As we all know at this point, Father’s Day is tomorrow. While we’re preparing to honor and celebrate the men who have been a father or a father figure to us, I’ve been thinking…
What are the TOP things I've learned from the two greatest fathers I’ve known- my dad and grandfather?
As I narrow these thoughts down, I hope you too reflect on the lessons your own father or other great men in your life have taught you. Share in the comments! Now to let you in on some incredible life lessons.
The top thing I learned from my dad is...
As a “free spirit,” I butted heads with my dad's structure a lot when I was young. He was routine and immovable. I didn’t want to make up my bed and didn’t see the big deal about walking in a few minutes late. What I know now that I’m older, is that he was giving me a firm place to ground my life when I may have just floated around without a ton of purpose otherwise. Now that I’m older, I see his routines for what they truly are- disciplines that cause slow growth over time.
Every morning I’d come down the stairs and dad would be there, eating breakfast, sipping coffee, and reading his devotion book and Bible. Every. Single. Day.
He says it wasn’t on purpose, but he’d always leave his books open on the table after he was finished. Curiosity would get the best of me and I’d find myself sitting in his seat and, between bites of Cheerios, pouring through the pages he had just finished. Every. Single. Day.
Dad taught me through his very simple morning routine a fundamental part of my faith: Discipline is a determined decision with direct action. 1 Corinthians 9:27 parallels it to the commitment and training of an athlete. It’s practicing even when you don’t want to that day. It’s putting in the hard work, not for the instant reward, but for the long-term benefits. It’s anything you do to create endurance so that you stay in the faith game.
The simple daily grind takes hard-core discipline. It’s a determined decision to train to become a woman under the authority of God’s Word, participate in her story, and actively share the love of Jesus in her generation. No matter what it takes. Every. Single. Day.
The greatest lesson my grandfather taught me was...
My grandfather came to the states from Puerto Rico. He was a pastor's kid, the youngest of six children, without a lot of money or possessions. After the Korean War, the GI Bill allowed him to come to the US and get an education. He went on to learn everything his possibly could and get several degrees, work for the US Government, serve in churches and countries across the globe, and love on every person he ever met.
In all things, he always would first thank God and recognize the role He had in guiding, protecting and providing for him.
I can still picture my grandaddy speaking or preaching. He would stand on any platform and tell stories of how he was blown up in the war and survived, receiving a Purple Heart. He would recount when he was swept out to sea and survived by holding onto a rock in the middle of the ocean until he was rescued. He‘d talk about being in a plane crash that landed in the tops of trees that he not only lived through, but helped other survivors to safety as well. Insane things. He lived this life people make movies out of.
He would finish certain parts of his story and pause, meeting anyone in the audience dead in the eye through his square-rimmed glasses. As if he was letting you in on the greatest secret in the world, he would softly say, “BUT GOD still held me in the palm of His hand.”
For a man who accomplished so much, I never saw him take the glory for anything. He simply and powerfully always thanked God.
He taught me that God’s got me. I’m in His hand always. All that I do, all that I have, comes from Him. Be overwhelmingly grateful so that gratitude overflows from your life and spills out onto others.
I could go on and on about these men who set such incredible examples for me, but for today I wanted to just share these bulletproof life lessons in the hopes that they speak to and inspire you to celebrate the great men God has put in your life.
I would be amiss to not acknowledge that there are several of you reading this who didn't have a father, or your dad was absent, abusive, or not the leader he was called to be. I also know that there are others who are still longing to raise a family, waiting to celebrate a man by your side as a father on this day. Others have lost a father or father figure. So many things can make this day so incredibly hard.
I don’t have words that fix that. I’m not going to offer you solutions. I just want to give you permission after reading this to give it to God, your Heavenly Father. He can handle the hurt, anger, doubt. Just let it out. Tell Him about it. Let Him hold you this Father’s Day.
Kaley Rivera Thompson is an author, copywriter, public speaker, and musician. She serves as the Director of Communications and Donor Relations for the student sports-centric nonprofit she and her husband, Gage, run called Twelve. When she's not championing other women, cheering on the rising generation, writing or playing her guitar, Kaley loves to sip strong coffee, go on hikes, or take a day trip to the mountains with her family. She takes the most pride in being a mom to two little girls, Lina and Lili. You can follow her on instagram at @kriverathompson or find out more on her website at kriverathompson.com.