Minister’s forum: A tribute to two rock-solid dads
This past February my family said good-bye to my father-in-law, George Alexander. I lost my own father back in 1992. Last Sunday, Father’s Day, I wrote this for them.
Though each differed in many ways they both shared characteristics that made them members of what Tom Brokaw has labeled by a book of the same name, “World War II Veterans, The Greatest Generation.”
My own father, Joe, was a Marine, and George was a soldier in the Army. Duty was not taken lightly. They both raised large families in the midst of a polarized and tumultuous cultural setting and, through it all, they stayed married to their kid’s mothers till the end.
Interestingly, both men worked until the day they died. My dad passed on much too early, at the age of 69. George, however, stayed vibrant until the ripe old age of 87, and still worked as an accountant. One of his clients, incidentally, flew across the country to see him before he died, arriving in the nick of time to express his appreciation for what he called his second father.
Words like integrity, compassion, rock solid, and intelligent come to mind when I describe the characteristics they possessed.
They both had friends in spades. My dad disciplined his five kids like a Marine, quickly and to the point. George disciplined his five kids like a seasoned psychologist.
Both got the same results: kids who respected their elders, showed up to work on time, and went the extra mile whenever necessary.
None of the kids on either side lacks the fortitude to stand up for themselves or the humility to be gracious.
Both men strived to teach their children a work ethic; both succeeded. Both taught their families the value of family and helping the less fortunate and, most importantly, they taught us by example to honor God in Christ first and foremost. Without that spiritual fortress I would have failed.
They never quit on me, and my father-in-law mentored me in so many ways after my own dad’s death, that I went through the grief of losing a father all over again last February.
When God commanded “honor your father and mother,” he never let on just what a privilege that would be for me. Because aside from everything else I could write about them, both taught me this greatest of truths:
“As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Thanks Dad(s).
– Dan Wilvers is a pastor at Sierra Community Church.