Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

I awoke at 7 am to the sound of my phone ringing. I looked at the caller ID and smiled.

It was my Dad on the line.

He was calling me to confirm where we were going to meet for our Father’s Day lunch later that day. In the past I would have been annoyed at him calling me so early in the morning.

Couldn’t have you just texted a brotha?

But over the past several years my attitude has changed. I am finally starting to understand the true value of my Dad.

This path towards understanding and appreciation wasn’t always a smooth one. When I was a little boy I looked up to him so much. He was one of the engineers that helped design the three rockets on the back of the Space Shuttle (he was not the O-Ring guy). I thought this was incredibly cool. For all intensive purposes my dad was a rocket scientist.

How many kids can say that?

But in a lot of ways that’s all that I knew about him. I knew he was super smart and by extension I was smart, because of course how could I not be? But I didn’t know much else. I could tell you this though… I sure knew that he always had something to say about what it means to be a man.

Dad: Ok Mayne your chore is to take out the trash.

6 year old Me: But why, why can’t Shawnte do it?

Dad: Because women don’t touch trash, men do. That’s the man’s job.

6 year old Me: FINE!

Growing up was a lot like this. Sometimes I felt like an indentured servant. He had me scrubbing the carpets, weeding the lawn (it was all weeds!!!), hauling rocks, cutting the grass (when we had grass) cleaning the garage, planting flowers, changing tires... Every time that he had me do these things he would help for the first hour or so. We would do it together so that he could show me how it should be done. Then he’d leave me to do it myself.

Man I hated that.

He also made us go to church every Sunday. He’d always connect some life lesson that he had for me with some scripture in the Bible.

Super annoying!!!!

I even decided to read the Bible from cover to cover in high school just to see if all that stuff he was saying was true! (drats… it was).

The first time that I began to understand these lessons he was teaching me was in high school. He had a 1988 Toyota Tercel while my Stepmom was stylin’ in her Bonneville. One day on the way home from school the following conversation happened:

Dad: do you know why I’m driving this car and she is driving her car?”

Me: No, why?

Dad: Because if anyone has to drive the beat up car it’s the man. If you have two cars and one might stop on the road then you drive that car. If you have one car then she gets to drive it and you take the bus. It’s the man’s job to make sure his wife is safe and secure.

Years later when I look back on all of the lessons, and nagging, and hard labor I realize that he was doing the best that he could to prepare me to be a good man.

Being a man means being a leader. And being a leader means being the biggest servant.

As I have grown into being a young man I am seeing the fruits of his labor in my values. Just like the rest of us my dad wasn’t perfect, but he did always try his best to be the best man and father he could be.

So when I was stirred from my sleep at 7 am Sunday morning I awoke with a smile on my face. I was happy because that phone call meant that I still have the opportunity to learn more and grow more with the guidance of a great man in my life.

It may have taken me a while to fully appreciate it, but I’m glad that I do not take it for granted any more.

Thanks Dad.


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A Convo With God by Clarence Mitchell III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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