My Father

There is no doubt that my father was the chief influence Yehovah used for the direction of my life.

One nursery rhyme my father used to love to quote goes like this:

“There was a little girl who had a curl in the middle of her forehead.

When she was good she was very, very good, but when she was bad she was horrid.”

This is a pretty good description of my father.  He had some extremely good character qualities, but he also had an incredible temper.

In many ways he was one of the best men I ever knew.  One of his outstanding qualities was honesty.  Not only did he want to be honest, but he did not want to appear to be dishonest to others.  He would go out of his way to do extra things so that everyone knew he was being honest.  He conveyed the importance of that truth very well to me.

This quality impressed me so much that he himself told me once that I was too honest.  What he meant was that I tended to tell people things that were none of their business in order to be sure I never lied.

Another of his qualities he was his love of the Bible.  He regularly read and studied it, and taught it in adult Sunday School class.  The little Presbyterian church in which I grew up did not have a full-time pastor, but shared a pastor with a church in another neighborhood.  As a result we had only Sunday School in the morning, and church at night.  As a replacement for the morning church service my father would read the Bible and attempt to discuss it with our family around the table after the noon meal on Sunday.

It was not just his love for scripture that influenced me, but that he would discuss the scripture (or politics) with me.  He would allow me to give my opinion, even though he might disagree, without repercussion.  I could express almost any concept, and his response was generally to explain to my why he felt I was incorrect.

This was a great gift.  This discussions with him has greatly honed my understanding for Elohim’s Word for which I am thankful.  Not only that, but it motivated me to venture into areas of understanding that I might not have normally ventured into except for the great spiritual hunger the discussions created.  Also, the affection I developed for my Dad through these discussions helped me to overcome the bitterness that developed in my siblings, because of my father’s angry discipline.

His anger was what made my father “horrid”.  He would get angry and spank us beyond reasonable limits.  Numerous times his spanking gave me large bruises on my behind.  I’m sure it was the same with my brother and sisters.

Even worse than the anger with which he disciplined us was the fact that many times his anger was for trivial things.  A few times I recalled being spanked undeservedly.

Although his spanking was extreme at times, I don’t ever recall him slapping or hitting me.  His discipline was always with a belt or stick given on my behind.

One thing that he applied for psychological effect, I believe, is that he would chase us as if he were going to kick us in the behind to motivate us to move faster, but as I look back I do not ever recall him actually connecting the kick.

Because of his over-correction I believe my brother and sisters still seem to have anger and to have difficulty forgiving him.  Though I have some struggle with this I believe having a forgiving spirit has been easier to me, because of the conversations we would have concerning the scripture.

My mother once asked me if I knew what happened to the old, heavy belt with which my Dad used to spank us.

I told her that I had realized at one point that he was no longer using the belt, but did not know what had happened to it.

She said, “I threw it away”.

The only answer I could give to that was, “God bless you!”

My father died of prostate cancer from which he might have been spared if he had not put off going to the doctor until he could wait no longer.  Unfortunately by the time he got to the doctor the cancer had metastasized, and all the doctors could do was to try to keep him as comfortable as possible.

One advantage if you can use that word concerning dying of cancer over something fast like a heart attack was that the slow nature of my Dad’s death gave me the opportunity to sit and talk with him, kiss him on the cheek, and tell him that I loved him.  That has helped me NOT to have regrets concerning my father.

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