Memorial Day 2014

Memorial Day 2014

Well, here we are.  Another Memorial Day.  A day where we take time to remember those that have fought so bravely in the Armed Services.  A day where we take the day off to spend with family and friends.  A day where we visit cemeteries to honor those that have passed on before us.  It’s a solemn day.

For me, today, I am remembering my dad.  He passed away in 2012 of a heart attack after mowing the grass at the young age of 60.  He was a bi-vocational pastor who retired from a factory after working there 30 years.  He enjoyed a second career working in a hospital as an EKG tech while continuing to preach and pastor.  I think about him every day…but especially this day.

I have written on grieving in a previous post.  But, for this Memorial Day, I wanted to write about my dad.  He had such an impact on my life and I am the person I am because of him.  And, the older I get, the more I see and realize that I am just like him – in the way I talk, the way I parent, the way I look, etc…  There are 3 things that I want to highlight about my dad as a tribute to him as well as a leadership lesson for the rest of us:

1. My dad laughed often.  He always had a joke to tell or some quippy thing to say to make everyone laugh.  He had an approach to life that allowed him to add levity and have fun regardless of where he found himself.  Because of this, people liked him and they wanted to be around him.  As his son, I remember that my time with dad was often full of laughter and fun times.  As leader, this example in my life has given me the gift of laughing about things and trying to find humor in most of life’s situations.  Those around us appreciate when we’re not serious all the time and when they can count on us to make them laugh…or at least laugh along side them.

2. My dad liked people.  My dad was a people person.  I believe that he had a knack for always seeing the best in people and giving them chance after chance (almost to a fault).  But, when you talked to my dad, it was like you were the most important thing to him in that moment.  He remembered people and names and situations.  It was amazing to watch someone come up to him when we were at a public place and he knew their name and always asked how their father, mother, sister, friend, or whoever was doing because they had shared they were sick, or depressed, or down and out.  My dad cared about people and they knew it.  As leaders, people are what we’re about.  If we don’t like or care for people – genuinely – then we are failing at our #1 responsibility.  For me, I learned from my dad how to listen and the importance of remembering names and situations.  It’s an invaluable skill as a leader.

3.  My dad loved God.  You may think that since he was a pastor he had to love God.  And maybe you’re right.  But I believe that he had a genuine conversion experience.  He was raised in a home with alcoholic parents and abuse.  He met Jesus as a teenager and then followed a call into ministry.  Not because he had to – but because he had seen God work in his life.  I wish I could hear from my dad all of the ways he has seen God work in the lives of others, because I’m sure there are hundreds of stories.  His life was his testimony.  People who interacted with him saw a righteous man who always lived his life with integrity and pointing back to God for every blessing in his life.  As a leader, we must have a higher purpose.  Without it, why lead?  This transcendent cause that my dad lived for and about is a cause that saw many people come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ and a growing walk with the Lord.  For me, it has always rooted me in the faith and kept me centered on a higher purpose as I lead others.  Because my faith dictates my leadership.

Who are you remembering today?  Who invested in your leadership and made you the leader/person you are today?  Share your thoughts below…

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17 thoughts on “Memorial Day 2014

  1. Jacqueline Gum

    My father was also the most influential person in my life, though I lost him when I was young. However, the lessons he taught me were done by example…he was kind to others, never spoke harshly to anyone…though I saw him take a breath every now again to avoid that and chose to do the right thing very often when it wasn’t the easiest thing.

    1. Thanks Jacqueline! I can totally relate. In fact, I would say that since I was able to see my dad “behind the scenes” and the choices he made in spite of he feelings/emotions/hurts, it built for me an even deeper level of respect. It’s a side that very few people were privileged to see.

  2. Paul Graham

    Hi Tim. Expanding the parameters of Memorial Day to include those we love and who influenced us is a very positive approach. Like yours, my dad always looked for the best in everyone and was good to be around as a result of it. If I look at all of those who most influenced my leadership style, despite being highly diverse in other ways, they all had in common the capacity for finding the best in everyone, making sure the rest of the group knew and valued it, and creating an environment where every strength was applied to the benefit of all.

    1. Hello Paul! Thanks for your comments! I think you’ve written the outline to a leadership blog post! I love your 3 points!! It’s great that you’ve been able to have those influences in your life. So important…

  3. What a wonderful way to spend Memorial Day and a moving tribute to your father. My dad was also someone who I respected and loved greatly and a tremendous influence on the way I now live my life. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Lenie! My dad was able to impact the lives of many people. I am still healing from his passing, but I wanted to pay tribute to him so that I had something in writing to encourage me on the bad days. i guess this post was mostly for me. 🙂 So glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Tim

    My dad was rarely in my life and caused more heartache than pleasure. He passed away and I spent the night talking to him and clearing the air. Today and always I remember my mother.

    1. Thanks for your comment Tim. I’m so sorry that your dad wasn’t there. I am glad, however, that you’re able to have good memories of your mom. Whether it’s our mom or dad or someone else, it’s important that we all have someone that touches our lives and makes us better people because of it.

  5. Beth -

    Your post reminded me of my dad. He too was a pastor and he truly loved his calling. He thought of Heaven as a place where people could work(!) at their favorite thing and regretted that his profession would not be needed.

    1. Thanks so much for commenting Beth! I guess our dads’ reward will be that they get to see the people that made it there because of something they did or said…

  6. SoloMom TakesFlight

    Your dad sounds wonderful. What a great man to remember.

    1. Thanks so much! He was a wonderful man. Who do you have in your life that’s served as a mentor or someone that’s guided you in life?

  7. Hi Tim,
    I hope you have an enjoyable Memorial Day.
    Thank you for sharing about your Dad. I experienced abuse and violence while growing up. But I’ve known since age 12 that God has had His anthropomorphic hand on my life.


    1. Hey Bill! Thanks so much for posting! I’m so sorry for what you went through as a child. I am glad, though, that God has become, from an early age, the One that you can count on and look to for all you need. He is a father like no other!

  8. Meredith Wouters

    What a wonderful tribute to your dad! Remembering (and trying to learn from) people like him is as important as remembering our fallen military heroes, for men like him have shaped our country as well. It sounds like God blessed him with you, too. 🙂 I remember my grandfather in much the same way. (Not to say any less of my dad, but thankfully he’s still alive.) He was a quiet, gentle, loving man and was truly God’s gift to our family.

    1. Thanks so much Meredith! I failed to mention it in the post, but he also served in the military for a short time. He has been an example to me in so many ways. I’m so glad that you had the influence of your grandfather in your life. People like that are God-given gifts to us!

  9. […] Day is a very special day for me.  I wrote about my own father back on Memorial Day.  But, today, is a day that I really look forward to.  Being a father is one of the greatest joys […]

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