#1. EHIP: Everything Has Its Place. This became quite popular one day when dad came home and said to my siblings and me, “It is getting old seeing messy rooms, so I am starting something new. EHIP.” We looked around shocked and confused as we had not heard of this concept. We thought it was a typical “dad thing” and we truly learned to dislike this new practice. How it would work is as follows: 1. A coat is laying on the couch. 2. Dad sees the coat. 3. Waits for the owner to walk by. 4. Playfully shouts EHIP! Pointing at the coat. Looking back now I know that he was not just trying to get us to pick up our stuff so we could be a “pristine family” but that we would understand things have a place. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 teaches this “Everything Has Its Place” mentality. My father may have known (as many times the lessons we were taught were not just meant to deal with the physical but also focus on the spiritual) that he was trying to teach us this Godly principle. I can tell you it stuck.
#2. Family is Important. This is a big one that I want to make sure everyone reading understands. My father was like Superman to me growing up. Even after a long day of preaching and shaking hands with the brethren, he spent time with his family. We would get home, eat dinner, and then play a game called “diving” (mom did not love this game). The concept of this game is to take a junior-sized football and throw it at different parts of the living room, and we children would dive to catch it (again Mom did not approve). We loved this game. It was a time for us to laugh and play with our daddy. Now that I am preaching, I truly understand from a physical standpoint how much that took out of him. When I get home from a long Sunday, I am spent. This superhero would preach all day and still take time for his own family. Yes, he traveled and was gone from time to time, but I don’t remember the week(s) he spent away. I remember how he would break his back to make sure we knew that he loved us. I will truly have no problem practicing what Paul wrote to Timothy (1 Timothy 5:4). My father would be the first to tell you that no parent is perfect, but I will wholeheartedly disagree with anyone that tries to convince me that preachers (or even working men) cannot spend time with their families. I know better. I can remember coming out late at night because I needed something to drink or could not sleep, and there would be dad furiously typing and working hard. Working late because he wanted to spend time with us. That makes me feel so loved. Then he would get up the next day and go to the office and keep working. Such a hard-working man. Such a Godly father (yes, I am biased about who the best dad in the world is).
#3. Worry about You. This final lesson for this article is huge for me. I have always had difficulty letting things go. If I would see someone doing something wrong, I would want it to be fixed. This, as you can imagine, did not make me popular at times among my brother and sister, as I would tattle in a heartbeat. I remember one particular conversation with Dad, though, where I was truly frustrated with something someone else had done. Dad calmly asked me if it affected me. The answer was no, it did not directly affect me. Dad was right, I need not worry about things that don’t affect me. I am reminded of what Paul said in Philippians 1:15-18:
“Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.”
My father is one of the greatest men I know. The most important thing he did in my life, though, was to teach me how to be a man. I am still learning, but I know if I listen, he will help me get there with God’s help.