It relates to much of the ways I see my father.
Like many fathers, Dad gave me a great deal of advice over the years. And like many sons, I rarely listened to it.
But, you see, I did observe my father. I saw what he did, and what he didn’t do.
He never had to tell me about being honest and having integrity, he just lived honestly and with integrity.
He never needed to lecture me about hard work and industry. I saw him work hard every day of his working life.
My father never needed to talk to me about being respectful to women. He just was. In fact, I never heard him denigrate women in any way. And he was always respectful and honoring of my mother.
He didn’t have to preach safety—although he did. He just went out of his way to practice safety in everything we did. It’s likely why most of his crew survived being shot down over Germany in the fall of 1944. And none of my family was ever seriously injured on our farm.
Dad didn’t talk much about humility and generosity. He simply demonstrated it all the time.
He didn’t spend much time explaining the value of good planning. But he planned his work and his business carefully.
He didn’t have to advise me on the value of education. Because he was a lifelong learner. And he read, and still does read, every day.
Dad didn’t tell us to love our country. But we knew he was a patriot and how much his country—and his service to it—meant to him.
So although the advice was there, what mattered most was demonstrating his best at being a good man. And it made all of us boys want to be a good man as well.
He set the standards pretty high. And I know I haven’t lived up to them all the time. Perhaps he didn’t either. But I know he did his best.
His sermon was, and still is, his life. And it mattered.
I’m so proud of you Dad. Happy 90th birthday!
Note: His first book, Ready or Not: Into the Wild Blue,
is available on Amazon (print and Kindle version)