A tribute to my father
I don’t want to put my father on a pedestal. He wouldn't have wanted that. He was always self-effacing, and I can't remember him ever seeking honor for himself. When someone would praise him, he’d point heavenward, to his Creator, and give God the glory.
Remember how the father [in the parable Jesus told of the prodigal son] acted when the boy returned home?1 Did he run up and sniff his breath to see if he had been drinking? Did he comment on how poorly he had cared for his clothes? Did he criticize his straggly hair and dirty fingernails? Did he inquire about the balance left in his checking account? Of course not. He hugged the boy—the hug of loving acceptance.
Growing up, the last thing I expected to become was an editor. For starters, I was a miserable student—“miserable” in both senses of the word. From almost the first day of first grade, I struggled to keep up with the class, and language was never one of my better subjects—at least not until tenth grade. The difference-maker then was my dad.
He had been an Army war correspondent during WWII and then a newspaper reporter for several years. He had changed careers in order to better support his growing family, but journalism was in his bones. When he offered to type one of my handwritten tenth grade papers and saw how utterly clueless I was about writing, he clicked into gear. And when he explained what needed fixing and why, things started clicking for me.
My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.
—Clarence Budington Kelland
My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, “You’re tearing up the grass.” “We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply. “We’re raising boys.”