To My Kids on Father’s Day: A Tribute to My Dad and Yours


To my kids on Father’s Day,

My dad wasn’t in the hospital room when I was born. Neither was he in the room for the birth of any of my five siblings. I’m not sure if banning fathers from birthing rooms was a regional thing, or if all of the dads of the 70’s and 80’s were required to take the “I’ll just be in the waiting room” approach.

On the other hand, your dad was in the OR for both of your births. He always helped with diaper changes, and he got up in the middle of the night with me to change.

My dad and your dad are different in a lot of ways. They have different strengths and different weaknesses. They have different ways of interacting with their kids. But watching the way my dad loved us, right up until he passed away, and watching the way your dad loves you, I have come to an important realization.

There are so many ways to be a good dad.

My dad, your Papa, was an Alabama-raised preacher. He pronounced the word “corner” like “co-ner,” and all six of us kids would snicker when his southern drawl came out so obvious. He dragged us kids to every thrift store, estate sale, and garage sale we came across. He taught us to sing when we were barely old enough to read. My siblings and I would sing harmony parts to old gospel songs with my dad accompanying us on the piano. Music and Jesus were both ingrained into our family culture. He loved Alabama football, which is why some of your first words were, “Roll Tide!”

Your Papa had a knack for finding deals. When he took me to college, he drove me to Walmart, walked me up and down the aisles, and showed me how to find the promotional toiletry products that boasted “33% more!” on the front for the same price as the regular size. He bought bags of almost-expired snack products from grocery warehouses, and he’d stock up on clearance meats when he’d find them at the local grocery store. We were never wealthy, but our cabinets and freezer were always full. My daddy made sure of that. 

Then there’s your dad.

He’s a completely different kind of dad. His faith mirrors that of my dad, but otherwise, he is very different. He likes to travel, but he prefers the comforts of home. He is detail-oriented and rarely forgets anything. Your dad does laundry and dishes, allowing me to catch up on work at night when I need to. He loves to budget, but he hates thrift stores and garage sales. Though he’s a minimalist, he likes expensive things. He is musical, too, like your Papa. He doesn’t love sports, and he pretends to know less than he does by referring to all sports as “Sportsballs.”

He’s the kind of dad who packs lunches and lays out your school uniforms every single night to make sure the following morning goes smoothly. He will curl up on the couch with you and read you Bible stories before bed. He will endure multiple episodes of Bluey, and he will even enjoy them. I will soon be leaving the country for a ten day trip, and your rock star dad will take care of everything. I will come home to healthy kids and a clean house.

You are blessed, my children.

Even though my dad was gone before either of you got to know him, you’re both beneficiaries of the way he loved his kids, the way he took care of his family. So many gifts were passed down to me so that I could pass them down to you. Music. Faith. Confidence in God. Love for travel. The ability to find a great deal.

When grandkids came along, your Papa bounced babies on his knees, singing silly songs and making them laugh. These were the same songs I sang to you. These are songs I still sing to you. 

From your dad you are learning to be disciplined. To be prepared. To keep a budget. To love God and pursue him with your whole heart. To be willing to have an equal hand in a marriage, each of you doing the things you are gifted to do. You will carry these lessons with you. They are forming who you are and how you will live.

These are your gifts.

I pray that you always know what we’ve been given in my dad and also in yours.