Top Ten Things I Learned from My Daddy

by: Kerri Young

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise— ‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’ Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:1-4


In honor of Father’s Day, I wanted to post a day early and honor my dad. So, here is a (certainly not exhaustive) list of the:

Top Ten Things I Learned from My Daddy:

#10: We should be lifelong learners.

My dad is the most intelligent man I know. He has three master’s degrees and two Ph.D’s. I think if he had his way he’d go back to school and get another degree because he just loves to learn. I kind of feel the same way. =)

Don’t they say when you stop learning you aren’t living? He has more information filed away in that brain than I can fathom and he just keeps adding more. But he’s not just philosophically, writing a book smart (yes, he has written a book). He’s hands-on, rebuilding a car, remodeling a house smart. This leads me to:

#9: When I don’t know how to do something, I can research and figure it out.

When my dad doesn’t know how to do something, he reads about it and teaches himself. I love that about him! Last year we were remodeling the detached apartment that came with our house when we bought it. My husband was a little nervous to do some of the work himself, but my dad came to help by encouraging him to read and figure it out. He was there to prevent any major mistakes, but he mostly let my husband do the problem solving. There is such wisdom in that, I think. How often are we tempted to just do things for our kids instead of letting them do the work of figuring it out?

#8: The importance of learning how to drive a standard transmission (and conquering other things I might think are hard) 

When I first learned how to drive a car, my dad made me learn on a standard because he said if I didn’t learn then I never would. I was frustrated and didn’t understand why because it was so much harder. But, looking back, I am so thankful he stood his ground and made me learn the hard way. He was right, I probably wouldn’t have learned otherwise. But, more than that, he taught me that taking the easy way is not always the best way. How much does that lesson apply to life?!?

#7: History is fascinating

One of my dad’s Ph.D.’s is in history. He was a history professor after he retired from the Navy Chaplain Corps. And I spent a considerable amount of my childhood in a place rich with American history: Virginia. Needless to say, history was a hot topic in our house. To this day I love hearing about how and why things happened and considering what in the world that has to do with me today. History not only tells us about where we came from, but also where we are headed if we don’t do things differently.

There’s a great quote by George Santayana, who, in his Reason in Common Sense, The Life of Reason, Vol.1, wrote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  Some people find history boring and I suppose that’s okay (like my husband J), but I love it and have my daddy to thank for that.

#6: Music is glorious and leads my heart to worship the Lord without fail

Some of my earliest memories are of my daddy playing his guitar and singing John Denver songs. Because of that, I always wondered why he didn’t sing during church worship sometimes (when he wasn’t leading). One day I finally asked him and he said it’s because he is so moved to worship by the music sometimes that he can’t even sing.  Music gets me that way, too. And it doesn’t even have to be worship music. Just like my daddy, whether it’s the Edge’s guitar riffs in U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” or the violin and keyboard in Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida”, music brings me to the throne faster than anything else. It literally takes my breath away. I can only imagine how glorious music will be in eternity….

#5: Integrity points people to Jesus

My dad is the kind of man who will never run a red light. He won’t even change lanes when no one is coming if he’s stopped at a stoplight and turning the wrong way. He’s the one who made my little brother take a 25cent fishing lure back to the store when he was five because he had put it in his pocket without paying. He’s the one who always insisted we pay full price for an adult meal the day after my 13th birthday even if we could have gotten away with a kid’s meal. He’s the reason I carried a toothbrush around for two months that my two year old daughter had put in my purse one day at a Wal-mart a half hour from our house (and it had to be returned there, not just any Wal-mart or it wouldn’t get accounted for). I think the lady at the customer service desk about keeled over when I told her what had happened and how long it had been in my purse. But, in a world where it’s so much easier to just keep the toothbrush or tell a white lie to get a cheaper meal, doing the right thing stands out. Jesus called us to be different, and often being different really just involves something simple like integrity.

#4: Jesus makes all things new 

My dad did not grow up in a Christian home. In fact, it was a very broken home in more ways than one. He actually came to Christ in high school because of a girlfriend who took him to church. He would say that before he chose to follow Christ he was on a rough path. But, God called him out of darkness into His marvelous light and his life was never the same. No, he is not a perfect man, but His Savior is and He has enabled my dad to rise above the hurts and baggage of his youth to live a life that has brought the Lord much glory. I am so thankful that no matter what we have been through, no matter what mistakes we have made, and no matter how old we are, Jesus can take all our junk and make it beautiful. And I’m thankful that my daddy is a perfect example of this promise.

#3: Don’t just believe something in the Bible is true because a pastor or leader tells you so, be a Berean and figure it out for yourself

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11

From an early age, I was taught to study my Bible. When he wasn’t preaching, I watched my dad take his Greek lexicon with him to church and take notes on what pastors said while also checking to see what the words meant in the original text. We would discuss Scripture and it was okay to ask questions. I love it that my dad has taught me this lesson so well that he is even okay with the fact that sometimes we disagree on (minor) interpretations of Scripture. We should never substitute what other people think is true about God’s Word for our own hard work of studying it ourselves. It’s in the studying and wrestling that we really fall in love with Jesus and the Word itself.

#2: I am beautiful and God wants to use me to change the world for His Kingdom

Because of Jesus, I am a princess, beautiful and loved just as God made me, and I learned this from my earthly father first. Thanks in large part to my daddy loving me unconditionally and pointing me to find my identity in Christ, I have not struggled with a lot of the insecurities with which I know some women struggle. He has always made me feel special and supported me in every decision I have made. He encouraged me to chase after Jesus and told me there was nothing I couldn’t do without His help if it’s what God desired. He’s still doing that today and I take comfort in the fact that he has always been and always will be one of my biggest cheerleaders.

#1: When it comes to making decisions, follow your heart

Life is full of so many seemingly big, life-changing choices, as well as a lot of little every day decisions. Making these decisions can be stressful and I remember many times when I was stuck, not sure which path to take. But probably the biggest thing I have learned from my daddy is that if you are seeking Jesus with all your heart, He is going to make your heart’s desires His desires. Then the easiest thing to do is follow your heart.

How about you? What did your daddy/dad/father/stepdad/father figure teach you? I realize I am blessed with the gift of a godly, loving daddy who modeled Christ-like actions toward me and some of you might not be able to say the same. But, I encourage you on this Father’s Day to look for the good in the man you know/knew as father. And, if he’s still around, why don’t you share some of those things with him today? Then, be sure to come back here and share with us!

Happy Father’s Day to my amazing daddy and my just-as-amazing husband!




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