wife discover her purpose and she will blossom.
- Keep your promises.
- Get a job and provide for your family.
- Always say “I love you” more than “I am sorry”.
- Find ways to make your marriage special.
- Carry confidence but cover it with humility.
- Spoil your grandchildren. (This one came easy when it was my turn to be a grandfather).
Thanks Dad for being a special Father and I will always love you. My Dad passed in 2005.
Dave Jenkins, Sr.
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