By Martin Willoughby
Father’s Day Reflections
Almost 23 years ago, I lost my father. While I am sad that he never got to know my wife or kids, I am thankful for the time I did have with him and the impact he continues to have on my life. As I reflect on Father’s Day this year, I share a few of the inspiring ways my Dad impacted me. I hope they will bless you as well.
Be a Cheerful Giver
My father grew up poor. From an early age, he worked to help support not only himself but also his family. After playing professional baseball in the New York Yankee minor league system, he began a career as a CPA and later as a business owner. As he enjoyed some monetary success, he loved to provide for those in need. I watched as he would take such joy in sharing with others who needed a helping hand. As a selfish child, I did not always understand why he enjoyed helping others so much. It was only later in life as I found Christ that I truly learned the source of his joy and what it means to be a cheerful giver.
Be a Blessing to Others
Several years ago when my kids were younger, I put up a sign in our kitchen that we would all see before we left the house—it read, “Who can I bless today?” While my father did not hang a similar sign in our house, he did model what it looked like to bless people. As a child, I used to love to go to work with my father. As I would accompany him on errands, I noted that he would bless seemingly strangers with the gift of a smile and to inquire about their lives. He engaged with people and blessed them in his daily journey. As I battle the tyranny of the urgent in my own life, I struggle to remind myself that every day I have the opportunity to bless people path in my path in ways both big and small.
Be a Dreamer
My father taught me to dream big dreams. One day around the family dinner table, my father read an ad for an audition for a part in a movie. While he had never acted a day in his life, the part was to play Dizzy Dean in a movie about Satchel Paige and my father had been a pitcher years before. He chased the dream and got the part, which led to a significant role in the movie and allowed him the opportunity to film in Mississippi and Hollywood. Needless to say, he caught the acting bug, and from then on it seemed like he was able to squeeze in some role in every movie that came to Mississippi. Whether it was fulfilling his dream to be an entrepreneur or to follow passionate pursuits like acting, he showed me that it is okay to dare to dream.
Smell the Roses
My father taught me the importance of enjoying the journey. While he worked hard, he also modeled for me a life of balance and perspective. Probably to the detriment of his career, he spent generous amounts of time with my sister and me growing up. Having grown up without a father, he was very intentional about being there for us. We took regular and frequent family vacations and created lasting family memories. We ate meals together and frequently visited extended family. He kept a playful spirit and showed me that you can still have fun and enjoy life amidst the responsibilities of work and family.
Have a blessed Father’s Day!