Sunday, August 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Me and my Daddy - 1963

Intelligent children
listen to their parents;
foolish children do their own thing.
Proverbs 13:1

My Daddy celebrates his seventy-first birthday today. We celebrated last night with a delicious meal of grilled steak, chicken, fresh garden salad, sweet potatoes, Moma's pound cake and Guy's nearly-famous ice cream. (Daddy's favorite)

I admire my Daddy for so many reasons. His faith, honesty, humor, humility, determination, wisdom, wit, and his continual desire to learn new things amazes me. At a time in his life when most men would be slowing down, my Dad continues to work and serve others. I have a lot of respect for him. When I was younger I often disagreed with my father. Thankfully, I did respect him and heed most of his advice.

Although I am technically a mature adult myself now, I still seek, listen to, and value his advice. It was Mark Twain who once said that when he was 17 he couldn't believe how foolish his father was, and when he turned 21 he was amazed at how much his father had learned in the short course of four years. Well, I am well past 21 and the truth is that some of the most profound and enduring lessons in my life I learned from my father. It is apparent that our society doesn't see the value of the elderly. As a whole, we view the elderly as old-fashioned and out-dated. Sad, but an accurate evaluation, I fear. I was just an average student and never scored extremely high on an IQ test, but the Bible says I am intelligent if I listen to my parents.

Thanks Daddy for all you do and have done for me. I love you! Happy 71st birthday!

Some other thoughts...

I am grateful that even early in life I didn't mind hanging out with older people. Enjoyed it actually. They always seemed to have time for me and they always had interesting stories to tell. There were many older people that had a significant role in my life.... grandparents, other relatives, and teachers, but I remember one elderly man...a very influential octogenarian that had an extremely, powerful, positive impact on my life.

His name was Mr. Cross. Although legally blind himself, through our friendship, he revealed truth and opened my eyes to things I may have never seen. I was only seven years old at the time.

Forty years have gone by and I still remember the words he spoke to me, the wisdom he poured into my heart, and even the letters he dictated to his nurse and mailed to me after I had moved away. Priceless. I am certain God had a plan in that unique relationship. Next to my father, that man helped to mold me into the woman of God I have become. I knew him for less than year. He died shortly after I moved away from Canal Point, Florida in 1969.
Our elders have something of value to teach, and we in the younger generation should listen.

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