1. He put his family before his career.
My father is an insurance salesman. He could have become very rich. We could have owned bigger cars, lived in a fancier house, and led a pretty luxurious life. Instead, Dad decided very early in his career that his family was more important than all the material comforts this world could offer him.
While his colleagues were out till late at night meeting with clients and building their business, dad was home by 5:30pm, in time to have dinner with us. Our evenings were spent taking walks around the taman, biking along the riverbank, and flying our very own home-made kites in the padang. Dad was the one who taught us to have fun and to enjoy the blessing of life.
As a result, we were never monetarily rich. He taught us that riches was not about money, but about the precious times we spent together as a family, making memories and building our relationships with each another.
Other insurance salesmen may parade around town in their Audis and BMWs while my daddy happily putters around in his little Kancil, but I never had reason to be embarrassed because the time that he gave to us in exchange for glamor and success was worth more than anything one could put a price tag on.
2. He was not afraid of showing emotions and was never too proud to apologize.
Our Asian culture tends to lean toward the understanding that men need to be strong and observationally unaffectionate. They grow up hearing, “Boys cannot cry!” and the concept of “hugs and kisses” is something quite foreign. Not so for my dad.
He lavished us with physical affection, openly told us he loved us, and was never afraid to show us his humanity. He rejoiced with us in the good times and grieved with us in the tough times. The one or two times have seen my father cry shook me up a little, but it was a good reminder that tears are not equivalent to weakness.
Whenever he made mistakes, he was quick to apologize—whether it was to his wife or to his daughters. Dad’s ability to admit his wrongs allowed us to be even more trusting and transparent with him, and his unguarded love for us was especially significant in our teenage years because we simply did not feel the need to seek attention from boys.
3. He didn’t allow his limitations as my earthly father to stand in the way of my Heavenly Father’s plans for me.
My father never once told me what he wanted me to become when I grow up. He didn’t impose his unfulfilled dreams or wishes on me or my sister but simply encouraged us to follow God’s calling on our lives. When I expressed an interest in studying in the US, his response was, “Apply lor.” Other people told him that he would never be able to afford the tuition. They told him he was being foolish.
As it became more evident that I was going to leave home, I remember asking him, “Is this really happening?” He smiled and said, “I guess so!” He told me several years later that when I asked him that, he honestly was not sure it was remotely possible.
But then, he returned from a conference one day and, with great excitement told me something the speaker had said: “If it’s God’s will, it’s God’s bill!” He claimed that promise and sent me off, fully trusting that God will provide for my education and my family’s continued sustenance.
Growing up, dad always told us that God’s providence for our family is like His providence for the widow in the Bible with the little jar of oil that never ran dry. It was never much at a time yet always just enough, and was always replenished when it ran out. Sending me overseas was very much a test of faith for my dad, and I got to witness his reliance on God grow even deeper than ever.
4. He loved (and still loves!) my mother.
Dad is a pastor and a family consultant. He speaks in churches throughout the country and actively serves in many areas of ministry; but his first ministry is to his wife.
My sister and I used to be pretty grossed out when Dad would openly display his affections for Mom. We now know for a fact how important it is for children to know that their parents love each other, and more importantly, that their father loves their mother.
The stability and security that our parents’ strong marital relationship provided for our home environment made an enormous impact in my and my sister’s lives. Not only did Dad set an example for us of what a Godly marriage should be, his love and respect for Mom also indirectly taught us to respect ourselves as young women growing up, and to look for men of quality instead of settle for the first suitor that came along.
5. He consistently demonstrated servant leadership.
The Bible speaks of being a leader who serves his followers. Jesus demonstrated servant leadership by washing His disciple’s feet. Although Dad does not wash the feet of anyone who walks in our front door, he certainly opened our home to anyone who needed a place to rest or feel at home.
For as long as I can remember, Dad has always served in some aspect of ministry or another. He would go out of his way to transport people around, visit the sick or the elderly, and feed growing and hungry students. He shepherds his flock with unbridled generosity, and has the heart to serve those who are often left forgotten.
The best part is that he dragged us along for the ride. We were never too young to participate in his service to God. I remember feeling like I was going to die of boredom while the grownups talked grownup stuff, but I now treasure those memories. Dad never had to tell us that these things are important. We simply learned the things that resonate with God’s heart by watching Dad serve God with his whole heart.
Happy Fathers’ Day!
|Share The Good News|