My Father Is a Man Worthy of Honor: Lessons Learned by a Daughter

"Honor your father and your mother, that you may live long in the land."

Our culture is barren of honor. We have no idea what it means to honor another person, much less do we seek to honor those who deserve it, and even less do we come close to honoring those who we are commanded by God to honor. The phrase I quoted above is what Jesus called the first commandment with promise. If we obey this command and give honor to our fathers and our mothers, we are promised long life.

I have a confession to make. I am guilty of not honoring my father as I should. I am guilty of criticizing him, of thinking badly of him, of ignoring his true worth. I have laughed at him when I should not have laughed. I have not valued him or respected his judgments. I have trusted my own ideas and rejected his wisdom. I have occasionally compared him to other fathers. I have held bitterness against him, keeping record of wrongs. It wasn't until recently that I even realized that I was doing this. Now to confess this in print sickens me. Who am I to judge my father? What am I that I represent the standard of goodness? Would I make a better father than he? No, no, a thousand times, no! God has blessed me with a mighty, loving, wise father. This man is the one who, in a sense, has created me. I am who I am because of him. I live because he lives, I eat because he works, I think, laugh, love, and repent because he taught me how. He is as undeserving of my censure as anyone could be; he is blameless and I am the guilty one.

The rest of this article is devoted to honoring my father. I want to praise God for this man and to give my father strength through my respect and admiration of him.

My father is my hero.
My father is my hero.

The Hero

When I was only as tall as my Daddy's knees and could barely reach up to grab his belt buckle, he was the hero of my heart. He swung me up onto his shoulders, blew indian noises into my belly button, flew me around the room in his arms. I acted terrified in a giggly sort of way so that he would do it again. Every evening when he came home from work I would run to him for attention, and to see if he had brought home any Cinderella stickers from the post-office for my scrapbook. Cinderella was to be pitied: her father was only in the first sticker of the story, a vague and shadowy silhouette by the fountain, and then he died. A vicious and power-hungry matriarch took his place in Cinderella's life. But my daddy was here, my daddy was here, my daddy was here. He drilled into me the simple doctrines of life, starting with, "Who made you?"

I shouted out, "God!" and prepared for the next question:

"Who taught you to be so smart?"

"Daddy!"

And he would lean back in his chair and laugh with approval. I wanted nothing more than his approval.

A daughter who wants to honor her father will treat him with respect. http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=767383
A daughter who wants to honor her father will treat him with respect. http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=767383

Servant Hearted

Daddy worked hard for the things he believed in. He also worked hard for us. I remember feeling awed when he came home from work, the warrior bloody from the battle, worn and wizened with the fight for principle, truth, and God's law. I hardly understood then what it was that he worked for, but I was impressed. What he did was the most important thing in the world. I imitated him, pulling out my play phone and a few pieces of paper that I scribbled on as I cradled the receiver in my shoulder and babbled: "Money, money, bla, blah, Johnbirshasitey, money, money. Bye." More scribbles on my important document. More people converted to my daddy's cause.

He is still a hard worker, and I still come into his office as he works and listen to him talk to his clients, learning from what he says, seeking to imitate him. His business is mostly done through sales and service now, but his line of business is insurance, which means he comes into contact with people during some of the most stressful, and crisis-filled moments of their lives. First he asks if anyone is hurt. Then he listens, listens, listens, for hours at a time. When they have sobbed or ranted until they can do no more, he gently gives them principles to stake their lives on. His comforting advice is always applicable, whether his clients are suffering from a chipped windshield or a totaled vehicle. He reminds them to be thankful that they and the members of their family are safe and unharmed. He recites back to them the many blessings they are still in possession of, and reminds them that the things that happen on this earth are only a fraction of importance compared with the weight of eternity. He often reads them a Psalm or a passage from 1 Peter about trials and how they strengthen and test us. I hear a gradual silence and thoughtfulness on the other line. They are listening now, taking it to heart. Occasionally we will come across some of his clients at the local grocery store or park and they will take my dad's hand in theirs and tell me how his sacrificial work for them and wise words have blessed and encouraged them. He is "a treasure," they tell me.

My father has a library that I browse often.
My father has a library that I browse often.

Books, books, books...

Our kitchen table has always been covered by a thin sheen of newspaper articles, clipped or folded and put in front of our places at the table. Articles on economics, on great leaders of history, on new movements or entrepreneurial endeavors, on godly statesmen who took a stand on principle, on authors or books (for me), on new inventions (for my brother), on foreign cultures or language studies (for my sister), on philosophy or theology, and most commonly: on hard money-- gold and silver. He uses these articles to spark discussion, illustrating what he's always told us about how civilizations rise or fall. His avid reading extends to massive volumes that double-stack the bookshelves in his home office and fill up other bookshelves on nearly every wall in our home. He claims he doesn't read enough, but every evening at home or vacation day on the road includes a stack of articles or a briefcase of books. As a result, his knowledge is vast. Nearly any topic, and certainly every current event, has a place in his memory; all we have to do is show the slightest bit of interest and his well-informed memory kicks into verbalization.

One night as a little girl I was being tucked into bed by Daddy. On a whim, I asked him to tell me a story. It was usually my mother who told the stories, as my father had more of a mindset for facts and figures, but he surprised me by beginning: "Once upon a time," he told me, "there was a little girl who had big ideas, and she grew up and wrote a book. She became a great author and many people were influenced by the words she wrote."

I begged him to tell me if the story was about me. He said that I would just have to wait and see.

Marital Commitment

I used to take my father's love for my mother for granted. Don't Daddies always love Mommies? And isn't it always embarrassing when you accidentally come into the kitchen and see Daddy kissing Mommy? And what do people mean when they say they are "in love?"

As I grew up, I began to understand. Marital love became a beautiful thing, and I saw it day by day in the way my parents treated each other, spoke to each other, and touched each other. It was honor. It was respect. It was affection and a desire to serve. It was a mother and a father "in love" with each other. By my mother's language and attitude, I saw what it meant to joyfully submit, obey, respect, uplift, encourage and serve a husband. By my father's language and attitude, I saw what it meant to cherish, to lead, to protect, to serve, to be the strong tower for a wife. His affection for my mother meant our family was in God's hands.

My Father, My Friend

How can I ever sum up what my father has taught me? Work hard. Work efficiently. Be diligent. Be organized. Write thank-you notes. Save half of your earnings before you spend anything. Read your Bible every day. Make a list of everything you need to do. Obey your mother immediately. Memorize Scripture. Look for ways to serve others. Double-space your rough draft. Hold your silverware correctly, put your napkin on your lap, and keep your elbows off the table. Balance your checkbook as soon as you get your bank statement. Never miss church unless you are unbearably ill. Don't complain, whine, pout, or protest. Stand on Biblical principles and don't be afraid to be called "radical" if that's what it takes to obey God. Eat all of the food on your plate. Look people in the eye when greeting or speaking with them. Set goals, not "resolutions."

More recently my relationship with my father has developed into a deep friendship. I would obey to the death any command of his, and he knows that. He would fight to the death for my well-being, my safety, my purity, my soul, and my heart. And I know that. Rather than giving me commands, he has gradually begun to give me advice. His instruction comes more in the medium of conversation and discussion, rather than verdicts. If it happens that a situation requires a command from him, I will gladly and immediately obey. He is my leader, father, friend. This relationship did not happen in a night, nor in a year. I have had to re-learn to honor and admire my father as I have struggled through doubts, weaknesses, and sins that caused me to forget my father's wisdom. Every girl needs a man in her life; I, sadly, have not always been humble enough to realize that I need my father. My fantasies about my future "man" mirrored the man who was always the hero of my story: my father. I didn't realize until recently that God has already placed a man worthy of honor and adoration into my life. I didn't realize that Cinderella still has a father, that he never left, and that her father would make sure the boot would fit Prince Charming's foot.

The other day Daddy took me out to lunch. My heart jumps up into my throat when I think of it: it meant so much to me. It meant he wanted to spend time with me, that he cared about what was going on in my mind and heart, that he valued me and cherished me, that he wanted to know me. We sampled wine, shared each other's food, laughed over the waitress's idiosyncrasies, then got deep into conversation. By nature, I'm usually the one asking questions or listening during any given conversation. I must've learned it from Daddy, because he asked me questions and directed the conversation so I'd have to talk about myself. When I had said all I could, he supported me with encouragement about trusting God's timing (in his words: "God created us, so He must know how to direct our steps and make things happen"). As we got out of the car, I told Daddy that this time together would keep me going for a long time. I hope someday he knows how much it meant to me.

My father teaches us from the book of Proverbs.
My father teaches us from the book of Proverbs.

Words of Wisdom

My father loves the book of Proverbs. He also loves to make people laugh. Put that together and you get a piece of witty wisdom tailored exactly for a particular member of the family. "Throwing snowballs stirs up anger, but a soft answer turns away wrath." "They will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me, but they will not find me. For I am in the bathroom, taking my time." "A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and all the pancakes are eaten up before you come down for breakfast." "Who can find a wife like Mommela? For her price is far above rubies." "A scoundrel and a villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth, who winks with his eye, signals with his feet, and cracks his knuckles..."

Without fail, every mention of silver or false balances produces a lesson on money. He explains the difference between "God's money" and the "false balance" paper money which is continually losing value and is not backed up by silver and gold. It has become a family joke now because we have been taught about it so many times, but anyone outside of the family who has a question about currency and real value gets a great introduction to the topic and usually ends up with a silver coin in his pocket, a token to remember what money of real value feels like. We love to re-tell the story of our dad asking the cashier of McDonald's if she accepts Federal Reserve Notes. She hums and haws, lifts an eyebrow or two, then goes back to ask the manager. The manager comes out to the counter, my dad repeats his question, then finally pulls a Federal Reserve Note out of his wallet and points to the inscription on the dollar bill. "Oh, that?" they ask. "Sure, we take those."

He is your father, he is worthy of honor...

My father is not perfect, and he'd be the first to remind you if you mentioned it. At times I've resented him for what I've thought are his imperfections, holding a particular weakness over his head as if he was undeserving of my love because of it. Truth be told, love is not something that effortlessly streams out when there is someone lovely nearby; love is something we must choose to do, and love sometimes requires showing honor and respect to someone whose honor and respectability may be hard to see. However, the more you act like you love, disciplining your attitudes and thoughts to be loving, the more naturally that the attitude of love comes! I had no idea my father was such an amazing, wise, and impressive man until I made up my mind that I was going to obey the commandment and start honoring my father. By the very words I chose to use and the actions and expressions I let escape, I sought to build up my father in both my estimation and, I hope, in his own.

There is nothing more demeaning for a man than to be disrespected and looked down upon by the people he works hard to serve and protect. Sons and daughters, listen to me. Your father is motivated by his success as a father. If you praise and honor him for the good things he's done (no matter how small) without criticizing him for things he hasn't done (no matter how big) he will be motivated. He will work harder to be a better father. This isn't manipulation or flattery. This is doing what God has commanded you to do. Your father is a man worthy of honor by the mere definition of his role. He is your father, he is worthy of honor. You are his child, you must honor him. By your honor, you will see just how honorable, trustworthy, and capable he is. I regret that it has taken me so long to apply these principles, and I pray that my failing to honor him has not discouraged him or made his role as my father difficult.

I'm still learning. I'm still trying to figure out what can better honor my Daddy, and still examining my heart when it begins to mumble and murmur. I am listening for other people's praise of him, and delighting when others give him a complement or thank him. I watch my mother's words and actions, seeing the honor and admiration she shows him. Someday I will have a new role in a new man's life, and I will wear the glass slippers my father has trained me to wear.

© 2009 Jane Grey

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32 comments

Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 7 years ago from United States

Beautiful hub. I've learned this lesson somewhat the hard way. But I've learned.


eovery profile image

eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

This is neat that you can write this. I started one on my mother who died when I was 15, but I could not finish it.

Keep on hubbing!


Rose West profile image

Rose West 7 years ago from Michigan

A beautiful tribute! You are truly blessed in your father, and he in you! I hope that I can honor my father as much as you have yours. Your words are convicting as well as encouraging.


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 7 years ago from Oregon Author

Thank you all for your thoughtful comments!

Joy At Home, it sounds like I have a few things I can learn from you! But that's nothing new-- I've already learned a lot from your articles.

Eovery, I hope that someday you will gain the healing and strength you need to finish writing about your mother, even if it just for yourself and not for anyone else to see. Sometimes the hardest hubs to write are the ones we need to write the most.

Rose West, your comments were a blessing to me because I have seen and heard you honor your father many times and I often look to you to gage my actions.


pjdscott profile image

pjdscott 7 years ago from Durham, UK

Such writing as this, with its depth of feeling and insight, makes hubpages really worth while. Like you, I was lucky to have a wonderful father but probably didn't appreciate him enough when he was alive.

By coincidence it was the anniversary of his death quite recently, so you writing has allowed me to reflect and appreciate his goodness - thank you.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

I had been wondering where you have been. You disappeared from HubPages for awhile. Welcome back.

I am truly moved by your beautiful story. Your father is quite a man. And I can tell by your words, he reared quite a lady. God Bless You!


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 7 years ago from Oregon Author

Hello Mr. Watkins!

Again, thank you as always for reading and commenting. Your encouragement has often blessed me. My father is a wonderful man and the best of fathers. I am honored by your praise of him!

Yes, I was busy teaching and grading this fall, and wasn't able to work on putting up hubs very much until now- Thanksgiving break. I'm glad to see you are still around as well!


Hannah 7 years ago

Unrelated thoughts:

After reading this, I had to write a note to my Dad saying how much I appreciated him.

All the little anecdotes were really touching. It gave your article interest and poignency.

I was one of the lucky recipents of a real coin and I still think a lot about real money vs. paper.


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 7 years ago from Oregon Author

Hannah,

There is nothing you could have said that would have encouraged and fulfilled me more. Thank you! You are a true and dear friend.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Your wonderful hub reminded me of my own father - a wonderful man. I think we always have some feelings of guilt after they're gone - no matter how good a daughter we were.


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon Author

I would love to hear more about your father, habee! I am blessed to have my father alive and well; I pray I will have many more years to serve and to bless him.


ThisIsMyNameMan 6 years ago

An astonishingly heartfelt and loving tribute to your father. I was moved by your words and feelings, for quite a few of them mirrored mine. My wonderful father - I used to worship the ground he walked on even as I used to argue with him! - is no more, and I have to find other ways of honouring him. But it is lovely that you still have your father, and I am sure that by now he knows you honour him, and he must be immensely proud of you. You have a lovely and noble soul, and your family is blessed.


ThisIsMyNameMan 6 years ago

I found these words particularly meaningful... "There is nothing more demeaning for a man than to be disrespected and looked down upon by the people he works hard to serve and protect". I couldn't have said this better.

I unfortunately have no children, but I have cousins who have children who are fond of me. Sometimes they confide in me about "difficulties" with their parents. I will repeat these words to them to remind them about what is ultimately most important to remember.


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon Author

Hello ThisIsMyNameMan,

I appreciate your thoughtful comments, and hearing about your own relationship with your father. I'm sure you must miss him incredibly now that he's gone; I'd like to encourage you to keep up your father's heritage by continually acting in a way that shows honor to him, even now that he is no longer with you. Perhaps some day you will have children to whom you will be able to tell about their grandfather, and you will be able to inspire them to continue walking in his ways.

Thank you for your sweet complements and true praise. I am honored.

Jane


agaglia profile image

agaglia 6 years ago

You write a great article. Check out my poem about fatherhood if you are interested: "A father's touch" You might also find "Life prints" interesting.


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Jane, I never thought of it in this perspective and I loved the transformation. May we all continue to honor one of life's important persons in our lives --our dad. I wrote a Father's Day Special and included your link in my hub. Hope it's okay. Thank you for this beautiful hub. :)


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon Author

Agaglia, thanks for reading!


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon Author

Ripplemaker, I visited your collection of fatherhood stories! Thanks for including mine, and for including it so near the top too!

Jane


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

Great hub. Really enjoyed it!


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon Author

Denise, thanks for your comment. It's good for me to go back and read it again as a reminder for all my dad is and what he's done.


nikitha p profile image

nikitha p 6 years ago from India

Nice hub!


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines

Jane, you had done the best way to honor your father, in writing this. I'm sure he is proud you did it as he reads your outpouring of love, respect, and gratefulness to him. No other tribute is better than this one that he can still read. He is very fortunate for raising a child that you are. Good hub!


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon Author

Thank you for your sweet encouragement, Lita! I have been given much, so much is required of me.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

An incredibly lovely tribute. Thank you for sharing your dad with us.


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 5 years ago from Oregon Author

LambServant, you're welcome. He's a very special man. :)


mrsT 3 years ago

you have a wonderfull father, and you have had a normal development.. all girls look down on their fathers in puberty. If dad stays perfect there wouldnot be an opening for a young man ;-)

My dad died in 1998, never saw my children. But he did see his "little girl" turn in to a lady who could take on the world. That was something he was very proud of: a daughter who was both a warrior that could take on the world an a lady that nursed him lovingly in his last days while taking care of his wife and son.

So enjoy your dad while it lasts and make him proud of you:-)


Jennifer 3 years ago

He is not blameless, only one Father is that.


Jennifer 3 years ago

" I would obey to the death any command of his"

You've gone from one extreme to another. That's not a friendship, that's the relationship between a king and a serf, or Christ and one of His children. And as lovely as it is to have lunch with your father, the sampling of wine and sharing of each other's food sounded like a little much. You remind me of daughters who sometimes give their fathers the attention you usually hear reserved for God or a significant other.


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 3 years ago from Oregon Author

Jennifer. Right. I don't think I indicated that he is blameless, only that God has put him in a position of authority over me, and God will bless my honor of my father.

Would it help you to know that I sample wine and share food with all my family-- brothers and sister and mom too? I meant no romantic connotations with it, only that it was a fun and companionable thing to do. My relationship with my dad in no way fulfills my longing to be married. There are many, many things I look forward to, and reserve for, marriage. In the mean time, I'm going to keep working on my relationship with my dad because it always needs work. We're not the best of communicators, we get busy, we misunderstand each other, and I tend to "check out" of being a good daughter if I have too many things on my mind.

And okay, I'll give you that obeying to the death is an exaggeration to some extent, but it is what I would do for Christ, and I believe that Christ has put my dad in a position of authority over me, for my own good. If he commanded something that goes against the commands of Christ in the Bible, of course I would obey Christ rather than man. My goal in this article is to encourage myself and other single daughters who live with their parents still, to give their fathers due honor and respect as it says in Eph. 5.


ExpectGreatThings profile image

ExpectGreatThings 3 years ago from Illinois

I liked this hub for so many reasons. "I think, laugh, love, and repent because he taught me how" - so true! Fathers are so influential. This is a great reminder for those who are currently fathers to take their girls (little or not) out for lunch, read Proverbs to them, and be a great example to them.

I also think you are on the right track for your future. My kids are learning to respect me to the same extent that I respect my own parents. It's the best and most natural way for them to learn.

And I cracked up at your dad's version of the Proverbs. He is very witty! - Bless you as you honor your parents!


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Hi, Jane,

Wow, look at the comments. But this is natural for such a talent as yourself. I voted up and all the way on such a warm piece as this. I loved it.

And what I wouldn't give to have my daughter write something like this about me. No, I am not self-centered, but all of the years she lived with us, I tried to be lenient, understanding, and yet, a father of moderate talk, but of loving guidance and at times, discipline when needed and in the proper context.

I would love to believe that in her own way she honored or respected me, but we have had our storms and sunny days too, so I should not complain.

I love your style of writing and I am your follower too.

Peace. God bless you.

K.


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 2 years ago from Oregon Author

Thank you for your kind comment, Kenneth! I'm sure your daughter has things she would love to thank you for but cannot find the courage (or the way) to say it. Keep being an amazing dad and I hope that she does find a way, some day.

God bless you and keep you as well,

Annie (Jane)

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