Why I’m Proud of My Dad
I spoke the below words in 2006 at my father’s inauguration to be president of LifeWay Christian Resources. I think no less of my father today.
I can vividly recall the first time I failed at something. It was a new school year, and my second grade teacher had just returned the first quiz. I was somewhat pleased because I got half the questions right for a grade of 50%. One of my classmates then informed me that getting half right meant I received an ‘F.’ I didn’t believe him, and I decided to ask my Dad—who knew everything. When I stepped off the bus, I saw my father sitting on the outside steps of our seminary apartment. He was enjoying the sunshine reading a book and waiting for me to return home.
When he told me my classmate was correct, I was devastated. Even then I had an internal fear of failing. But my father quelled my fear. The words he said still echo with me today.
He said, “I’m proud of you. You are going to have to work a little harder, but I’m proud of you. And I know that you can do it.” These words never left me, and they never will.
Now the coin has flipped, and I get to say how proud I am of my father:
- I’m proud of how he puts family first, always. I could always count on Dad to be at every one of my basketball games.
- I’m proud of his sense of humor – how he lifts the spirits of those around him. And how he could lift the spirits of our family when times were tough.
- I’m proud of his love for the local church, and how he taught me that the gospel message should be shared at all costs with anyone and everyone.
- I’m proud of how he continually encourages me and supports me in my ministry. I know I can count on him to pick up his phone to answer a quick question, even when he is in a meeting.
- I’m extremely proud to stand here and say that he fought side-by-side with the most courageous and inspiring woman I know, praying and standing by her side until her cancer was defeated.
- I’m so thankful for how he and Mom modeled a marriage for me. Now that I am getting married next New Year’s Eve, I can confidently say I know what it means to love someone so deeply and unconditionally that you would die for her because it was modeled for me all my life.
- I’m proud to tell you that he took the time every night when I was a child to pray with me at my bedside, instilling in my heart the utter importance of prayer.
Dad, I’m proud of you for many reasons. You have accomplished all sorts of things in your life. And I don’t have a doubt that several more big successes are right around the corner. And you have done an incredible job of raising Art, Jess, and me (with a little help from Mom).
Despite all your accolades, despite all your honors and accomplishments, I am most proud of you for one thing. It isn’t the accomplishments. It isn’t the way you raised me, nor the support you give me and my brothers. It isn’t even how deeply you love Mom, and the way you modeled a godly husband.
No, it isn’t any of these things.
Dad, I am most proud of you because you are so proud of Jesus. And you took the time to share Him with me.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love you.