My best friend’s Dad recently passed away and last Saturday there was a Memorial Mass celebrated for him. He died on his 88th birthday after a long and full life.
When his children eulogized him, they each said that he was guided by his faith in God and his love of family. As a child I witnessed this first hand. He was a prayerful, patient and kind father who always put his wife and children before himself.
My best friend and I have known each other since we were seven years-old. When we were young ALL parents could and would discipline ALL kids. If you were in the neighborhood you were EVERY parent’s child. And growing up it seemed that I spent more time at my friend’s home than my own. During our formative years my friend and I did normal boy stuff. We weren’t bad boys, just boys that sometimes did bad things. Each time his Dad discovered our misdeeds, he would gently counsel us and we would promise to NEVER repeat our mistakes. Of course we often failed but he never lost his temper; never raised his voice. His disappointment in us was devastating enough and worse than any corporal punishment that might have been doled out. We would resolve to be better boys in the future. And again, when we fell short of that goal, he would once more lovingly remind us of our failures. I will never forget his patience with us and I would like to think that his example helped make me a kinder, gentler dad with my own kids.
His daughter recalled a time not too long along when their entire family was on float trip. They were all laughing and singing and having a great. Of course their Dad was in the center of it all surrounded by his children and grandchildren. As they were floating down the river, a stranger came beside and called out to him, “Hey Mister! Hey Mister!” “I don’t how much money you have but you’re the richest man I know!” What an amazing testimony. What a life lived to it’s fullest. He witnessed to all of us. Even strangers.
He was a rich man indeed. Surrounded by the love of his family and blessed by God beyond his dreams. Who among us wouldn’t treasure those riches?
Fathers, do not provoke your children, so they may not become discouraged. Colossians 3:21