Today, my dad turns 70, and we had a blast celebrating his life.
We gathered up old friends from his lifetime and family came together, and we managed to pull of the surprise of showing dad how much we love him.
My dad is an amazing man. And my dad is a picture of leadership in many ways.
Dad is a quiet leader. He doesn't command respect, he has earned it through his work ethics and his honest efforts in all he does. Dad doesn't want or ask for attention, or even lead hundreds of people. But his leadership has taught one, who has taught another, and the trickle effect is so large, he has touched hundreds of lives over his adult years. His leadership has a quality about it that is rarely found.
Dad was first a farmer, running a business and leading our family through the years by providing with solid hard work, which had no breaks. When the pigs were being born in the middle of the night, dad was up, out in the barn, taking care of them. When winter hit and temperatures were below zero, dad put on more layers to feed the animals. When summer burned heat through most people's skin, dad was out in his jeans, on the hay wagon throwing bales, never complaining. I have always admired my dad's work ethics. He never quits. Dad now has an excavation business, and let me tell you, you'd never know he is 70 years old if I didn't tell you. He's in the trenches as much as the young hired help. He lifts heavy machinery and has callouses on his hands from his daily work with his hands. If you ask dad what a sick day is, he'd likely say, "A what?" because he works through it all. He taught me the value of earning my dollars through honesty and hard work.
Dad always provided for our family. Earnings were meager many days, but my dad always found a way. He never asked for money. If he had to work more jobs, he did. A story was told about him at his party that went something like this- in his younger days, he went into the bank for a loan to get a car. (at that time, he shared a car with his 2 brothers, which was really not ideal). The bank was a farmer's bank and when asked what he needed a loan for, and he said a car, they told him they only gave loans for buying cattle. The next day dad went into the bank again and said he needed a loan to buy cattle. And they gave him the loan. He always found a way. He never quit. He may have been discouraged at times, but he rarely let that show. And because he was so faithful to God in all he did, and always gave back to God, even when there was nothing to give, God always provided in return.
He taught me how to handle money because of all the years i watched him wisely use his.
Dad has endured much loss, but never allowed that to prevent him from moving forward. He lost his twin brother and younger brother in one day in a farming accident. He lost a son. He lost his parents. And in recent years, he lost his wife. I only could hope to have the faith my dad has displayed in those times. Yes, he hurt. But he always held onto his faith and believed God was good and had a plan. I certainly have not handled my grief as elegantly as dad has. And he has had way more to grieve. His strength is admirable. His faith unshakable.
Dad leads by example. Not by commanding or demanding, but by being alongside his people. The list could go on with what I could say about my dad. The bottom line is, I am so thankful for my dad, and his example of love and leadership to me. What he has taught me has helped shape who I am today. The things I used to make fun of my dad for regularly (like falling asleep on the couch, or telling dumb jokes, or his old fashioned sayings) I now find myself doing the exact same things.
My mom used to shake her head and say "Oh brother, you two" because we were so much alike.
But if I had to be compared to anyone, or said i was like someone, I could not be prouder than to be like my dad.
My dad. :)