by Rachel Wojo
When I was your age, I wondered if I would ever have a family of my own. I pondered what my husband would look like and how many babies I’d have. Whether they would be boys or girls. What color hair and eyes they would have. Who would you look like? What would you like to eat? What would you NOT like to eat? And so my imagination ran with thoughts of raising my own family. As a teenager, I often vowed I would not “turn into my parents” one day. Only because I didn’t recognize at the time what a wonderful thing that would be.
I’ll never forget the season my dad was teaching me how to drive. I think it must have made Mom too nervous to try, so driving lessons fell into Dad’s parenting department. We lived in a small country town, as you know, so there were no exit ramps, no major highways, and only one stoplight. On one particular occasion, Dad asked me to turn the car around and somehow I confused the gas pedal and the brake pedal. We wound up inches away from going over a cliff backwards. I’m convinced Mom must have been calling on our guardian angels to protect us. I honestly can’t remember Dad raising his voice over that incident. Maybe I scared his voice right out of his throat!
When I think about the lessons Dad has taught me over the years, I see a pattern of principles.
• Go the extra mile. He didn’t talk about doing that; he just modeled it.
• Be faithful to God’s house. Church services were non-negotiable. Everyone in our family knew we were going if the doors were open.
• Serve others with all your heart. Whether teaching Sunday school, driving the church bus, or visiting the nursing home for Bible study, Dad put his whole heart into it. He truly lived out 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.”/p>
• Keep going, even and especially when things are tough. Your personal feelings about circumstances are not usually an indicator that it’s time to quit. I know there were hard times Dad faced as he and Mom raised nine children. But he never gave up on caring for his children, just as our heavenly Father never gives up on us.
• Love the Lord first and all your other priorities will fall into place. As a successful Christian businessman, Dad could have talked about how he pulled himself up by the boot straps. He could have blamed any failures on the lack of parenting he had as a child. But Dad has always shown me above all else, to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” – Mark 12:30-31 CSB
Oh how much I want you to grasp these same principles! You’re blessed to have a father who loves you and models this for you. My prayer is that you know the love I have for you and that you follow in the path of the fathers you’ve been given: yours, mine and our heavenly Father. May your heart one day be full as you pass on these principles to your own children and grandchildren.