My dad did a lot of things right, but two of them made all the difference. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for those two things.
First, let me tell you, Victor Dodzweit wasn’t perfect. You need to understand this, in order to better appreciate the things I'm about to mention. Hot German blood runs through his veins. He’s a driven, type-A personality, affectionately nicknamed “Hitler” by one family member. He was the strictest dad on the planet. At times I felt I hated him as a teenager. At least, I hated his rules. And if I argued to the point of provocation, he got mad. Not often, but if pushed far enough, he got voice-elevated, eye-popping mad.
But afterward, either immediately or after he cooled down, he always did something right:
1. He owned his stuff.
Fully owned it. Victor Dodzweit is one of the few people I know who can freely and easily say the ten most difficult words a human being can utter:
“I’m sorry. I was wrong. Will you please forgive me?”
Dad’s apologies did not contain additives. They were never accompanied by a single “but.” And he always said the words with his eyes as well as his lips.
Then he’d seal them with prayer.
Embedded in my memory is the two of us, kneeling by the couch to pray, time and time again, after a father-daughter fallout. My tears of frustration gave way to his tears of remorse. “God, please change me,” he’d weep, holding me close enough to nearly suffocate. I’d feel his body shake with sobs, and I’d settle down in the warmth of a father trying to get it right.
But he already had. How could I have ever run very far? Ever hated for long?
2. He took time for me.
Dad was the busiest person I knew, but he was never too busy for me. He read the Proverbs to me every morning at breakfast before heading out the door to catch up on work that was never done and meet deadlines that never got met. He was always so behind.
And he got behind me. There are a lot of things dads do right and my dad did them. He made me memorize scripture verses and chapters, and eat food so healthy a rabbit couldn’t choke it down. But none of that would have mattered without the two most important things. He could have spoken “with the tongues of men and of angels” to me about Jesus, but if he had not demonstrated love in the form of time and being real about his wrongs…
…if he had not shown me Jesus…
…all the preaching in the world would not have mattered.
There are some things I know about God the Father and there are some things I don’t understand, but one thing is certain: He is love.
I have felt His arms and heard His voice.
(What about you? Did your dad model God the Father to you? If not, you may want to check out this post.
Did you fail at doing these two things with your now adult children? It's not too late to start. Pick up the phone, or the car keys....)