Me and my dad

Tomorrow is the day we honor and remember dads—both biological and those who’ve been like dads to us. Oft repeated Dad-isms may contain wit, wisdom, or warning to spare us heartache. Some Dad-isms grow stale and lose their power over time; others save us in countless ways, or would, if only we’d listen.

Here are a few Dad-isms contributed by my friends and family:

  • “I don’t know if you’d call this a Dad-ism, but it’s a cute story about my Dad and shows his wonderful sense of humor. I was teaching him how to use his new Alexa to change channels on the TV because he struggles with limited vision. I told him to ask Alexa to find his show: Walker, Texas Ranger and this is how it went…
    DAD: Alexa, find Chuck Norris.
    ALEXA: If Chuck Norris wants you to know where he is, he will find you!
    DAD: Unable to answer due to uncontrollable laughter, he turned to me and said, “Good thing I’m not digital because when you need me, you can always ‘Find me’!” Contributed by Kathy Pesterfield
  • My husband Jim has always told our kids, “You can never out-give God.”  Jim is very generous and has passed on the gift of giving. When our daughter Kristina was doing her Discipleship Training School with YWAM in Germany, they needed money for outreach.  She had paid for her school but was trusting God for the outreach portion.  God supplied in abundance, but she gave a very large portion of it to another student who had nothing. God, being who He is, gave back to her in abundance and her outreach was provided for as well. We were so blessed she was obedient and generous in a very hard time.  Contributed by Debby Dikih
  • My dad has always looked at the positive, encouraging me and others, and he has a good sense of humor. He was very supportive of helping me do the things I love and I’ll never forget the daughter-dad dates we still enjoy together—donuts and coffee, and movies especially.  He is a model of what I want to do with my kids. His devotion to God is something I look up to and am very grateful for. Contributed by Heidi Myers
  • My dad would look at my mom doing housework or a garden chore and say, “Look at the determination on her face…I love Sugar.” Contributed by Lori Mikesell
  • I cannot resist sharing what my father always said whenever I called.  Dad passed in 1999 from colon cancer when he was 69 years old, which was way too young.  I did not expect that outcome when he went into surgery, so losing him was especially hard.  I used to call my father all the time and just chat. Whenever I faced something challenging or needed to make a decision my father’s first question was, “Did you tithe?”  My father was a minister and God richly blessed my parents in the good times and bad.  Dad always made a point of tithing and he just wanted to be sure that I was honoring God as he had done his whole life.  That is a life lesson I have never forgotten and been able to do in the good times and the bad. Contributed by Pete Young
  • My parents did not have much time with my four children, because of the restrictions my ex placed on us. However, my two sons had a couple of opportunities to go fishing with Dad. When my father died suddenly I was grieved my children had experienced so little of his godly influence. I was puzzled when both my sons decided to get tattooed the following year “in honor of Grandpa.” My father despised tattoos! The boys explained they wanted to commemorate him with Matthew 6:33, the verse he taught them while fishing! Another memory is when I was going through the ugliness and rejection of divorce, my father told me, “You are a beautiful woman!” Contributed by Jennifer Lee
  • “Before my dad handed me the car keys for my first driving lesson he said “You can’t out-run radio.” I’m not sure why that has stuck with me, but I’ve never been tempted to try!” Contributed by Lynda Eagan
  • One of my husband’s lines whenever things go wrong is, “Improvise, adapt, and overcome!” It’s amazing how that turns an impossible situation into a momentary challenge, and brings fresh energy to everyone involved. Contributed by Beth Vice

It was a surprise blessing to hear how my own dad “fathered” my beloved Aunt:

  • I know there are some Dad-isms I should remember but they’re not coming to me.  But your dad is my favorite, my one and only brother since he married my big sister.  Our bond began when we were on one of my dad’s construction sites and your dad and I spent evenings picking up pop and beer bottles for quick cash, which I spent on marshmallow peanuts. Del has been a rock in my life.  He has painted for me, helped me invest wisely, and provided direction for my life when I was floundering.  He and your mom Joanne have been my spiritual guides and discussion partners.  They were there for my life crises.  Patience, wisdom, compassion, and love would describe Del.  Christ shines from his life. Contributed by Mary Meyers

And here’s a few of my dad’s sayings:  

  • Whenever a phone conversation with one of us three daughters got too emotional for his comfort he would suddenly excuse himself with, “I think I need to change the oil in the car.”
  • Every Sunday morning we could count on his, “5 minute warning!” to make sure we got to church, or wherever we were going on time. As well as the strong hint, “Now would be a good time.”
  • Two sayings that became family favorites, which I passed on to my girls are, “They’ll do that sometimes” (a line Mom and Dad heard all too often from mechanics who couldn’t seem to diagnose what was wrong with our car) and “We don’t do things like that in places like this” to remind my sisters and I to use our manners.
  • I hated hearing “What did your mother say?” when I asked Dad if I could go somewhere or do something my mom had already vetoed. Later I realized how much I wanted this kind of unity in my own marriage.  Contributed by Beth Vice

At first I was surprised my request for Dad-isms brought more stories and memories of time spent together than succinct words of wisdom. But then, isn’t that what good dads do? They don’t just tell us how to act, they show us the way. They live it out every day—with their kids and others in their sphere of influence—instilling faith, commitment, determination, and good humor as they continue to learn and grow themselves.

Happy Father’s Day to al you wonderful dads out there who are doing your best to lead your families in all you do!

Honor the dads around you today and tell them how much you appreciate all they do and who they are. Here are a few of my favorite dads from newbies to grandpas.